#5 What Is the Quality of Your Fuel?
We hear almost everyone rattle on about eating fresh fruit and vegetables all day long, and you’ll hear it at least one more time – they are so important!! Cooking with fresh produce will give you way more bang for your buck with an increased amount of vitamins and minerals (not to mention the satisfaction of cooking your own meals). The slight caveat with fresh produce is that there can be a lot of pesticides, herbicides and everything in between that can be put on crops to help them grow. The bad side of this is that they also affect us by the residues that are left on the food.
I do recommend that people buy as much organic produce as possible but I also understand that organic produce is more expensive. Something that the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in America have done is create lists: Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen. These lists help to identify the top 12 foods that have the most pesticide residues on them and the top 15 that have the least amount of residues.
Here are the lists:
So, the guide here is to aim for organic produce that are on The Dirty Dozen list at the bare minimum to help reduce your intake of chemicals.
To be honest, the best kinds of foods that we can be eating to help support our immune health and general health and wellbeing are wholefoods, as organic as possible and local produce where possible. Takeaway foods can be a nice treat but more often than not, they are filled with excess salt, trans fats, additives and all sorts and on average are not very nutrient dense.
Therefore, my general top tips for getting the most out of your food is
- Preparing meals at home
- Cooking with lots of fresh produce and wholefoods
- Organic produce where possible
#6 Hygiene, Hygiene and Oh, Did I Mention Hygiene?
Having good hygiene habits is pretty much a given to strengthening your immune system. The most important thing is to make sure you are regularly washing your hands with plenty of soap. Here is a handy link (see what I did there) on the basics of hand hygiene from SA Health: click here
This doesn’t mean you have to go crazy, it’s just common sense. If you take out a bag of rubbish do you wash your hands? If you answered no to this question then you definitely need to read the previous link.
Keeping your house clean and tidy also helps! Just be aware that a lot of commercial cleaning products have harmful chemicals in them which can have a negative impact on your immune system. So just make sure you are looking into the products you are using and ensuring they are safe ingredients and as natural as possible. If you need help with this let me know or there is a great book called The Chemical Maze (click on the link to learn more), which is awesome at providing information on a whole range of ingredients in all sorts of products from foods to cleaning products.
The most obvious one is that if you are feeling unwell or your friends and family are, just reschedule your plans and save them for when you are both feeling better because the last thing you want to do is either pass on or give them the bugs either one of you are growing.
Part 4 is not far away where we start getting into specific nutrients you should be on the lookout for!