IMMUNITY BOOSTING FOODS AND HEALTHY DESSERT WITH @NUTRITIONISTELLA
MEET ELLA DAVAR
Ella Davar is a Registered Dietitian Integrative Nutritionist and a Certified Health Counselor. She works at Comite Center.
She specializes in integrative anti-aging nutrition and lifestyle intervention programs to help driven women and businessmen of all backgrounds manage weight, stress, diet, and various health conditions. In her Nutrition and Wellness programs, she helps her clients to find a balance between work and self-care to feel and look their best.
As an Integrative Nutritionist, her job is to translate nutrition science into practical advice.
Nowadays, when we are all working from home and confined in our apts, everyone is becoming increasingly aware of the importance of our immunity. With today's talk, Ella will empower you to take control over your health and to nourish your body in the most optimal way possible.
It is important to know how each of us can optimize our own health, especially metabolic health.
We all have heard that “You Are What You Eat” – this oversimplified statement is actually true, but there is a lot that goes on in our digestive tract and then on the cellular level that affects how we feel and look.
Ella will share with you the far-reaching impact and benefits that digestion has on the entire body.
Why is Digestion Important?
First of all 60-80% of our immune system is in our gut and is known as the Gut-Associated Lymphoid Tissue (a.k.a GALT) which is why it is critical to focus on nutrition.
Our gut has been referred to as “the 2nd brain” for a reason: The Enteric nervous system, ENS consists of 500 million neurons, an amount that is 5 times as many neurons found in the spinal cord. This complex working of neurons controls not only gut muscle functioning, enzyme secretion that fuels the digestive process, but It also influences our mood and the way we feel due to the fact 95% of serotonin is produced in the gut.
Research is demonstrating the important role of the gut microbiome and the microbe’s ability to communicate with the gut to influence emotions such as anxiety, pain, cognition, and mood.
Our microbiome (our gut bacteria and microbes) is critical regulators of the immune system, inflammation and proper digestion of complex starches and plants, vitamin & mineral absorption.
Let's talk about Food and what to Eat to Boost Immune Function. An Anti-Inflammatory Diet is considered to be the foundation of treatment from an integrative and functional nutrition approach. The main components are primarily plant-centered eating with limited intake of sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.
Here are Ella’s Top 6 Food recommendations today:
1. Eat Cruciferous vegetables every day! Green leafy type of vegetables such as kale, spinach, salad greens, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, swiss chard, arugula. The bioactive compound in cruciferous vegetable sulforaphane - (a well-studied compound in broccoli) have been found to lower inflammatory markers, support liver functioning, improve natural detoxification processes and improve some GI conditions by providing fiber for optimal digestion.
2. Antioxidant-rich colorful fruits, berries and vegetables are not only high in antioxidants, but rich in many vitamins & minerals, polyphenols, flavonoids which are associated with protection from oxidative stress, and multiple common conditions such as cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and even some types of cancers.
The best food sources are all types of berries. My favorites are blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, cherries, and cherry juice (which helps to reduce uric acid production).
All Citrus fruits, apples, red and purple grapes, Pomegranate, are rich in Resveratrol - polyphenol (red wine). And other colorful vegetables such as beets, tomatoes, bell peppers and carrots. (legumes, nuts and seeds, and dark chocolate.) Because these beneficial phyto-nutrients get cleared from the body quickly, it is important to consume plant foods daily for optimal health.
3. Omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats, are Essential Fats because the body can’t make them. Beneficial for autoimmune conditions, and critical for brain health and prevention of cognitive decline and depression.
Food sources: small fatty fish such as sardines, anchovies, mackerels, trout, and wild salmon.
Vegetarian sources include walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds.
Monounsaturated fats - EVOO, avocado, nuts.
4. Next recommendation is Probiotics, it is an important component of the anti-inflammatory diet that helps to optimize GI health and gut ecology aka microbiome. A balanced gut microbiome is the major “ingredient” required for proper digestion, it is intricately involved with immune competence and regulation of inflammation. There is mounting scientific evidence about the vital role that it plays in the process of digestion.
5. Herbs and spices the most anti-inflammatory herbs and spices include:
- Curcumin, a bioactive compound found in turmeric, has been shown to reduce markers of oxidative stress
- Ginger, supports digestion and GI motility, helps with constipation, and lowers the risk of developing GI issues.
- My favorite way to eat these two is by Combining them in Golden Latte made with plant-based milk and spices.
- Garlic - used for centuries, well studied for immune boosting effect, contains anti-inflammatory chemical Quercetin, a sulfur compound that stimulates the immune system to fight disease.
Other anti-inflammatory herbs include:
- Parsley, Cilantro
- Oregano, Thyme, Rosemary
- Chilli powder
- Mucilage Herbs beneficial for digestive health:
- Aloe vera, Licorice, Chia seeds
6. Last but not least Hydration! Water and herbal tea are the best choices to have- a well-studied Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) an antioxidant found in green tea and black tea is beneficial for energy production, metabolism, and prevention of heart-related conditions.
To summarize, Eat a rainbow of colorful real, whole fruits and vegetables, some healthy protein and fat. Do not eat too much, Focus on eating plants at every meal.
Watch her IGTV Video or follow instructions below for Ella's favorite antioxidant-rich, probiotic and protein-packed healthy breakfast, snack, or dessert:
•1/2 cup cranberries
•1 cup cherries
•1 cup blueberries
•1/2 cup raspberries
•1/2 lemon, juiced
•1-2 pieces of honey in the comb @passthehoney
•Optional: ginger juice
Note: The berries used in this recipe can be flexible depending on what you have available
For the base, I choose organic probiotic-rich Greek or Bulgarian plain yogurt topped with my Vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants rich healthy version of jam.
Put the yogurt in a glass bowl for a base, and then pour the berry concoction on it.
Optional toppings: chia, hemp or sunflower seeds, walnuts, and cacao nibs.
I recommend using organic, wild, fresh, or frozen berries. I choose to add honey in its original form - in the comb, which is the most optimal way to consume this natural sweetener, and in this particular recipe, it acts as a thickener and helps to achieve the desired consistency for my raw jam.