Friday, October 24, 2014

Immune Health starts with a Health GI Track!

It might come as a surprise that your gastrointestinal (GI) track plays a role in the health of your immune system but in fact, it plays a rather sizable role. Our intestines are filled with healthy bacteria, antibodies and a variety of immune cells that all work to keep us healthy. The next time you get a cold, don't just think about who got you sick, think about - your diet.

While the research in gut immune health is still underway what seems to be especially important is the consumption of plenty of plant foods.   The variety of bacteria in plant foods, along with the variety of phytonutrients makes plant foods - grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds - good choices to fuel a healthy immune system.

If your diet is still a bit animal food heavy, take sometime to look for ways to sneak in more plant foods - try a few of these ideas.

  • Add shredded carrots and squash to chili or try 2 -3 different beans
  • Try dried fruit, nuts and shredded veggies in your next batch of muffins
  • Stretch your omelet veggies to squash, broccoli, green peas and carrots
  • Add diced beets to a beef casserole - they look like meat
  • Cut the amount of beef you use in a dish but adding chopped mushrooms
  • Fruit salsa flavors meat nicely and cranberry sauce on salmon is a nice twist
  • Chopped dried fruit and throw it into yogurt with some nuts or seeds
  • Combine brown rice and veggies for a colorful side
You can make these changes slowly if you need some time to adjust to the new look and different flavors.

Connie Diekman, M.Ed., RD, CSSD
Nutrition Communications Consultant

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