If there’s anything that screams last season, it’s a hospital mask and the oh-so-feminine fragrance
of eau de vom. Let’s discuss staying healthy for dummies, shall we?
*Garlic, which not only neutralizes many strains of bacteria, it also helps your bod get rid of heavy metal contamination and lowers cholesterol and blood pressure. Get over your fear of garlic breath and add it to omelets, stir-fries, and pasta dishes. Sautee a clove or two in a teaspoon of olive oil and drizzle it over steamed veggies!
*Cumin, an antimicrobial that adds a complex, mildly spicy flavour to hummus, scrambled tofu, ground beef or savory mashed sweet potatoes. Try it in Curry Bonanza! (Though the research I’m familiar with suggests that cumin’s antimicrobial properties are more effective on fungal and yeast cultures than bacteria, loading up on the yummy spice can’t hurt!)
*Broccoli, which is high in antioxidants and natural anti-inflammatory properties. Steamed broccoli makes the perfect addition to any meal; try something new and sprinkle your broc with salt, pepper and nutritional yeast.
*Mushrooms–particularly shiitake, which are packed with beta-glucans, a fungal property that kicks the immune system into superhero mode. Throw some chopped mushrooms into any salad or pasta dish or try them with spinach in an egg white omelet.
*Shrimp! The phytonutrient astaxanthin that gives shrimp its color stimulates the immune system and provides you with heightened protection from the harmful effects of UV rays (but don’t forget, you should still slather that pretty face with sunscreen all winter long!)
*Wheatgrass juice, a super-concentrated source of enzymes, vitamins and minerals, which acts as a natural energizer and cleanser of the lymph system. Juicing this badass plant requires special machinery, so most of us have to hit the coffee shop or smoothie stand to get our fix, shelling out several bucks a shot. The other downside is that the straight-up grass taste isn’t for everyone…but I love it! Mmm, lawn.
*Green tea, the goddess of the immune system. Start with a strong cup in the morning (I double-bag it) and guzzle a decaf version all day long. You can never have too much green tea!
*Creamsicle Juice, which combines your immune system’s BFFs, Vitamin C and ginger (which also settles an upset tummy.)
*and of course, Water. Aim for two liters a day, but stop drinking at least two hours before bedtime. If you get really thirsty pre-beddie bye, allow yourself just a sip.
AVOID (as always)…
*factory-farmed animal products. cruelty tastes yucky. hit up local farms and farmers markets whenever possible!
*tuna and other large fish, which can contain high levels of toxic heavy metals like mercury.
*processed foods, white flour, and sugar (indulge in small amounts, and use alternatives like raw honey whenever possible)
*Get plenty of sleep! At least 7 1/2 hours a night is optimal. Resolve to shave 30 minutes off your evening routine (turn the TV off! step away from the Facebook!) and turn in early, and your rested bod will thank you tomorrow!
* This should go without saying, but do like yo mama said and KEEP YOUR HANDS TO YOURSELF! Wash ‘em frequently, regardless of whether you think you’ve touched anything germy. When my job required me to take a food safety course a couple of years ago, I learned this fun fact: getting your hands squeaky clean requires washing with warm water and plenty of soap while you sing TWO rounds of “happy birthday”. Fun times for everyone!