How to Cook for Healthy Healing

Plant-based foods are the basis for healthy cooking.
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A typical Western diet is high in excess sugars, salts and fats; and it is often low in heart-healthy nutrients -- a scenario which can pack on the pounds, heighten inflammation and increase heart-disease risk. A highly sugared diet does little to help a cold and may exacerbate bacterial infections that can follow, including sinusitis. Cook for healthy healing by shifting your focus from highly processed convenience foods to plant-based foods and healthier cooking techniques.

Step 1

Buy pre-chopped fresh vegetables or rinse and chop them yourself. Seal them in a bag or container and store them in the refrigerator for quick, easy access. Include cruciferous produce, such as folate-rich broccoli, and a variety of pigmented vegetables including carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes and bell peppers to increase your levels of immune-enhancing vitamins A and C. Don't forget antioxidant-rich leafy greens such as kale and spinach -- good sources of antibody-boosting vitamin E.

Step 2

Stock your pantry with healing aromatics, herbs and spices. Onions, for example, contain a mix of sulfur, vitamins C and B and a host of flavonoids, which makes the vegetable a great antibacterial and antiviral remedy. Turmeric, a curry staple and a great way to season fish and lentils, contains curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory, artery-protective properties. Fennel, ginger and mint add intensity and flavor to your dishes while aiding digestion.

Step 3

Roast, bake or saute your food with a minimal amount of heart-healthy fats to help your body absorb important nutrients such as vitamins A, E, D and K. Olive oil is a good source of monounsaturated fatty acids, which can seal in flavor and keep your favorite dishes moist. Coconut oil has antibacterial, anti-fungal properties. It can balance out the pungent flavors in arugula and kale.

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