Posted on Jun 03, 2013 by Vivienne Bartle
Your Food Prescription
Winter is upon us, so let’s look at ways we can charge our immunity. Colds and flu symptoms have already struck a number of clients and associates, and yet having strong immunity can be as easy as filling the fridge and pantry with anti-oxidant boosting foods – so what is YOUR FOOD PRESCRIPTION?
When you look at your food what do you see?
Do you see lots of vibrant colours in your food or is it a bland yellow colour?
Our immune system is reliant on many factors particularly the vast array of phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals which become the building blocks for a healthy immunity. Did you realise that 70% of our immune system is in our digestive system? If you only focussed on one thing, then focus on having a super efficient digestive system and coughs and colds will be a thing of the past.
What attacks the immune system in the digestive tract?
Our digestive system has been called “The Second Brain” because it directly or indirectly controls everything that happens in our body. How we digest our food, and how efficient our stomach acid and digestive enzymes are, will have a big influence on whether we overtax a heavily burdened liver, and whether we register inflammatory processes along the way.
Our #1 Enemy of the digestive tract is SUGAR! It sets off such a huge inflammatory response that puts all systems on alert.
#2 Is STRESS! Stress causes us to reach for the sugar to give us a “high” to make us feel better.
#3 Is HYDRATION! If we dehydrate ourselves, our genetic response is to go into survival mode, and once in survival mode our histamine levels elevate which further exacerbates the inflammatory processes.
And the cycle continues until we eventually have to do something about it because the pain in the stomach, muscles and joints become so uncomfortable, or the allergy/asthma or inflammatory conditions flares to a new time high, or overworked, our immune system slows to such a pace as to allow bacteria and virus’s to take hold.
Now of course this is an over-simplification as the exact processes are quite complex and varied, but you will get the picture. Every time you have an immune reaction (overactive or underactive) take a mental check to how your diet and/or lifestyle choices could of contributed.
What are Some Simple Things We Can Do?
Let’s look at some simple food choices we can make to build good immunity……..
PROTEIN – protein is a building block for many of the immune system’s key players like antibodies and white blood cells – also protein foods are a great source of zinc, iron and B vitamins all essential for strong immune function
Sources: – chicken without skin, soybeans, white fish, vegetable patties (legumes + grains) cottage cheese, yoghurt, turkey, lamb, sprouts (when eaten within the first 18 hours) etc
NUTS & SEEDS
Due to high levels of zinc – grab a handful of nuts between meals instead of the sugar fix. Nuts and seeds also have appreciable amounts of protein and fats which slows the release of sugar into the system
Nuts such as brazil nuts, almonds, hazelnuts and pecans are also a source of the antioxidant selenium – when low on selenium, our white blood cells are slower to kill off microbes. In addition selenium protects cells from free-radical damage – other sources of selenium are: – liver, apple cider vinegar, scallops, a range of vegetables and mushrooms
YOGHURT WITH ACTIVE CULTURES
With about 70% of our body’s immune cells residing in the gut, a healthy gut leads to healthy immune system. Live cultures found in certain yoghurts work by populating our GI tract with friendly and good bacteria fighting off the bad bugs – it’s a bit like a neighbourhood watch programme in your local area.
But beware, not all yoghurts are the same. If you are healthy then yes, a yoghurt may help, just do not choose a yoghurt with fruit added – add your own fruit at the time of serving. Yoghurts generally only contain Lactobacillus acidophilus and/or Bifidobacterium lactis. If showing digestive dysfunction then maybe a stronger dose of a broad spectrum probiotic may be required – one that needs to be kept in the fridge so you can guarantee you are getting the dosage on the label, but if you already have the below issues, specific probiotics are recommended.
- Restoring gut flora in the small intestine – Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM
- Restoring gut flora in the large intestine – Bifidobacterium lactis
- Dysbiosis & Diarrhoea (and while on antibiotics) – Saccharomyces boulardii
- Mucosal inflammation and IBS (autoimmune) – Lactobacillus plantarum 299v
- Infections and Allergies – Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001
- Gut Immunity & Allergies – Bifidobacterium lactis HN019
- Skin Health – Eczema, Acne, Psoriasis etc – Lactobacillus rhamnosus LGG
TEA – Japanese have lower rates of many diseases including cancer and this may be due to drinking so much green tea – a major storehouse for immunity-boosting compounds – tea drinkers immune cells respond 5 times faster than the coffee drinkers – 2 cups a day for ongoing health – more if not feeling well. Just a warning, some scientists are now saying not to have abundant cups of green tea so mix it with other herbal teas for some great immune-boosting properties
GARLIC – A definite friend of the immune system especially when eaten raw. It’s an edible antibiotic, with strong antibacterial properties which also fights viruses, its sulphur compounds are rich in antioxidants. Add it to as many of your lightly cooked food choices such as stews, stir-frys, casseroles etc. A super-immunity drink I like to take coming into every winter period is the garlic and lemon drink:
Drink a liqueur glassful (30ml) of the extract of about 30 cloves of garlic (peeled) and 5 diced, fresh lemons (not peeled).
- Mince these in the food processor and bring to the boil in 1 litre of water and immediately remove from the heat.
- Strain, let it cool and bottle it. Keep in a cool place. The daily dose of one liqueur glassful (30ml) may be taken either before or after the main meal of the day.
After having enjoyed this daily intake for 3 weeks, you will already notice a youthfully comfortable regeneration of your whole body. It has also been know to disolve plaque. The plaque deposits, and their side effects, on sight and hearing, for example, will diminish and start to vanish altogether. After following this course of treatment for 3 weeks, one should have a break of 8 days, then the second 3 weeks’ treatment may be started: it becomes obvious that the treatment has been a resounding success.
This cheap, safe and therapeutic course of treatment should be repeated once a year. Nobody will notice any unpleasant smell of garlic. The curative powers of garlic and lemons come completely into their own.
People with arteriosclerosis can sleep again no more running around at night. The plaques have been dissolved completely. One lady was able to avoid heart surgery that had been planned for her, because the cholesterol and plaques had dissolved. The garlic “elixir” has also proven effective in the case of dental decay.
If I require antibiotics, I will use this instead (only if you feel safe enough to do so depending on your condition, and doctors recommendations). I have a good relationship with my doctor that I don’t take drugs of any sort, unless needed because I have a life threatening condition.
How I take it instead of antibiotics:
100mls of the elixir in a glass of hot water with some Manuka Honey. I take this every 4 hours for a maximum of 2 days. By then all bugs are destroyed.
A RAINBOW OF FRUIT AND VEGETABLES
Brightly coloured fresh fruit and vegetables essential for their antioxidant compounds. I take a wholefood supplement called Juice Plus+ as well (full of fruit, vegetables, fibre) in double doses if needed. The key is to have a variety of colours in your food – don’t just stick to the same apples & bananas, the stronger the colour the more nutrient dense it is, the bigger the range of colors (think of a rainbow) the more nutrition you will be eating.
I hope this has been beneficial for you, good luck staying healthy over winter