It’s the little things that add up, day by day, that we can do to make our lives healthier. By being mindful about adding a nutritious boost to what we feed our bodies, it can make the difference between feeling balanced and feeling like you’ve lost ground and haven’t contributed to helping your immune system work its best. Here are four foods to eat to feel good and move towards improved health and wellness.
Sip on Miso Broth
Keep a batch of miso broth in the fridge. On days where you don’t feel like a heavy meal, or after an intense weekend of over-indulging, miso is the go-to base for healthy soups with intense flavor. This fermented soybean paste can be picked up at your local health food store or Asian market. The living enzymes in fermented foods help with the digestive process and contribute to a healthy gut. Miso is loaded with vitamins and minerals including a large amount of sodium, so for those on low sodium diets, be aware.
- Simmer four cups of water and add one-third cup miso. Cool and store in fridge.
- When ready to use, add your fav veggies like sliced mushrooms, scallions, broccoli, Chinese cabbage and spices like ginger and garlic. Heat through.
Detox with Horseradish
A natural detox, this condiment contains glucosinolates. According to the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, these compounds can increase the liver’s ability to detoxify carcinogens in the body, which are known to cause cancer. Whenever possible, add this to your detox arsenal. Remember, this condiment really opens up the sinuses with its peppery, spicy flavor!
- Try adding one or two tablespoons of prepared horseradish to tomato sauce recipes.
- Your favorite cream based dip will also get an extra kick from a small amount of horseradish.
- Add to ketchup to make a cocktail sauce (season to taste).
- Make a cream sauce for a main entree using two tablespoons prepared horseradish and a quarter cup sour cream, two teaspoons of mayo and mustard/chopped onion to taste.
Try A New Veggie: Kohlrabi
Browse the produce aisles of your favorite food store to find Kohlrabi. Sometimes referred to as "turnip cabbage," this bulbous, mild flavored, high fiber/low calorie member of the cabbage family is not a commonly known veggie. Kohlrabi is packed with vitamins, especially C, and minerals including potassium and magnesium which help promote a healthy immune system. Don’t let its looks scare you off! Peeling this round, tuberous veggie will remove the tough two outer layers and reveal a tender inside… .similar to the texture of an apple. I don’t use the greens that are usually attached but they do have nutritional value. You could prepare them as you would other greens, using the newer smaller leaves. There's tons of ways to serve Kohlrabi
- Raw in julienne strips (crunchy goodness by itself, or mixed in a salad)
- Roasted (with olive oil and your favorite bold seasonings)
- Shredded to add to soups, slaw recipes, homemade spring rolls.3
- Peeled, sliced thin and cooked in boiling water until tender and seasoned with salt and pepper.
Serve Up Sauerkraut (Unpasteurized)
If you add up the antioxidant benefits of cabbage with the probiotic advantage of the fermentation process, you get sauerkraut. This fermented cabbage contains compounds that have cancer fighting properties. One in particular, sulforaphane, helps increase the good bacteria in the gut which helps reduce inflammation. Researchers at Oregon State University have linked gut bacteria to immune function. This is just one study, in a growing field of research, that shows good gut health is important to a healthy immune system. Unpasteurized sauerkraut is the way go since the heat of the pasteurization process destroys the enzymes and certain vitamins (like C) which are what help support the gut. It’s easy to add a few tablespoons of sauerkraut to your diet regularly.
- Use as a topping for your baked potato along with plain yogurt and onion. Make it your own by adding your usual vegan or vegetarian extras.
- Prepare a stir fry dish by combining sauerkraut with your favorite veggies like mushrooms, colorful peppers, shredded carrots, celery and onion.
- Add to bean salads or veggie soup.
- As a side dish to your main entree with caraway seed to give it extra flavor.
Learn more about the Balanced Babe lifestyle.