Food is Medicine

The human body is incredible. When given the proper building blocks, our bodies have the ability to fight infection, reverse chronic disease, prevent cancer, and more.

Nutrition is the key.

Too often, our food supply is devoid of any nutrition whatsoever. Most crops are grown in pesticide-laden soil, sprayed with harmful chemicals, and grown to maximize crop yield, rather than their nutrient content.

Conversely, locally-produced organic foods are packed with essential nutrients your body needs.

Here are a few of my favorite nutrients to support your immune system, reduce inflammation, and help your body thrive everyday:

Vitamin D rich foods

such salmon, tuna, egg yolks, and mushrooms

Did you know that low Vitamin D is associated with poor immune health, depression, and fatigue?

Wild caught salmon and tuna are great sources of Vitamin D, and they are packed with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, trace minerals, and more. Egg yolks supply a healthy dose of B12, Folate, and Vitamin A, while mushrooms are nutrient dense sources of many essential nutrients to support your immune system and fight infection.

How much vitamin D do I need? That depends on your baseline vitamin D level and other variables. At Integrate Internal Medicine, we check vitamin D levels each year to make sure you’re at an optimal level.

Vitamin C rich foods

such as citrus fruit, berries, broccoli, and bell peppers

We all can appreciate the importance of Vitamin C in terms of immune health.

Getting Vitamin C through your diet is best, but taking extra Vitamin C in the form of a supplement can also be helpful.

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin therefore your body flushes out what you don’t absorb. Taking a lower dose two or three times daily is preferred over a single larger dose each day.

Zinc rich foods

such as oysters, shellfish, poultry, and beans

Zinc is an essential mineral that plays a key role in supporting our immune system. It is used as a cofactor in hundreds of cellular reactions and is especially important in fighting infection.

Oysters and shellfish are great sources of Vitamin B12, Omega-3 fatty acids, Copper, and Manganese.

Eating shellfish 3-4 times per month is a great addition to a healthy diet.

Want seafood in Ketchum? This can be a little tricky, however there are many direct-to-consumer seafood retailers who ship seafood directly to your door. I’ve enjoyed this for the past couple of years. It’s a great way to increase your seafood intake while supporting natural fisheries.

Chaga mushrooms

You may not know much about Chaga Mushrooms, but these medicinal fungi have anti-cancer, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory properties. You can buy chaga mushrooms in bulk or purchase them as a powder.

Chaga tea is a delightful way to consume this wonder food. If you’re wondering what it tastes like, it’s a bit like chai tea, earthy, and balanced.

To make a cup of Chaga Tea, add 1-2 teaspoons of mushroom powder to a cup of hot water. I like to add a bit of lemon and local honey–it’s delicious!

Black cumin seed oil

Black cumin seed (Nigella sativa) has been used as a medicinal herb for centuries and it’s considered one of the most cherished nutrient-dense herbs in history.

As such, it has gained the attention of scientists around the world. There are now dozens of scientific studies trying to understand the mechanisms by which black cumin seed oil helps lower blood pressure, improve blood sugar levels, prevent Alzheimer’s disease, treat depression, reverse cancer and more.

Check out this article published in 2019, available through PubMed:

Black cumin seed oil can be purchased as a supplement online or at many health food stores. If you would like a recommendation, we’re happy help.

Fermented foods, Pre and Probiotics

Our gut-health is intimately connected to our immune system. Everyday, more research is supporting the importance of foods like fermented cabbage, kombucha, kefir, yogurt, etc.

You can purchase these amazing foods or even try making them at home!

We have recently started making our own sauerkraut. It’s surprisingly simple and it tastes amazing. Moreover, your gut bacteria will love it too!

Don’t forget to check out our local Farmers Market happening twice weekly! Every Tuesday at Lower River Run parking lot and every Saturday at Roberta McKercher Park in Hailey. Learn more at

Want to optimize your health through nutrition? Learn more about becoming a patient by clicking HERE.

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