Recently a friend and I were chatting about her concern for her husband's health. He was recently diagnosed with COPD as well as a non life threatening lung disease and his immune system needs a boost as he catches every cold, sniffle, and bug going and few others besides. Here is a quick immune booster diet simply based on food choices and increasing your fresh, organic fruit and vegetables and add a little exercise. It really is a lot easier than many people think to include at least 10 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables in your daily diet. Help your body fight the disease-causing free radicals in your body simply by making wise every day good food choices.
Definition of a "free radical"
An atom or group of atoms that has at least one unpaired electron and so unstable and highly reactive. In animal tissues, free radicals can damage cells and are believed to accelerate the progression of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and age-related diseases.
Daily Immune System Care
Here's how to have a minimum of ten servings of raw fruit and vegetables daily
- At each meal include a piece of fruit. For example, at breakfast have berries or fresh fruit on cereal or banana and peanut butter on toast
- For lunch or dinner as an alternative have carrot sticks or vegetable of your choice
- Have two snacks a day and at each have a piece of fruit. Ideas : (a) an apple with white cheese. (b) Fresh diced fruit with Greek or plain yoghurt. (c) A cup of hot or cold green tea with fresh slices of lemon (2 x fruit)
- If your daily veggie count is down for the day, try a cup of vegetable juice. An easy favourite is 3 medium carrots, one apple, one red pepper and a clove of garlic (5 x vegetables). It is important to eat whole fruit, etc to obtain daily fiber of 25 to 35 grams per day
- At lunch and dinner enjoy a salad e.g coleslaw, tossed greens, chopped vegetables (cucumbers, tomatoes, cauliflower and add a small amount of peas) (2 plus x vegetables)
- Drink 4 cups of water each day with the juice of one lemon (1 x fruit - a bonus)
It's important your daily choices are high antioxidant or brightly coloured fruits and vegetables
- Fruits : all the berries such as blackberries, raspberries, blueberries; red grapes, pomegranates, mangoes, pineapples, kiwi
- Vegetables : red and yellow peppers, greens, kale, broccoli and cabbage, tomatoes, dark green leafy vegetables. Remember to include fresh garlic and herbs such as parsley
- A good multivitamin. This was recommended to me by B.C. Cancer Agency oncologist
- Clove of fresh garlic per day or garlic capsules (when travelling)
Check with your doctor or oncologist for recommendations. Also try to :
In addition to changing your diet, it is good to try to walk each day. Whatever you are able to accomplish up to half an hour each day. Anything is better than nothing and on days when restricted by pain try to “walk through it”. Swimming and gardening are excellent forms of exercise also.
Take a break
Plan your day so that busy, energetic activities are in the morning and take it easy in the afternoon. Yes that includes a short nap as long as it does not affect your night-time sleep
"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter."
These suggestions are all relatively easy to carry out at any age or stage, and if you feel you need a short-term additional booster there are some excellent drink supplements for those days you need to reach your quota of fruits and vegetables. Try for a plant based nutritional powder protein supplement, delicious mixed with hot or cold milk, and is a blend of protein, fiber, essential vitamins and minerals including folate and selenium. The suggested amount supplies about half of a person's daily regular requirements and importantly for some is also easy to digest.
As more and more studies on the connection between food, diet and disease are being conducted it is becoming more clear of how important what you eat can be in maintaining the best health to help fight disease. Prevention really is much more fun than the cure!
There you have it! Enjoy trying new foods and finding healthy favourites!
"The shortest distance between two people is a smile."
- It's important to remember that fresh organic fruit and vegetables have enzymes and many other nutritional benefits over taking synthetic supplements, for example allicin is in fresh garlic but not in synthetic supplements
- Caution: As previously mentioned in CAP studies have shown that megadoses of antioxidant supplements may be harmful. Obtain your antioxidants by eating fresh, chemical free, colourful fruit and vegetables usually without harmful side effects
- It's the antioxidant fruits and vegetables which help fight disease - the fruit and vegetables above are all high antioxidant so try for fresh organic produce at every meal - as much as one half
- Add turmeric powder to your soups, curries, stews and if you like the taste to your daily juice
- Many commercial salad dressings besides containing lots of additives can have high fat, sugars and salts so remember to go easy on the salad dressings. A small amount of olive oil and balsamic vinegar with fresh chopped herbs is a light way to go
- As much as possible avoid highly processed foods and those with large number of ingredients. Whats in your food? Please Read the Label
- Other recommended food choices if they are not in your current diet are fresh fish, walnuts and sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, beans, salads, etc.
- As colds and the like occur more often to those of us who are undergoing treatment or just simply wear and tear as we age. If you feel a cold coming on, try an Echinacea based syrup
Links & References
- Juice a great way to get lots of antioxidants at one time
- Turmeric for inflammation
- Wild blackberries - my favourite berry
- Kiwi nutrition
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - COPD
- More information on label reading
Always check with your health specialist
before making major changes to your lifestyle or diet
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