Our resident nutritionist Rhaya Jordan on the best foods to eat now.
As we adjust to life during our first large pandemic in over 100 years, our thoughts turn to strengthening our health and that of our loved ones.
Rather than trying to choose the most “potent” antiviral foods, most of which is nonsense, think more in terms of a cobweb.
By this I mean a combination of fresh fruits and vegetables, ancient grains and for some, grass-fed meat, which work together in a complex network of nutrition to strengthen your body, build your gut health and keep your immune system resilient.
It is ironic that most of the panic buying left supermarkets bare of processed food, leaving fruits and vegetables behind on the shelves when perhaps these fresh ingredients are what we should be reaching for – eating local seasonal foods grown on clean fertile soils nourishes your system and builds deep health.
So it is the overall pattern of eating fresh food and getting enough sleep (as well as resting your mind from thousands of fear-mongering news articles) that will keep you healthy and strong during lockdown, not a single “wonder-food”.
That said, there are some ways of eating in particular that are more focused on immune strength that you might want to include in your meals.
cook with aromatics
Herbs and spices such as rosemary, thyme, garlic, ginger and chilli are all delicious and rich in aromatic properties that are great for your gut, help build resilience and immunity and contain potent antioxidants.
Combine these ingredients with a good olive oil, itself a potent health food, to draw out their essential oils and make versatile salad dressings and marinades.
Make use of mushrooms
Even the most basic, everyday mushroom varieties can have a beneficial effect on your immune system.
Supplements can also offer the benefits of mushrooms in a more potent form, but do not overlook a simple dish of mushroom sautéed with garlic and thyme!
choose BRIGHT COLOURS
Anyone who has done a wellness workshop with me will have heard me talking about bright pigments in food and how they are a great shorthand way of “seeing” antioxidants. Deep purple blueberries, greenish-black kale, bright scarlet pomegranates, now is the time to eat the rainbow (and it just so happens to have become a symbol of hope during the pandemic).
Rainbows are a great way of appealing to children and getting them interested in their food too – let them help make a rainbow fruit salad or organise a meal by making a colour wheel.
Make a ferment at home
This is so easy and fun especially with children – who might be brave enough to taste sauerkraut if they have made it themselves!
A well-made natural yoghurt is perhaps one of the easiest ferments to include in your diet and blueberry kefir is a delicious treat.
As always, the most potent things we can do to strengthen our health during this time are the most fundamental. Plenty of rest, plenty of fresh water, a walk somewhere green, and plenty of fresh food. Daylesford’s organic Market Garden in the Cotswolds is bursting into spring, nature is not stopping because of the pandemic, so our farmshops will still be filled with beautiful produce.
If you would like to visit us in person for supplies we have procedures in place to keep you safe.