Health and wellness are always imperative but are even more essential at this time. Fortifying your immune system is generally to preserve the vitality of an individual. Still, at a time when the health of others can directly affect loved ones and the greater community, it's vital to remain as healthy as possible.
No one food or ingredient is a panacea. However, consuming an abundance of nutrient-dense and premium foods can improve overall health significantly.
It's likely obvious that eating broccoli and salmon provides more nutrition than a bag of keto chips or cookies. Still, there are certain foods and ingredients, like turmeric, that are incredibly high in nutrients and remain an essential tool in the homeopathic approach to the maintenance of optimal health in the peoples of many cultures for centuries.
Focus on eating whole foods, stay hydrated, and consider including potent foods like chlorella, ginger, apple cider vinegar, and spirulina, or other sea vegetables, like kelp, or dulse, into your meal plan.
Keep in mind, eating a variety of dense nutrients will ensure you're consuming as many micronutrients as possible to maximize immune function.
Although it's critical to keep carbs low on a ketogenic, low-carb, high-fat diet, there is still an abundance of options to enjoy. From low-glycemic veggies and fruits to seeds and delicious collagen-rich beverages like bone broth, all the options noted are incredibly nutrient-rich and hydrating.
Here are some of the most nutrient-dense foods with a low-glycemic load to help keep you in tip-top shape while packing your keto program with the most potent immunity-boosting foods and beverages available:
- Dulse: This bone-building seaweed variety is rich in calcium and potassium. Plus, it's nutrients help the body balance the thyroid, improve eyesight, and can help to lower blood pressure.
- Kelp: This heart-protective seaweed provides an abundance of antioxidant minerals like zinc and manganese, which combat free radicals and help prevent disease.
- Irish Sea moss: If iron deficiency is at all a concern, you want to add sea moss to your diet as soon as you can, and regularly, as it provides almost half your daily suggested intake of iron per day.
Plus, Irish sea moss contains 92 minerals, supports a healthy thyroid and heart, and
- promotes a healthy immune system, too. Also, Irish sea moss benefits good digestion and can improve metabolism to improve healthy body weight.
- Chlorella: This sea-based food provides a variety of health benefits and also acts as an antioxidant. Chlorella, often touted for its ability to boost the immune system, also improves cholesterol and blood sugar levels while helping manage healthy blood pressure levels.
- Spirulina: Packed with anti-inflammatory components, spirulina can aid in disease prevention, lower bad "LDL" cholesterol, and prevent said cells from oxidizing in the body.
Plus, spirulina contains elements thought to reduce blood pressure and even improve the symptoms of chronic disorders like anemia and allergic rhinitis.
- Kombu: Iron regulation is one of the most significant benefits of adding kombu into your keto meal plan. This sea plant is such an asset to our thyroid function because it's rich in iodine.
This food's rich iron content also benefits the body by aiding in the efficient carrying of oxygen to cells.
Plus, this seaweed is high in bone-building calcium, as well as vitamins A and C, which also help with bone and eye health.
- Nori: This savory wrapper often used to roll sushi is more than the casing of a tasty meal. Nori contains significant levels of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and zinc, to name a few health-supporting essentials.
Also, aside from providing an impressive mineral profile, nori also offers the following vitamins: vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K, as well as niacin, folic acid, and taurine.
- Wakame: This seaweed is an excellent option on keto if you're looking to boost nutrition while losing weight, as wakame is very low in calories yet rich in a variety of nutrients.
- Hijiki: Plus, in addition to adding a tasty twist to keto dishes, all the varieties of seaweed noted above are rich in many minerals like iodine and the electrolyte minerals – sodium, potassium, and magnesium.
Here are some additional low-carb veggies that pack a potent dose of nutrients to support overall health and immunity:
- Spinach: These delicate dark leafy greens are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like magnesium, manganese, and iron. Plus, the nutrients in spinach can support eye health, and reduce blood pressure as well as oxidative stress, among other health benefits.
- Kale: This nutrient-dense powerhouse food contains potent antioxidants like quercetin and kaempferol, along with vitamins like vitamin A, K, C, B6, along with minerals like copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, and magnesium, a treasure trove of nutrition.
In addition to tasting delicious when sautéed in grass-fed butter, kale's nutrients can reduce the risk of heart disease as it helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.
- Brussels sprouts: This cruciferous vegetable has come a long way from the soggy variety we passed on in the grade school lunch line. When made well, they are delicious and are an excellent low-glycemic vegetable for those following a ketogenic diet.
Besides, beyond their amazing taste when roasted, Brussels sprouts are replete with fiber, are rich in vitamin K and antioxidants, and contain ALA Omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation and may help reduce the risk of certain diseases.
- Broccoli: Whether as a simple side or doused in luscious, creamy, cheese sauce, broccoli is a fantastic vegetable to keep on-hand.
Plus, aside from its versatility and fantastic taste, broccoli is abundant in folate, potassium, fiber, and vitamin C—essential to maintain bone health.
Besides, broccoli is unique because it aids in building collagen to facilitate the forming of healthy body tissue to help assist in the healing of cuts and wounds.
- Zucchini: If you've missed home fries or potato hash on keto, this tasty vegetable is the answer!
Also, zucchini's rich fiber content helps us feel fuller and longer, which can help with weight loss. And zucchini helps with maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, can improve heart and vision health, and contributes to healthy digestion.
This tasty veggie provides a significant amount of folate, is an excellent source of fiber, and contains vitamins A, E, C, and K, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that improves the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into our cells.
- Green Beans: These delicious beans are a great swap if you're missing the crunchy-salty experience we usually get from fries or chips when eating carbs, try lightly roasted green beans.
Plus, green beans are low in calories and are an excellent source of vitamins C and K, folate, dietary fiber, and silicone—which is essential for healthy bones, hair, and skin.
- Avocado: Aside from its ability to satiate thanks to its healthy fat content, avocado is a fantastic food to enjoy on a ketogenic diet thanks to its multifaceted nutritional profile.
Plus, avocado contains more potassium than a banana, without the unwanted sugar, and is filled with heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and fiber, which can lower triglyceride levels and cholesterol.
Beverages that Promote Immune Health
Water: Option one should be no surprise. Our bodies are primarily composed of water, but it becomes even more important to stay hydrated on a keto diet as ketosis initiates an increased release of water and other essential elements from the body by default.
Coconut Water: With keeping a keen eye on hydration, coconut water is also an excellent beverage option on a ketogenic diet as it is full of a ton of electrolytes, which again, are often released from the body on keto in increased amounts.
Bone Broth: Bone broth has been consumed for centuries for it's hydrating, nutritious, and electrolyte-rich properties. Among its many essential nutrients, bone broth is abundant in phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium.
Also, bone broth helps fortify gut health with its abundance of good bacteria. A well-made, gelatinous broth helps to prevent issues like leaky gut or other digestive problems.
Plus, bone broth reduces inflammation and may even aid in weight loss as it is very satiating as a simple and savory beverage packed with loads of minerals, hydration, and electrolytes.
Apple Cider Vinegar: A secret weapon of many cultures for centuries, apple cider vinegar, has several medicinal and culinary uses; and its health benefits are also quite impressive.
Vinegar, by default, is antibacterial, anti-fungal, and has traditionally been used in useful cleaners and disinfectants, while being natural enough to use internally.
Plus, apple cider vinegar may aid in reducing blood pressure, regulates blood sugar levels to help manage diabetes, and aids in a gentle daily detox.
Kombucha: You may question the compliance of kombucha on keto once you look at the ingredients, as it does contain sugar, but that minimal amount of sugar, is consumed during fermentation, making the drink fine on keto.
Plus, gut health and integrity is vital as it affects the entire digestive system and can contribute to other health issues. Fortunately, kombucha provides antioxidants, benefits related to green tea, probiotics, can stave off side effects of diabetes, and could potentially help protect the body against certain cancers.
Kefir: There are different varieties of this fermented probiotic beverage, types suited for dairy consumers and vegans alike.
Kefir is anti-bacterial, and a more potent probiotic than yogurt, which helps with digestive problems, can enhance bone health and prevents degenerative conditions like osteoporosis.
Golden Milk (with turmeric): There are so many ways to incorporate the powerhouse root, turmeric into your diet. Whether you use it to give a vibrant amber hue to your sautéed cauliflower rice or want to use it to make a warm and sweet golden, chai-style, milk as an evening comfort drink, it's simply fantastic!
In addition to its colorful hue and flavor, turmeric also has the potential to prevent heart disease and Alzheimer's. Plus it contains anti-inflammatory properties that may improve conditions like arthritis and depression.
Oils that Promote Immune Health
MCT Oil: Germs are everywhere and essential to a certain point. However, exposure to particular germs helps boost immunity while others not so much.
Fortunately, MCT oil provides us with medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) that act as natural antibiotics and aid in supporting immune health to ward off harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa.
Ghee: Acting as one of the ultimate wing-men of other nutrients and a formidable immune-booster on its own, ghee, also referred to as clarified butter, aids in the body's ability to absorb vital nutrients in other foods we consume.
Plus, ghee is rich in antioxidants and adds a buttery and decadent flavor to all meals. Plus, it's especially ideal for those who cannot tolerate dairy.
Avocado Oil: Another antioxidant-rich powerhouse food, avocado, provides an abundant source of glutathione, required for the lymphoid cells, and aids in fortifying the immune system.
Plus, avocado is rich in folic acid, which is essential for women of childbearing age, as it prevents congenital disabilities of the spinal cord and brain, especially in developing fetuses.
Grapeseed Oil: Olive oil has been the darling of the culinary world for a while, but it's best to use other options, like grapeseed oil, when cooking at high temperatures to avoid rancidity.
Besides, grapeseed oil contains twice as much vitamin E as olive oil. And the ample vitamin E content in this oil is significant when working to stay healthy as it is a potent antioxidant that helps prevent damage to cells within the body and aids in strengthening the immune system.
Black Seed Oil: This oil's significant impact on improved immunity and liver health has been researched and found it provides many health benefits because it is plentiful in potent antioxidants.
Also, black seed's effects on the immune system's natural killer cells—that fight infection and foreign particles—may reduce liver infection and cancerous tumor growth significantly due to black seed's effects on the health of our immune cells.
Coconut Oil: Often used in a variety of applications because of its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, coconut oil is an excellent immune-booster.
Plus, coconut oil contains highly bioavailable energy, along with lauric acid, an antifungal, which is known to prevent conditions like candida, fights bacteria, and creates an environment that minimizes the ability for viruses to thrive.
Flaxseed Oil: There are so many benefits of flaxseed oil on many systems within the body, including the immune system. The fibers and flax lignans contribute to the reduction of cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, as well as autoimmune and neurological disorders.
Hemp Oil: Multi-functional hemp oil varieties derived from the cannabis plant have garnered a lot of attention and are currently experiencing a brand transformation in mainstream society.
However, the benefits of the hemp plant are long observed by those who hail the benefits of CBD oil or infused pain-relieving ointments. Similar to black seed oil, hemp oil also helps to increase natural killer cells that ward of illness and disease.
Besides, the anti-inflammatory nature of CBD oil prevents toxins from spreading throughout the body and further supports the immune system.
Effects of Sleep on Immune Health
Sleep is the body's period of healing, growth, and regeneration. From muscle repair to the production or regeneration of brain tissue, rest is our body's time to refill our tank to achieve optimal performance the following day.
To provide the context of the importance of sleep: deprivation of needed rest can lead to a weakening of the immune system, due to a reduction in the body's ability to produce cytokines, leading to a possible increased susceptibility to colds and viruses.
Effects of Stress on Immune Health
Lately, it seems more and more challenging to find ways to manage stress. And increased stress, both internal and external, can, again, wreak havoc on our immune system.
Like is the case in sleep deprivation, chronic stress can have negative impacts on our health over time. Conditions like high blood pressure, overweight and obesity, and anxiety and depression, which can all act as comorbidities that may lead to more detrimental health conditions (e.g., type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, etc.)
A Few Ways to Reduce Stress and Improve Sleep
Again, finding creative ways to reduce stress and anxiety has become increasingly challenging. However, where there's a will, there are solutions to mitigate feelings of excessive worry.
Here are some ways to reduce stress and improve sleep, even if your only break is for three minutes on the toilet—alone—and you're barely getting four hours of sleep a night.
Ways to Reduce Stress:
- Listen to soothing music (even if with only one earbud inserted to make sure the kids aren't destroying the house)
- Write a gratitude journal to keep a balanced perspective of the challenges and victories in your life every day.
- Take slow, deep breaths. Or try other breathing exercises for anxiety relief and relaxation.
- We'd suggest taking a warm and soothing long bath but realize most of us are happy with a 5-minute lukewarm shower during these super-hectic times—do your best.
- Use guided memory and visualization during those random moments of calm and quiet and picture your goals, even if just for the day or hour.
Ways to Improve Sleep:
- Reduce Screen Time in the Evening: We know, we're all tethered to our devices: our iPads, smartphones, video consoles, TVs, desktops, et al., but putting the screens down leading up to bedtime can help you ease into a restful sleep.
- Sip Chamomile Tea: It may seem like such a more simple method for calming, but it works! Sip the tea warm or chilled, before bed, to relax your body and aid in a deeper sleep.
- Be Mindful: If you're not so tired that you just crash in a living room chair wearing the outfit you've worn all day, after putting the kiddos to bed, take some time to reflect on the day and consider creative and low-stress ways to improve tomorrow.
- Stay Active: Although chasing the kids around all day and managing life should count as legitimate exercise, try to engage in intentional workouts of at least 30 minutes, early in the day to boost energy and help with sleep in the evening.
Set Your Meal Plan to Autopilot and Focus on Macros and Micros with Ease
In addition to trying to figure out what to eat on keto, especially with all the many current adjustments we're all making in the state of our "new normal," whatever we can do to ease the load is an excellent option.
Everyone's body is different, and that is true for the best keto meal plan for women and men or those who seek to lose weight as opposed to others who want to lean out and gain muscle.
We know it's all a lot to consider, but we've got you covered! We've formulated a quick and simple quiz to determine the ideal customized keto meal plan that's best for you and your specific goals.
Take a few moments and answer our 30-second quiz, and immediately receive access to the best meal plan designed for you to achieve your goals while eating enjoyable and delicious foods that naturally help to boost the immune system.
No matter the state of the world and what humanity may face in terms of local or global health, maintaining a pristine immune system, eating the most nutrient-dense foods you can find, and remaining active and connected to loved ones is paramount—now more than ever before!
However, stressful times call for a little indulgence, and keto can make that a reality without compromising ketosis. Go ahead, savor that keto mac & cheese you can't stop thinking about, or gather your immediate family, at home, around a colossal platter of keto nachos and enjoy a memorable game night together.
Just make sure your food choices for you and your family are rich in ample amounts of micronutrients to do your best to keep everything balanced and your family well without worrying about perfection; we're all doing our best.
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