Currently we’re all nested in our homes across the globe, attempting to stay healthy and reduce the spread of the Coronavirus. Taking care of ourselves while staying home is one of the most selfless things we can do for the world right now. Here we’ve put together some ways to do this, using food to optimize our immune systems and personal health.

There are so many natural & healing health benefits that Mother Earth’s seasonal bounty in South Santa Cruz County can provide us when we practice the basics of eating mindfully. Nourishing produce can be found all around this area, at farmer’s markets, in CSA boxes, in grocery stores, and through delivery services. If you think about it, when you get your essential vitamins and minerals through the food you eat anyways, it’s like a 2 for 1 deal. And I mean come on…who doesn’t like a good BOGO deal?? Giving mindful eating a try can end up saving you money down the road and offer health benefits that will keep you feeling good!

Seasonal Eating

Live Earth Farm’s Harvest Schedule is a great resource that can give you insight to what is being grown seasonally and can be most likely be found in their CSA boxes during each month.

Spring Season:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Arugula
  • Basil
  • Beets
  • Bok choi
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower/Romanesco
  • Chard, Collards, Kale
  • Fava beans
  • Green garlic
  • Chives, Cilantro, Parsley
  • Leeks
  • Lettuces
  • Radishes
  • Rutabaga
  • Spinach
  • Turnips

To really reap these healing benefits that come with eating fresh and seasonally, tap into how you best practice mindful eating. This looks different for everyone so it will take having patience and getting creative.

“In essence, mindful eating means being fully attentive to your food—as you buy, prepare, serve, and consume it”, as described by Harvard Health Publishing.

This can look like:

  • A thoughtful shopping list; what purpose do you want your next meal to have? (boost your immune with lots of vitamins, reset your gut with probiotics, etc.)
  • Eat when your body needs it. Try to find balance between feeling starving and overly full.
  • Start small à work your way to feeling full. And it’s okay if that means your plate is empty and you went for more!
  • Drink water with meals. Our bodies can confuse thirst with hunger.
  • Bring gratitude to the table.
  • Use all of your senses! Smell, taste, feel, look at & even listen to the food while it’s cooking to gain a different perspective and sense of appreciation.
  • Small bites help us eat intentionally.
  • Chew each bite completely to release all flavors.

The practices above suggested by Harvard Heath for mindful eating will slow down overall intake of food and allow insight to what meals you enjoy completely, from grocery shopping to the last bite.

Immune Boosters

Food is medicine. When it is consumed mindfully it can be preventative as well as healing. What you eat will impact how you operate, from the inside out. Considering the rainbow when choosing groceries and preparing meals can make a noticeable difference in your overall functioning.

Did you know that stress lowers your immune system? Another great article by Harvard Health explains the connection between stress and immune functions. It’s not hard in today’s circumstances to feel anxious or stressed out about the unknowns that may lie ahead. Routines give us stability and help us prioritize our day, putting our necessities first. And now that those are all messed up…what day is it again??

Create a new routine that includes all of the local resources around you, fueling your body and supporting strong immune health. Santa Cruz and Monterey are both areas that offer a variety of fresh veggies and fruits loaded with all the immune boosters our bodies need, including Beta Carotene, Vitamins C, D, & E, and Zinc.

Immune Boosting Foods:

  • Citrus fruits (including Oranges, Grapefruits, Lemons, Limes)
  • Nuts & seeds (almonds)
  • Sprouts
  • Kiwi
  • Mango
  • Strawberry
  • Sweet potato
  • Carrot
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Red bell pepper
  • Raw honey
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Tumeric

Eating the rainbow is a great practice for boosting immune health, an important tactic in the overall prevention of illness. Although, this is only one piece to the puzzle! For best results in preventing the spread of the virus, CDC and WHO have recommended general practices, which you can find listed in our blog, Kids, Health & COVID-19: Tips and Info. In addition to our post, the WHO has made further recommendations for wearing masks that can be found here.