Guard yourself against flus and colds this winter season by eating foods that naturally boost your immunity and keep you health. Aside from increasing your body’s ability to fight off viruses and infections, these four necessary super foods are so rich in nutrients that they also provide protection against inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, Alzheimer’s dementia, obesity and high blood pressure.

Avocados

Avocados are a healthy source of unsaturated fat, which assists in the lowering of cholesterol and lowering your risk of heart disease. They are also a potent source of Vitamin A, which helps to keep your skin producing collagen. Almost half of your daily requirement for pantothenic acid is supplied by avocados (also great for the skin) as well as one third of your requirements for fiber, vitamin K and folate and one quarter of your DRI of vitamin B6, vitamin# and vitamin C.

Avocados very satisfying food, because they have a creamy mouth feel, which makes a good substitute for fattier foods. However it would be a mistake to believe that avocados are fat-free as just one cup serving accounts for 82% of avocado’ total fat. The ratio of omega-e to omega-6 fats in an avocadoes 3 to 2.5 grams, helping to lower your risk of heart disease and reduce oxidative stress.

Avocados must be served raw for you to get the full nutritional benefits. You can add it to salads, sandwiches and dressings. They can be sliced and used as an accompaniment to any dish or blended into smoothies and dips (such as that old Mexican stand-bye guacamole.

Blueberries

Like all dark fruit, blueberries are a rich source of flavonoids (including anthocyanins) that fight inflammation, cancer and memory loss. Blueberries also help reduce high blood sugar levels, which makes them an ideal food for diabetics. Blueberries are also a great weight loss food, with one cup only being 50-60 calories. They are also classified as a low glycemic food and a great source of fiber, providing at last 3.5 grams per fresh cup.

Blueberries are easily frozen and can be used to make smoothies. You can also add them to cereals, porridge, and yogurt and make an endless number of deserts using them. However, to make the most of their antioxidant properties, blueberries are best served raw rather than baked or reduced to a jam.

Pomegranate

Pomegranates are widely available in Canada in the winter and have many amazing health benefits thanks to polyphenol, a major antioxidant that repairs damage to arty walls and lowers cholesterol. They also contain punicic acid, which helps lower blood pressure and keep cholesterol low. Polyphenol antioxidants are also potent cancer fighters that help prevent and treat skin, lung and breast cancer. Furthermore pomegranates supply half of your body’s need for both Vitamin C and fiber, which helps fight illnesses and aging.

Pomegranate seeds can be tossed into any green or fruit salad or sprinkled onto yogurt or oatmeal. You can also add them smoothies, juices and frescas (plain or sparkling waters on ice.)

Tomatoes

Tomatoes have many benefits, with one cup of tomatoes providing one third of your DRI of Vitamin C, one quarter of biotin, as well as lesser amounts of many other nutrients including vitamins A B6, B3, B1, E, K. Tomatoes also provide fibre as well as minerals such as copper, manganese, potassium, magnesium, choline, iron and zinc.

Tomatoes also contain 17 disease fighting flavones, flavonones, flavonols, acids, carotenoids, saponins and fatty acid derivatives. If you combine all of the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of tomatoes you will find that they extend to many systems and organs in the body including the cardiovascular (heart, muscular, renal (kidneys), hepatic (lover and integumentary (skin) systems. One of the most important anti-inflammatory agents in tomatoes is lycopene, which works in tandem with Vitamin E and Vitamin C to protect the heart and blood vessels from damage.

It’s easy to get more tomatoes into your diet, add them to salads, spaghetti sauce, chilies bean and vegetable salads. You can also make tomato salsas, bruschetta or just simply eat them raw with salt and pepper.

As an added bonus, these foods can also help facilitate weight loss, often needed as the result of most of us being so sedentary in wintertime.

For more information about nutrition,Toronto weight loss or to book a consultation about anti-aging, naturopathic testing, weight loss programs or any health issue you may be experiencing, visit the Pinewood Natural Healthcare Centre website that has a list of full services and products at www.pinewoodhealth.ca or call our Toronto Office at  (416)-656- 8100.  We also have an office in Pickering, Ontario at (905)-427-0057. You can also email us at info@pinewoodhealth.ca and we would be happy to answer any question that you have about our holistic health services.

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