Your diet can make or break you, plain and simple, and I’m a perfect example. When I was diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease I was more physically sick than I’ve ever been in my life. It was like being in a car accident coupled with having the world’s worst flu. I knew life was too beautiful to spend sick in bed so I began talking to my Naturopathic doctor about ways my diet could improve my condition and researched for months on the best foods to ingest to boost your immunity. Through my devious detective work, I opened a Nutritional Pandora’s Box when I began playing with whole nutritious foods.
A healthy diet is a necessity for a properly functioning immune system. This includes a mountainous array of colorful vegetables and fruits, clean proteins, unrefined grains, and healthy fats.
Here are a few tips to enhance your immunity like a pro:
Avoid processed foods: studies show refined sugar, processed flour, and other artificial ingredients cause inflammation, which is the leading cause of chronic illness.
Load up on organic fruits and veggies: they help combat nasty free radicals which are the culprits of DNA damage and many autoimmune disorders.
Choose dark green leafy loves: high in Vitamin C, A, and phytonutrients which bolster your sickness defense mechanisms.
Seek out Vitamin C like Dora the Explorer: Vit C has long been known as a super star antioxidant and nurtures the immune system like a loving grandma. Choose brussel sprouts, leafy greens, cauliflower, broccoli, oranges, strawberries, kiwi, and herbs.
Constantly drink water: if you’re not running to the bathroom once an hour, you’re not drinking enough H2O for my liking. Hydrating through fluids supports your body’s functions, including your immune system.
Get your butt up then lay that butt down: moderate exercise (shoot for 30+ minutes each day) increases your immune defenses. Getting enough sleep is also a key component to an illness-free life as your body restores and repairs itself while you’re catching zzz’s.
No matter how sick, tired, or busy one can be, making a smoothie is an easy and delicious way to ingest the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and phytonutrients we all need. Smoothies are a fantastic way to start your day and a quick and inexpensive breakfast for the entire family. Have a kiddo who would rather eat boogers than veggies? Hide them in a smoothie and they will never know! Too busy in the mornings to sit down and eat hearty oatmeal for breakfast? Blend up a smoothie and race out the door like an energizer bunny.
Here are some smoothies I recommend when we want additional defenses against the viruses and bacteria of the world:
3 Immunity-Boosting Spring Smoothies
1. Berry-Coconut Power
This is a perfect way to get the day started for adults and children alike. It’s packed with antioxidant rich berries, the super seed chia, and anti-aging and anti-inflammatory coconut. This smoothie contains fiber and healthy fat. Not all fats are created equal and the medium-chained saturated fat of coconut is metabolized quickly and easily converted to energy.
Handful of frozen or fresh mixed berries
Half of a banana (riper the nana, sweeter the smoothie)
3 ice cubes
¾ cup of coconut water
2 tablespoons of coconut milk
1 tablespoon of chia seeds
Dash of cinnamon
Combine all ingredients in a blender starting with the coconut water/milk and ending with cinnamon. Blend for 2 minutes or until smooth then pour into your favorite glass where you will then stir in the chia seeds.
2. Green Smoothie Starter
This delicious cleansing smoothie is a great starter if you’re new to the green drink craze. Don’t be scared off by the bright green hue, it tastes sweet like a dream. Your immune system will thank you due to the fiber, iron, Vit C the ingredients provide your tummy. This is a wonderful drink in the morning to give you a refreshing burst of energy or can be used as a nutritional supplement when you’re feeling under the weather.
1 orange (peeled)
1 green apple (skin on)
2 handfuls of baby spinach
½ of a lemon (peeled)
Tip of your thumb sized nodule of ginger
3 ice cubes
Handful of parsley (optional)
After peeling (lemon and orange), cut all ingredients into chunks than throw into your blender. Blend for 1 minute or until smooth. Drink and dance!
3. Pina Kale-ada
This is a super anti-inflammatory moneymaker. Inflammation is often disguised as anything from weight gain, to skin problems, to headaches, and even depression. Lowering inflammation in the body can reduce or eliminate these problems as well as lessen your chance at illness. The greens, protein, and antioxidants boost your immune system and keep you hydrated.
2 handfuls of kale
1 cup nondairy unsweetened milk
1 cup fresh or frozen pineapple
1-2 tsp of flax seeds
Blend all ingredients and savor the goodness.
None of these recipes have to be followed to a T, have fun, and get creative! If you have mango instead of pineapple, make the swap. If you’re not a fan of coconut water, replace it with filtered water or non-dairy milk. Have a handful of greens available; throw them into the blender right along with the other ingredients. The options are endless and the benefits are vast.
Indulge in these tasty smoothies and reap the benefits of a healthy diet, strengthened immune system, and energy to boot.
Life is too beautiful to spend sick in bed, plain and simple.
About the Author
Ashley's blog "Illest Optimist," details her quest to recover from Lyme using a strict nutritional regimen, natural treatment protocols, and constant detoxification.