Originally posted on the FIT4MOM blog
Written by: Mareya Ibrahim
We’ve heard it so many times that it’s become ingrained in us: food is medicine. But what does that mean, exactly? Chef and Nutrition Coach Mareya Ibrahim became fascinated with this topic after her 14-year-old came to her with a question: "how did they deal with disease thousands of years ago, before conventional medicine and antibiotics?"
Can you guess what she found? The answer was simple: nature!
Ancient civilizations became masters of using plants and herbs as their remedies. The use of spices and herbs with antimicrobial properties was necessary to ward off the threat of food-borne pathogens and life-threatening illnesses. In fact, the pharmaceuticals we use today are often derived from those medicinal plants (things like garlic, onions, turmeric, thyme, black seed, and more).
While it’s much easier to rely on fast food or lean on others to prepare food for us, by doing this, we tend to lose our connection with our own nourishment. And to be honest, there’s never been a time when owning our health is more important. With the unprecedented pandemic and the daily stresses associated with adapting to it, our internal systems are being challenged in ways we could have never imagined. It's not just our immune system that needs support; our nervous system, endocrine system, digestive system, lymphatic system, and adrenal system need support... and it all begins with food.
Food is the fuel to not only give us the life force we need for energy and vitality, but it also helps us manage stress, rest and sleep, balance our hormones, and build up our immunity. When there’s a crisis in one of our systems, the ‘machine’ becomes at risk of breaking down.
Luckily, boosting your body’s immunity and ability to fight infection is right on your plate! Eating to thrive means getting a balance of essential amino acids (protein), good fats, and slow-burning carbohydrates for maximum efficiency and strength. Adding prebiotic (garlic, onions, fiber) and probiotic (pickles, kimchi, miso, tempeh, and black garlic) rich foods will all help with getting your gut health in check–and that’s EVERYTHING. Drinking enough clear liquids every day to flush your system of toxins is also key in balancing your gut health.
Pro tip: add lemon juice or raw apple cider vinegar to your water to help with controlling bacteria!
While there’s no silver bullet, we can take big strides in protecting our incredible bodies from succumbing to sickness with Mareya's Top 8 Immunity-Boosting Foods: