*For those who are new here, please note that you can click here and check the previous days. Also, this challenge is not a strict diet plan but a series of mini-challenges to establish healthy Mediterranean diet habits. I do include links and suggestions for recipes, if you want a menu plan you can go here for a 5-day mix and match plan. For a longer comprehensive 14-day plan along with 100 recipes you can consider my new book.
Welcome to Day 15 and Happy Monday!!
Today it’s all about immunity. We all want a strong immune system, especially now! Our immune system is influenced by many factors, including food. Research shows that a single nutrient is not what makes our body stronger, but a combination of nutrients and eating patterns. The Mediterranean diet in its entirety offers the ideal combination for building a strong immune system. Let’s see some of the nutrients and foods that are involved.
Immune Boosting Foods and Nutrients
Known as a vitamin but also as an antioxidant, there is evidence that it can help the immune system when under stress. In the Mediterranean diet, citrus fruit are typically consumed in the winter months and are a main source of antioxidants.
Sources: citrus fruit (including lemon), peppers, tomatoes, potatoes cauliflower.
Zinc is a mineral that plays a role in the production of immune cells. A deficiency of zinc will affect your immune system.
Sources: beans (garbanzo, split-pea, lentils, peas), nuts, tahini, eggs
Studies have shown that probiotics have a beneficial effect on the immune system.
Sources: yogurt, kefir, sourdough bread, olives (not cured with lye).
Phytochemicals and compounds in onions and garlic
Both of these contain compounds and phytochemicals that have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and antibacterial properties.
It is a substance found in cruciferous vegetables and has inflammatory and anti-viral properties.
Sources: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts
Provides protection from getting sick in the first place but also reducing the severity of infection. Research has shown that individuals with low vitamin D levels may be more susceptible to upper respiratory tract infections.
Sources: eggs, fatty fish, mushrooms
In addition to that, have a meatless Monday and consume 2 herbal teas. Below I have included a menu rich in immune boosting nutrients that is also meatless.
One-Day Mediterranean Immune Boosting Menu
Breakfast: ½ cup yogurt sprinkled with sunflower seeds or other nuts + 1 tsp honey and 2 mandarins or 1 orange
Dinner: Greek Omelet with Feta Cheese and Fresh Mint* + leftover cabbage salad or leafy green salad or cooked greens. You may accompany with a slice of whole grain bread.
Snack: carrots and red bell pepper sticks with Lentil Dip with Tahini and Lemon*.
*Click on the green links for recipe
*If you like please share your accomplishments, suggestions, tips, experiences on the site in the comments or on social media , I’ll be using the hashtag #21daymeddiet. You can find me at @greekdiet on instagram and at facebook.com/OliveTomato on facebook.
Looking forward to connecting with you. If you have questions or concerns please let me know!
See you tomorrow!