During cold and flu season, or really anytime of the year, there are certain foods, supplements, and natural remedies that can help give your immune system the boost it needs to build a strong foundation for the future. This means you will get sick less frequently, and if you do get sick, your body should be able to better fight whatever virus invaded your system and recover more quickly. Continue reading
As the cold weather is upon us now here in Nashville, I’ve been thinking of ways to boost my immune system, as it tends to be compromised more during this season. So I created this refreshing immune boosting smoothie! However, you can drink this smoothie any time of the year, even while trying to strengthen your immune system during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
It’s actually smoothie month at Williams-Sonoma and this week’s theme was “Not Your Average Smoothie” so I thought turning a smoothie into something that boosts your immune system and wards off colds would be a good place to start. It’s a nice tart smoothie with an optional kick that reminds me of the green lemonade juices I’ve been drinking, but instead it’s beautifully pink from the bright red raspberries.
Here’s what I threw into my blender + why it’s good for you:
- Greens: Greens like kale, collard, swiss chard, and spinach are nutritional powerhouses packed with vitamins and minerals, like vitamin C, that strengthen your immune system and ward off colds.
- Orange/Tangerine: Oranges are full of vitamins A + C which help promote production of white blood cells to fight off any foreign invaders, and folate which you need for healthy cell growth. Those looking to get pregnant or are already pregnant will benefit from including folate into their diet as it essential for healthy development of the baby in the mother’s womb, particularly the formation of the neural tube.
- Lemons and berries: Both are rich in vitamin C and immune boosting antioxidants.
- Ginger: Ginger is a strong antioxidant that has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Turmeric + Cayenne (optional): Both turmeric and cayenne are very nutrient dense spices, which support your immune system through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Some of you know, but others may not realize that along with loving good food, I am also a birth doula and a holistic health counselor, focused on supporting women during the childbearing years. For a few years now, I have been passionate about helping mamas and mamas-to-be, ensuring they are getting the education and support they need while pregnant, breastfeeding, or prepping for pregnancy. I feel it an honor to work with women and their families during such an intimate and beautiful time of their lives. So if you see a little bit more of a focus towards pregnancy, and the like, that is why. Don’t worry, I’ll still be posting delicious recipes for everyone, but some may have a bit more of a focus towards nourishing nutrients for mama and baby. If you have any questions, or are interested in how I can support you, as a mama or mama-to-be, feel free to shoot me a message!
What mom doesn’t need a little more energy after having a baby? This smoothie is an easy and delicious way to boost your energy, as well as your breastmilk supply. Essential fatty acids, such as coconut oil and nuts, and foods high in omega 3, like flax seeds, increase your energy and milk supply. Spinach, high in phytoestrogens, promotes healthy breast tissue and lactation, and this smoothie is an easy way of incorporating those greens into your daily routine. Did you know healthy fats, like coconut oil, have some of the highest concentrations of energy out of all nutrients? Fat is also essential for hormone production, which will help your body produce a fattier, more nutritious breastmilk for baby. Drink up! It’s delicious way to start your day, whether you are lactating or not. Continue reading
I am excited about this cold tonic and immune system booster! If I ever feel a sickness coming on, I often reach for a clove of garlic, so this blend of garlic, raw honey, and probiotics sounded perfect. I think of garlic as nature’s antibiotic-it boasts antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, and even anti-cancerous properties! Garlic is a powerful immune system booster that stimulates the multiplication of white blood cells, which fight off infection in your body. This is due largely in part to the sulfur containing compound allicin, which I discovered is even more easily assimilated into your body after fermentation! And if that’s not enough, the raw honey added to the tonic is full of natural vitamins, enzymes, and antioxidants! Just like garlic, raw honey is also antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, and it’s great for coating sore throats and reducing irritation. Combine the power raw honey and garlic with benefits of probiotics from the fermentation process and you have the perfect immune boosting, kick-your-cold-in-the-butt team!
I have been making kombucha for a couple of years now, and I love that I always have some on hand whenever I want a refreshing drink and a good boost of probiotics. If you know me, you probably know I am a big proponent of probiotics, especially from fermented foods like kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, etc. Good bacteria is essential to our health. Did you know that 70-80% of our immune system is located in our gut? That’s pretty huge! Even more of a reason to be mindful of what we are putting into our bodies. Probiotics, or good bacteria, kill off bad bacteria that are hanging out in our intestine, which leads to a more balanced gut, and in turn a stronger immune system. Probiotics have also been shown to decrease inflammation in the body (think arthritis, asthma, Chrohn’s disease). What’s really interesting to me is how a woman’s gut health during pregnancy and birth can influence the health of her child. All the more reason to drink up this fizzy drink! Continue reading
I love winter squash! Not only are they loaded with fiber and vitamins A, C, & B6, but they store well (up to 6 months in a cool environment!) and are easy to prepare. Thin-skinned winter squash like sweet dumpling, acorn, or delicata are the easiest because their rind is edible and therefore doesn’t need to be peeled, which is a bonus, especially when cooking simple weeknight meals! Continue reading
I love all things pumpkin, and when Fall rolls around I can’t get enough of it! These pumpkin bars are similar in taste to pumpkin bread, but are a lighter in texture and are super simple to make. Lightly sweetened with honey and maple syrup, warming you with clove, cinnamon, and ginger, these grain-free and dairy-free pumpkin bars are a great fall treat!
Eat your vitamins:
Pumpkin is such a versatile fruit, that can be used for sweet or savory dishes. Like most other orange winter squash, pumpkin is full of lutein and both alpha and beta carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A (over 200% of your daily value in just one serving!). Pumpkin is also full of fiber and vitamins C, K, and B6 which makes it high in antioxidant support. It even contains omega-3 fats, which are helpful in warding off inflammation in the body. Now let’s go eat some pumpkin! Continue reading