Seven Tips to Boost Your Health and Manage Weight in 2021
by Ginny Dent Brant
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we’re all looking for ways to boost our immune system and shed extra pounds. As we begin 2021, it’s time to pay special attention to what we eat and drink. What we consume matters. The comfort foods that we gorged on during our quarantine such as chips, sweets, soft drinks, and fast food did not favor our waist or our immune system. These highly processed foods are generally high in calories but low in nutrients. What our bodies and souls really need are foods high in nutrients and low in calories.
There are foods that suppress our immune system and foods that boost our immune system. Foods that are high in gluten, fried, highly processed, laden with sugar, and foods that create an allergic reaction in your body suppress your immune system. It’s no surprise that these foods are also high in calories and cause inflammation in our bodies.
It’s important to keep our weight under control because obesity is an underlying risk factor for COVID-19, cancer, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and many other diseases. Maintaining a healthy weight allows our body to reduce the risk of chronic diseases associated with being overweight and allows our body to work as God created it.
In Genesis 1:29, God tells Adam and Eve about the foods He’s provided for them to eat. What are they? Plants with seeds. These plants include vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, and herbs. They contain phytochemicals and antioxidants which fight disease. They also contain vitamins and minerals which enhance our immune system, regulate body functions, and provide fiber to feed the probiotic bacteria in our gut. Considering that 70 percent of our immune system is contained in our gut, nourishing this lining properly is key to boosting our immune system.
Scientists can now tell us every type of phytochemical and antioxidant contained in each plant. These plant chemicals reduce inflammation, prevent and fight cancer, protect our DNA, and increase immune function. The plants God created all promote healing in our bodies.
Let’s look at the dietary tips that boost our immune systems while helping us to shed those extra pounds gained during this pandemic.
Eat whole foods from nature.
There’s no better prescription for good health than eating the nutritious foods or plants God created. It’s best to eat them fresh or frozen. Avoid canned and processed foods with diminished nutrients.
Avoid soft drinks, excessive caffeine, and high sugar drinks.
These drinks add numerous calories with no nutritional benefit. They can also increase your appetite and spike blood sugar. When your blood sugar is too high or too low, your immune system weakens. Instead drink caffeine-free herbal teas, water with lemon or lime, and limit caffeine to one cup in the morning hours.
Choose healthy fats.
Fats are essential because they support many of our body’s functions. For example, our brain needs good fats to coat the myelin sheath and nerve cells, and our body needs fats to absorb vitamins and minerals. According to the Mayo Clinic, we need to eat monosaturated fats such as avocados, almonds, cashews, pecans and oils such as olive oil and polyunsaturated fats such as salmon, tuna, eggs, sunflower seeds and walnut oil. Although needed, fats should be used in moderation.
Eat 10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
The average American eats only two to three vegetables and fruits daily. Unfortunately, many of us consider French fries to be a healthy vegetable. Think again! According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s My Plate, half of your plate each meal should be comprised of vegetables and fruits. For this reason, many nutritionists recommend eating 7 vegetables and 3 fruits each daily. Those with blood sugar issues need to stick with low carb fruits such as blueberries, lemons, limes, and green apples. It’s also best to eat a variety of these gifts of nature.
Vary your sources of protein.
Animal sources of protein three times a day used to be a daily habit for me. No more. These sources of protein are hard to digest. A turkey sandwich is now a lush green salad layered with nuts, fruit, and raw vegetables. Include nuts, seeds, quinoa, eggs, and other plant-based sources of protein in your diet. Approximately sixty-five percent of our body’s energy is used to digest food. By varying the sources with easier to digest options, more of our energy can go towards healing and repairing.
Practice intermittent fasting.
Fasting has been practiced since the beginning of time. Intermittent fasting is when you refrain from eating for 12 to 18 hours and only drink water. A 16-hour intermittent fast means you eat dinner at 6 pm and you don’t eat again until 10 am the next day. Intermittent fasting promotes weight loss, enhances blood sugar control, improves cognitive function, strengthens immune response, inhibits cancer cells and aging, and stimulates autophagy—the body’s natural mechanism of repairing and removing damaged cells. Fasting provides amazing benefits with no cost!
Every cell and system in our body requires plentiful water to function properly. The mucus in our respiratory system provides a crucial barrier against infections, viruses and flus and is empowered by water. Half your body weight in fluid ounces daily is your minimal goal. Water is a 100% calorie-free elixir that enhances your immune system, helps you burn more calories, and may suppress your appetite if consumed before meals.
When God created plants for us to eat, He created them with healing properties. The scientific evidence is clear that the more plants we eat the less diseases we will have. Daniel fared better when he refused to eat the king’s food and instead ate plants and drank water. When we hydrate properly and eat whole foods that are high in nutrients and low in calories, we can boost our health and manage our weight. And our immune system will be armed for battle. Even during this pandemic, we can fare better like Daniel.
Ginny Dent Brant is a counselor, educator, speaker, and wellness advocate. Her recent book, Unleash Your God-Given Healing: Eight Steps to Prevent and Survive Cancer, was written after her journey with an aggressive breast cancer. Written with commentary and a foreword from an oncologist and medical researcher, her book won a Golden Scrolls Award and was featured on many media outlets including CBN News. Ginny has a cancer prevention and wellness blog at www.ginnybrant.com.
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