As you age, your natural defenses can weaken and make you more susceptible to illness and infection. Keeping your body well and able to fight off the germs and viruses that threaten your health is vital. Luckily, there are many tasty ways to increase your number of healthy days, and decrease the longevity of any infection that does break through your defenses. Here are 6 food and drink options you can add to your daily diet to help ward off those nasty coughs and colds:
1. Fresh Juice
For the juicing newbie, rotating citrus juicers are easy to use and inexpensive. But for more advanced juicing enthusiasts, a powerful fruit and vegetable juice extractor will be well worth the investment when you start seeing the immediate and long-term benefits. Fresh pressed and extracted juice contains vitamins, minerals and enzymes not found in pasteurized and reconstituted juice concentrates. These essential compounds decay with the age, exposure, and extreme heat needed to make them viable for packaging, transport and shelf stability at your local grocer. So when it comes to your immunity and juice, when you have the choice, fresh is best.
2. Fermented Juice
Fermented juice is a great way to keep your gut and your body healthy and less susceptible to colds and viruses. Most of your immune system actually relies on the healthy flora (bacteria) living in your intestinal track called probiotics. When they’re in balance and working together in a symbiotic relationship with your body, you keep healthy. So break open a few capsules of your favorite shelf-stable probiotic blend into some fresh or specialty bottled, cold-pressed, unfiltered fruit and veggie juice (the thick kind you can’t see through). Then let it ferment for a few days and drink up. As long as you have at least 5 billion probiotic organisms (at the time of manufacture) to 8 oz of liquid, you can enjoy these easy homemade fizzy drinks as much as you like. Then, just add more juice when you’re down to the last few ounces at about a ratio of 4 oz new juice to 1 oz fermented juice.
3. Herbal Tea
Many herbal teas provide antioxidants and other chemical compounds responsible for cell repair and maintaining overall good health for your body. Green tea is the most popular health tea, but there are a lot more at your finger tips. Ginger, dandelion root and rooibos are all excellent candidates for tea-making, and will keep your body going strong. But make sure to mix your dandelion root with tastier teas to mask its very “earthy” flavor.
I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials of one of America’s favorite actresses enjoying her cup of “regulating” yogurt. The probiotics in yogurt can do a host of healthy deeds for your body, but it’s best to stick with low-sugar flavored yogurts if they’re store-bought. Stay away from high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, and chemical sugar substitutes; like aspartame and sucralose. But ultimately it’s better to add your own fresh fruit or organic preserves to plain yogurt. And Greek yogurt has twice the protein, with a thick creamy texture. Plus, now there are even non-dairy options, such as coconut yogurt, for those who struggle with lactose intolerance or a whey allergy. Making your own dairy or non-dairy yogurt at home could be a fun science experiment to explore with your grandkids as well.
This spicy Korean dish is an excellent way to start you mornings. A few bites of this fermented peppery cabbage will rev up your digestive system and fill it with those all-important probiotics; preparing it for the onslaught of potential hazards throughout the day. Thank goodness you won’t have to travel all the way to Korea for this treat; it’s often available in the produce section at your local supermarket or specialty shop.
Originating in China and migrating to Europe, sauerkraut is best known as a German dish, literally translating to “sour cabbage.” Like its Korean cousin, sauerkraut has many of the same benefits as the other fermented foods and drinks mentioned. Although commercially available, if you are a novice or advanced fermenter, you can experiment with your homemade sauerkraut and develop some tasty varieties. Try bean sprouts, carrots, apples or beets for a supercharged and healthy treat.
Incorporate any of these tasty food and beverage options into your daily routine to strengthen your natural defenses and boost your immunity.