5 Superfoods for Flu Season

Spinach

Flu season is around the corner, and you can sleep and sanitize religiously, but the best way to fight off germs and sickness is through proper nutrition. Medicine will temporarily alleviate your symptoms but can’t equip the body to kill off the illness inside of you and doesn’t have the healing power that food does. Stock your kitchen up with the following infection-fighting superfoods and keep your family’s immune system strong all through the winter.

1. Almonds
Vitamin C tends to get all the spotlight when it comes to fighting off the flu and other illnesses, but Vitamin E plays just as a crucial role in protecting your immune system. Almonds are packed with this fat-soluble vitamin and provide a good source of healthy fats to help Vitamin E be best absorbed into your body. They are also excellent vegetarian sources of zinc and selenium. Almonds can be great additions to a variety of meals and taste delicious covered in antioxidant-packed dark chocolate for twice the flu-fighting power.

2. Kombucha
Kombucha isn’t a food but rather a fermented tea that has been used by the Chinese for over 2000 years to fight infection and disease. Its popularity has skyrocketed in the past few years and for good reason. Kombucha tea is loaded with probiotics, B-vitamins and antioxidants that detoxify the body, energize and boost immunity. It is a great probiotic option when compared to yogurt because it doesn’t enhance mucus production like dairy products do, so it’s safe to drink when both trying to prevent or fight an illness.

3. Oats
The American Institute for Cancer Research has reported that oats may have even more antioxidant power than fruits and vegetables. Oats’ combination of antioxidants, soluble fiber, and energizing carbohydrates all provide the body with the defense, strength and digestion it needs to stay healthy. They also protect your heart against cardiovascular disease. Try steel cut oats with cinnamon for extra anti-inflammatory power.

4. Oily Fish and Shellfish
Fish oil and other supplements can be beneficial when taken alone, but obtaining the nutrients directly from the source itself proves to be much easier and helpful for your body to absorb their nutrients. The omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish such as salmon and tuna, protect the body from inflammation, white blood cell damage, and help to alleviate stress. Shellfish provide the most zinc of any other food, which is one of the key elements in fighting colds.

5. Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens are one of the most nutritionally-dense foods on the planet, packed with iron, zinc, copper, and other nutrients that help keep the body’s defenses at their best. The antioxidants in spinach function to develop white blood cells and prevent oxidative stress on the body. If you’re not like Popeye and don’t enjoy eating spinach raw, try putting a handful into a homemade smoothie for a sneaky serving of this powerful food.

Your body will reward you when you make an effort to fill it with nutrient-dense food by not only keeping you from being sick but also giving your long-lasting energy throughout your day and keeping stress and anxiety at bay. A nutritious diet reflects from the inside out and will keep you strong through flu season and beyond.

This guest post is welcomed by Lauren Lane, a junior at the University of Alabama majoring in journalism. She is pursuing a career in food and health writing, and is passionate about plant-based living. Lauren is a Florida native and loves fresh waves and food. She is a staff reporter for the university’s school newspaper, The Crimson White and enjoys writing about campus and local culture. I hope to feature more of her talent in the near future!

Super Foods Salad

Super Salad

This is a sponsored post for Weight Watchers Cheese, but all opinions are my own.

My kids are constantly asking me to purchase snack cheese, and these Weight Watchers Natural Reduced Fat Colby Jack Cheese Sticks have become their favorite. These are so convenient and a healthy on-the-go snack that we can grab on the way to dance, baseball or put in in their lunches for school. They are also perfect for mid morning or afternoon summer snacks after we come in from the pool. I made this Super Foods Salad for lunch with kale, arugula, berries, and of course, cheese. This also makes a great main dish salad topped with grilled chicken, shrimp or steak.

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These cheese sticks from Weight Watchers are full of flavor and fun to peel, this colorful blend of reduced-fat Colby and Monterey Jack cheese are only 60 calories per stick. They are an excellent source of calcium and protein and are 2 PointsPlus® value per serving. They make the perfect healthy snack! What’s your favorite healthy on-the-go snack?

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11 Ways to Use  Weight Watcher’s Snack Cheeses

Use with crackers

Skewer with fruit

Skewer with turkey and tomatoes for gluten free sandwiches

Serve over soups

Put inside omelets

Serve with apples and nuts

Serve on pita chips with a slice of apple

Skewer with strawberries and pineapple

Make your own lunchables

Serve with olives and salamis

Serve with cooked edamame beans or fava beans

Weight Watchers

 

 

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High Antioxidant Superfoods Salad

Since I have been doing a lot of nutrition seminars and speaking engagements lately on superfoods and healthy eating habits, it has been so fun to experiment with various combinations of super healthy ingredients. Last week, I thew together this with this High Antioxidant Superfoods Salad. My newest favorite ingredient is broccoli sprouts, and my kids and I are infatuated with them. They are so healthy and are said to help prevent cancer, reduce inflammation and even help protect against ulcers. This salad is also filled with some of my other super food favorites including berries, pumpkin seeds and colorful greens. If you want a refresher on the health benefits of blackberries, read my post on “Top 10 Health Benefits of Blackberries.”  Feel free to add grilled chicken or shrimp along with your favorite salad dressing, or just simply use balsamic vinegar and oil.

Top 10 Health Benefits of Cherries: A True Superfruit

Cherries are a nutritional powerhouse fruit with so many incredible health benefits. One cup of raw cherries has 87 calories, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of protein and 3 grams of fiber. Enjoy them now while they are at their peak because their season is way too short.  Read on for some of the great health benefits of eating cherries.

 

Ten Great Health Benefits of Eating Cherries

1. Cherries, known as a “super-fruit”, are packed with antioxidants called anthocyanins which aid in the reduction of heart disease and cancer.

2. Cherries are one of the few food sources that contain melatonin, an antioxidant that helps regulate heart rhythms and the body’s sleep cycles.

3. Cherries are an excellent source of beta carotene (vitamin A). In fact they contain 19 times more beta carotene than blueberries and strawberries.

4. Cherries are rich in vitamins C, E, potassium, magnesium, iron, folate and fiber.

5. Cherries are referred to as “brain food”, aiding in brain health and in the prevention of memory loss.

6. Because cherries contain anthocyanins, they can reduce inflammation and symptoms of arthritis and gout.

7. Eating cherries reduces the risk of diabetes.

8. Cherries are a good source of fiber which is important for digestive health.

9. Cherries are a great snack or dessert choice important for weight-maintenance.

10. Because of their powerful anti-inflammatory benefits, cherries are said to reduce pain and joint soreness for runners and athletes after workouts.