How to Beat Illness by Improving Your Diet
Strengthening your immune system in the winter months to ward off unwelcome coughs, cold and the flu can be improved by making simple life changes, such as modifying your diet.
Coffee, cola and tea all contain caffeine. Caffeine is a diuretic that contributes to the body's loss of important nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Caffeine places stress on the adrenal glands (already stressed out from our hectic lifestyles) and adversely affects the nervous system, resulting in anxiety, hyperactivity, and insomnia.
Healing occurs when the body is relaxed and it's energy can be channeled inward. Regular consumption of caffeine deprives the body of this relaxed state.
Helpful Tip - Try milder forms of caffeine such as green tea, or try the various caffeine-free coffee substitutes. Mix them with your coffee to gradually reduce your caffeine dependence.
Foods such as fresh fruit, vegetable, whole grains and protein rich foods all help cleanse the body of toxins and provide vitamins and minerals that are all known to protect the body against diseases.
Vitamin C – is an antioxidant vitamin, which aids healthy teeth, gums and blood vessels. It also improves iron absorption and resistance to infection. Vitamin C is found in fruit and vegetables.
Protein - Accounts for 10% to 20% of the calories consumed each day. Protein is essential to the structure of red blood cells, for the proper functioning of antibodies resisting infection, for the regulation of enzymes and hormones, for growth, and for the repair of body tissue. Meat, milk, cheese, and egg are complete proteins that have all the essential amino acids. Sources of protein include whole grains, rice, corn, beans, legumes, oatmeal, peas and peanut butter. For vegetarians, vegans and/or those who do not eat meat, fish, eggs, or dairy products, it is important to eat a variety of these other foods in order to get enough protein.
Zinc – needed for cell reproduction, tissue growth and repair. Zinc is found in meat, seafood, and liver, eggs, milk, whole-grain products.
Helpful Tip - Food that isn't fresh is often processed to prolong shelf life — great for the supermarket shelf life but maybe not the best thing for optimum health.
Iron - plays an important role in the immune system, people with low iron levels have a lowered resistance to infection.
Helpful Tip - Iron deficiency can lead to anaemia. Symptoms of anaemia include tiredness, lack of stamina, breathlessness, headaches, insomnia and loss of appetite.
Vitamin E - Vitamin E stimulates the production of natural killer cells, those that seek out and destroy germs and cancer cells.
Vitamin D - Without vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, or mis-shapen. Sunshine is a significant source of vitamin D.
Specific foods which boost the immune system.
Garlic - is a powerful immune booster that stimulates the multiplication of infection-fighting white cells.
Omega 3 acids - The omega 3 fatty acids in flax oil and fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel) act as immune boosters. One way to get more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet is to add one to three teaspoons of flax oil to a fruit and yogurt smoothie or spread over a green leaf salad.
Selenium – found in lobster, shrimp, wholegrain, brown rice, egg yolks, cottage cheese, chicken, and garlic.
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