A “Nutrition Prescription” For Fighting Cold and Flu

Medicine isn’t the only way to fight off cold and flu. Food can be your medicine too. I was on Let’s Talk Live recently sharing a nutrition prescription to help you stay healthy. Below are some highlights from the segment.

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There are basically two big tricks to beating winter “bugs”: reducing inflammation and boosting immunity.  So whether you’re trying to prevent sickness or recover ASAP, all the foods I mention below will help you.

Spicy Lamb Korma

photo 5I created this recipe for www.leanonlamb.com – it’s a spicy lamb korma that you make in the slow cooker. Lamb is nutrient rich, and packed with ingredients that support immunity and fight inflammation. Even though this looks rich, it’s good for you. On average lamb is lean and has only 175 calories per 3 oz portion and this entire dish has about 300 calories. You’ll be able to find the recipe soon on www.leanonlamb.com.  What makes this dish so healthy?

  • It’s an excellent source of protein, which is the key macronutrient for a healthy immune system. The protein you eat can literally become the immunity cells that fight viruses and bacteria that could make you sick.
  • Lamb also has vitamin B12, iron, and zinc – all vitamins and minerals that play a role in supporting immunity.
  • I’ve included 7 different vegetables in this recipe: onions, carrots, tomato, cauliflower, green beans, broccoli and  peppers which are full of powerful antioxidants and vitamins A and C, which support immune defense.
  • It’s full of spices including turmeric, garam masala, cumin and coriander, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric is  a very powerful anti-bacterial and anti-viral agent. In fact, in holistic medicine turmeric tea is usually “prescribed” at the onset of a cold or flu or preventatively.

Choose low sugar foods for snacks

photo 4 (2)Sugar is pro-inflammatory. So if you are already sick, your body creates “inflammation” to help you heal. You want anti-inflammatory foods to help reduce inflammation. The typical American gets 3.5 times more sugar than what’s recommended. Rather than reach for a sugary cereal bar or granola bar, which can have a half a day’s worth of sugar, choose some of these low-sugar snacks:

  • Hard-boiled eggs – they’re packed with protein and selenium which promote a healthy immune system.
  • Seeds and Nuts — All are great for your health. I featured pistachios, which offer 30 different nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and vitamin B6, which helps active that immune system. They’re also a good source of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that support your GI tract — your body’s most important barrier to “invaders”.
  • Oatmeal with fruit like blueberries or raisins — oatmeal is a whole grain which also contain antioxidants that help keep our cells healthy. Raisins give a natural sweetness as well as antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

Eat Fermented Foods for a Healthy “gut”

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Fermentation is a way of preserving foods since ancient times. What we discovered is that fermented foods contain beneficial bacteria that help restore and balance healthy bacteria that live in our digestive tract – so you can better fight off potentially harmful viruses and bacteria that can make you sick. Here are a few fermented foods you can try:

  • Kefir – this comes from dairy. Think of it like a drinkable yogurt. It’s full of good bacteria and when you digest it, they’re going to land in your intestines and strengthen your immunity.
  • Pickles, sauerkraut, and olives are all fermented and easy to find in most grocery stores. Even condiments like soy sauce and vinegar are fermented foods.
  • Speaking of soy sauce – another recipe I created for www.leanonlamb.com is a wasabi ginger lamb chops with Asian vegetables. The recipe will be available on the website soon. Both the chops and the veggies have ingredients that support a healthy “gut”.  Plus we have the healthy protein and vitamins of the lamb and vegetables. Since the lamb loin chops are typically around 4 oz. helping to take the “guesswork” out of portion control for weight management.

Reduce stress and get your sleep.

Lack of sleep and stress suppress the immune system. Even if you think you can function on 5 hours or less of sleep, your immune system can’t. Here are a few ways you can get more sleep:

  • Avoid caffeine too late in the day, especially if you are using it for “energy” from a bad night’s sleep.
  • Unwind earlier in the day so you can get your ZZZZZ’s – try a hot bath with lavender oil which is “calming”
  • Turn “off” the screens from ipad, iphone, laptop the white delays melatonin release your natural sleep and you are up longer.

Do you have any tips you can share to keep your immune system in tip-top shape this flu season?

Disclosure: I was compensated by Tri-lamb group for creating the recipes and appearing on TV, but not for writing this post.

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