Hillcrest South dietitian Stephanie Harris, MS, RD/LD, joins us on the blog today, sharing insights on a word we may hear a lot, but not fully understand how it can impact our health - superfoods.
Hippocrates did not underestimate the importance of good nutrition when he said Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. Our bodies are battlegrounds against infection and diseases and often times we forget that good nutrition should be the first medication on the prescription list …and the best part is there are no side effects! A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is one of the best ways to help prevent colds and the flu. Superfoods are nutrient powerhouses packed with large doses of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants, protein, and Omega-3 fatty acids that play a key role in building a strong body and army of defense. These micronutrients help protect tissues in the body by blocking harmful chemical reactions caused by free radicals. Antioxidants are capable of stabilizing, or deactivating, free radicals before they attack cells making you better able to ward off colds, flu, and other infections.
How to tell which foods are considered Super?
Just about every brightly colored fruit and vegetable fits the category of a superfood, as do nuts, beans, seeds and aromatic and brightly colored herbs and spices. Daily consumption of superfoods is essential to help prevent or reduce inflammation, protect organs from toxins, promote digestive health, and increase the production of white blood cells—which is key to fighting infections. The best defense is a good offense and because your body doesn't produce or store these nutrients, daily intake is essential for continued health.
There are several nutrients containing antioxidants; Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and beta carotene are among the most commonly studied dietary antioxidants. Eating real foods and not relying on dietary supplements will better increase your chance of building a strong immunity not to mention helping you lower cholesterol, reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer.
Where to find these foods?
Here are examples of Superfoods to help ward off the cold or flu bug.
Red Bell Peppers