“Let food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food” is a popular quote attributed to Hippocrates, a Greek physician who lived from 460 B.C. to 375 B.C and is widely known as “the father of modern medicine”. Hippocrates considered nutrition as one of the main tools for healing.
Food can be many things. It provides energy, nourishment, and information to our cells. Food can provide pleasure, community, and security. Every bite we take has an impact on our hormones and our genes. In fact, there is a whole field of study called Nutrigenomics that studies the impact food has on our genetic expression.
But not all foods are created equal. Some foods can move us one step closer to optimal health, while other foods can create inflammation and a state of dis-ease.
Unfortunately, the processed, low-nutrient foods that are so readily available today may be convenient, inexpensive and tasty, they also compromise our health.
We especially need to pay attention to what we eat when we are sick so we can give our bodies the nutrients it needs to heal. And if you want to be even more deliberate in improving health—perhaps to address a chronic disease or condition—a natural medicine approach can yield great benefits.
In natural medicine, we use food as one tool in healing, we also take into account your historic timeline, exposures, relationships, stress level, lifestyle, and genetics to create a personalized roadmap to healing. If you would like to learn how to use natural medicine at home, click here to learn about our at-home natural medicine program, The GLOW Protocol
Each day, we all have at least a few opportunities to make better decisions about what (and how) to eat, so viewing food as medicine can help you make the best decisions for your own wellbeing.
The right foods can reduce inflammation, boost immunity, elevate energy, balance hormones, aid in sleep, calm your mood, strengthen your heart, regulate your body composition, and help your memory and mental focus.
Since we are heading into cold and flu season, I have assembled a list of eight readily available immune-boosting foods that you can stock in your pantry to keep your family healthy all season long.
Dr. Michelle’s Wellness Pantry Picks:
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: EVOO possesses antibacterial properties that can reduce your risk of getting sick. Its antioxidants are also known to protect against many immune-related inflammatory conditions including diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, IBS, and other autoimmune conditions. The Italians had it right!
- Chamomile Tea: Sipping chamomile tea is linked to antibacterial activity in the body. However, its real claim to fame is its ability to support sleep, which protects immunity.
- Walnuts: In additional to being one of the top anti-inflammatory foods, walnuts are backed with immune-boosting nutrients such as B6, copper, vitamin E, and folate.
- Turmeric: Curcumin, that natural compound in turmeric that gives it its bright orange color is a potent anti-inflammatory. Curcumin has been shown to boost immune cell activity and enhance antibody response. Combining Curcumin with black pepper increases your absorption so you get more of its benefits.
- Kidney Beans: I know the paleo police are clicking off this post right now, but kidney beans are a potent superfood, worthy of some space in your pantry and on your plate. Not only do they contain antioxidants, but they also are packed with immune-boosting nutrients, like protein, zinc, and iron. Plus, their fiber content feeds the good bacteria in your digestive which boosts immunity and helps balance hormones.
- Chia Seeds: Chia seeds are loaded with anti-inflammatory antioxidants plus a healthy dose of protein and fiber. Not only do these tiny seeds support immunity, but they also are a great natural way to relieve constipation – which can impede nutrient absorption and stress the immune system. Chia seeds also contain magnesium, which can help sleep.
- Dried Tart Cherries: High in antioxidants, dried tart cherries are a great immune-boosting food with special powers to reduce upper respiratory tract infections. They also contain natural melatonin, which can encourage healthy sleep. Research shows that sleep-deprived individuals are more likely to get sick when exposed to a virus.
- Cocoa Powder: Yes, you read that right. Raw, organic cocoa powder is an anti-inflammatory superfood with positive impacts on brain and heart health. Its antibacterial properties have been shown to boost the activity of your immune cells, which protect you from flu, colds, and viruses. So, bust out the mugs and make yourself a delicious cup of hot cocoa – in the name of medicine!
Want more tips you can employ at home to heal your body naturally each day? Check out our at-home natural medicine program, The GLOW Protocol, filled with healing protocols, daily practices, meal plans, recipes, lifestyle strategies, and personalized advice to support you on your healing journey.