When it comes to fighting viruses, everyday precautions such as washing our hands often and avoiding sick people are key. However, what we eat (as well as our attitude, exercise, fresh air and sunshine) also plays a role in building the immune system and preventing illness.
The nutrients we get from food – in particular, fresh fruits and vegetables – are rich sources of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, especially antioxidants. As a result, a whole foods raw-infused vegan diet is essential in building immune function and protecting the body from infection.
Below are my top foods to include every day:
Wheatgrass juice: a living food, wheatgrass juice is one of the most potent forms of nutrition on the planet with amazing benefits. It is also a powerful blood builder and detoxifier so be sure to drink it on an empty stomach.
Super sprouts: sprouts and microgreens are rich sources of enzymes, proteins, vitamins, trace elements, oxygen, antioxidants and more. They are truly the best superfoods and easy to grow at home.
Sauerkraut: fermented foods are teeming with beneficial lactobacillus bacteria which can help restore the balance of friendly flora in the gut and fight potential infection. Include a few tablespoons with meals.
Spirulina: a blue green algae, spirulina may be the single most nutrient-dense food on the planet. It is extraordinarily rich in antioxidants, vitamins, iron, protein, as well as a host of minerals. Add daily to smoothies.
Fresh fruits & vegetables: fruits and vegetable in a wide array of colors provide the body with protective antioxidants to boost overall health. Eat lots of organic leafy greens, broccoli, citrus fruit, melons, berries and other brightly colored produce daily. Raw or lightly steamed is best.
Green juice: vegetable green juices are a powerhouse of nutrients that promote an alkaline body and strong immune system. Rotate greens and add lemon to make your green juices more palatable.
Green smoothies and raw soups: blended drinks are far from anything new, but they are an easy way to add fresh alkaline minerals, antioxidants, vitamins, phytonutrients and fiber into your daily diet. For simple and delicious recipes, be sure to read my books The SimplyRaw Living Foods Detox Manual and The SimplyRaw Kitchen.
Super cruciferous: also called brassicas, these vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, radish bok choy, etc.) are abundant in vitamins, minerals, and most impressive, sulfur-containing phytochemicals (sulforaphane) which have the potential to inhibit cancer. Sulforaphane is particularly abundant in broccoli sprouts.
Chaga: rich in antioxidants, chaga is a type of fungus that grows mainly on the bark of birch. It has been used for centuries in Siberia to boost immunity and fight infection. Brew a large pot and enjoy daily.
Garlic: a longtime staple across the globe, garlic is an immune-boosting superstar due to its allicin properties which is released when crushed and allowed to stand 5 minutes. Consume raw in salads or blended soups. (for simple yet delicious raw soups and salads read my books The SimplyRaw Living Foods Detox Manual and The SimplyRaw Kitchen.)
Ginger: traditionally used to aid digestion, ginger also helps reduce nausea, combat inflammation, and fight the flu and common cold. Use in juices, smoothies, salads, soups and teas to keep your immune system healthy.
Turmeric: known for its anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin is the active compound in this powerful little root. It has also been shown to boost immune cell activity and enhance antibody responses. Combine turmeric with black pepper to increase bioavailability.