With the pandemic still surging, staying healthy is more important than ever before. In addition to following the scope of medicine and science, keeping your immune system strong naturally is increasingly vital. Our Aftercare teacher and certified holistic nutritionist, Mr. Adam, shares his favorite ways to maintain a healthy immune system! Read through for some great tips for you and your child’s well being.

There has never been a more important time to give our immune systems as much support as possible. Luckily, there are many ways to ensure we are providing our bodies with the proper nutrients and self-care methods to promote optimal immunity and overall well-being. We want to share some of best foods the earth has to offer, as well as some helpful and simple stress management techniques that aid in immunity support and will provide our bodies with some extra love and care during these anxiety-ridden times. It is so important that everybody’s immune systems are strong and healthy so we can continue to gather at DMS and provide a safe, healthy, productive environment for our students!

Two areas which are essential in the development and maintenance of our immune systems are nutrition and stress management. These two factors contribute greatly to whether our immune system is on alert and protecting us, or is weak and letting too many bad guys through. 

Let’s talk about plants

Whole, plant-based foods are the most natural and beneficial form of medicine we can give our bodies. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, grains, beans, spices and herbs not only provide immunity boosting properties, but in fact provide our bodies with the essential substances our immune systems need to be function. 

Plants contain what are called “phytonutrients” which are essentially a plant’s immune system. The phytonutrients in plants are the compounds the plant has developed to protect itself from disease and harmful conditions. So, when we eat plants, we are absorbing those phytonutrients. Pure immunity boosting power! 

ddsay no to stress

The next area is stress. We all know stress is not helpful for our well-being – but it can be inevitable in this hectic world. Stress can have a tremendous impact on the functioning of our immune systems as well as our overall health and well-being. 

When it comes to stress management, there are a few activities that I feel can really help reduce stress – like getting out into nature and having family adventures! In Japan there is a term called shinrin-yoku, which translates to “forest bathing” or “absorbing the forest atmosphere”. Simply being surrounded by nature and detaching from the fast paced, digital world, and our busy everyday lives, is so healing to our well-being and can in fact support the immune system. “High-desert bathing”, anyone? 

Cooking family meals can also be a fantastic way to reduce stress. Consciously making the effort to take the time to cook and eat dinner together can be a great reminder of what really matters in life. This will also ensure that you know what is going into your meal, and have control of eliminating as many processed foods as possible while taking advantage of the amazing natural medicine the earth has to offer. It’s also a great way to get the kids involved in learning about different ingredients, cooking, and developing healthy habits.  

give these foods a go:

Add as many cruciferous vegetables to your meals as possible: Kale, Broccoli, Cabbage (especially red), Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, Collard greens. This group of vegetables are packed full of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber, all of which aid in optimal immune function. (Cut cruciferous vegetables 40 minutes before you cook them. Cutting cruciferous vegetables activates a particular enzyme and when you cook it immediately, you’re killing off that enzyme before it can do its job. Cutting 40 minutes prior to cooking will allow you to cook the vegetables as much as you want, and all the essential nutrients will stay intact.)

Fruits are great too! Some specific fruits that are great to include are oranges, grapefruits, berries, pineapples, apples and pears. All are high in essential vitamins and nutrients. As I have learned, your favorites are always the healthiest and best choice!

Including plenty of whole grains like oats, brown rice, buckwheat and millet, as well as plenty of beans and lentils in your meals, will also ensure a proper functioning immune system. Nuts and seeds are a great source of healthy, unrefined fats, and when using oil, use oils that provide healthy fats, like extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil or ghee.

Spices and herbs embody so many healing properties and immunity boosting support and have been used as medicine since 500 BC! There are many spices which are specifically helpful, like, ginger, turmeric, cayenne, red chili, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, clove, and fenugreek. Culinary herbs are also great to add into your meals. Herbs such as sage, rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano, marjoram, cilantro and parsley are filled with immune supporting substances as well. Now is a great time to start adding more spice into your life!

 

Other helpful items to include in your daily diet are apple cider vinegar, raw organic honey, green tea, kefir, coconut yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi. Sourdough and whole grain, sprouted breads are your best options when it comes to bread. (Check out the new Wild Leven Bakery location here in Santa Fe.)

 

We wanted to share a few great plant-based kid friendly recipes you can try with the family!

– These oat bars are a great way to have a super healthy ready-to-go breakfast and also make a great snack!

        https://nutriciously.com/vegan-oat-bar-recipe/

– A delicious, creamy, broccoli cheddar soup is easy to throw together and is made of pure plants!

        https://www.loveandlemons.com/vegan-broccoli-soup/ 

– A plant-based take on chicken salad, this recipe is fueled by garbanzo beans and the kids will love it!

        https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/chickpea-salad-sandwiches-8811083

– Curries are a great way to introduce new flavors and textures to kids with the chance to add plenty of immunity boosting support with the layers of onion, garlic, ginger, and warming spices and herbs! The great thing with curries is you can mitigate the spice to make it more kid friendly and you can add any vegetables you want! I always kale to my curries.  

         https://hostthetoast.com/easy-chickpea-curry/

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