Your Immunity Program – Immunity Nutritional Tips
“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well,” observed Virginia Woolf. It might be added one cannot dine well without dining on the right foods. Here’s how to make the most of what comes out of your kitchen and goes into your mouth.
- The power of two: Before you splash into your first bowl of soup for the day, clean your system. Put the juice of two lemons in a small pitcher of water. Sip this throughout the day. Or get your immune-boosting antioxidants from two cups of (organic) green tea daily or two cups of Rooiboos (it’s red, it’s robust, it’s South African high-powered nutritional bush).
- Super cinnamon: Keep a shaker of cinnamon table-ready. Add to fruit and other sweet soups, or dust croutons for fruit soups. Cinnamon contains antimicrobial compounds that inhibit bacteria and viruses. A half teaspoon of cinnamon daily (in or out of your soup bowl) helps the body use insulin more efficiently and cuts blood sugar levels by up to 30 percent.
- Zest your way to a happier gut: Keep that rind you peeled off your next orange, tangerine, or tangelo. It’s a good source of probiotics, a kind of carbohydrate that feeds the good bacteria in your intestinal tract, helping prevent the growth of gastrointestinal pathogens. Use the zest atop spicy soups, in muffins, and with crackers.
- Spoon up to maximize your vitamin E: Taking your daily vitamin E supplement with your daily mug of minestrone or consommé ensures that you get your supplement’s worth. Vitamin E is absorbed more efficiently and retained at higher levels, studies show, when taken with a meal-like soup, rather than without. Another key to better absorption: take natural vitamin E—look for d-tocopherol, rather than dl-tocopherol (synthetic) on the label.
- A cupful of tea keeps the cardiologist away: Studies show that regular consumption of black tea may reduce your risk of heart disease by half. The secret ingredient is catechins, a be-kind-to-yourcardio-system chemical found in all teas but especially in black varieties. Another way to capitalize on catechins: be on the watch for recipes where tea will work as well as the water that’s called for.
- Oil up for antioxidants: For add-on antioxidants, add a few drops of cold-pressed vegetable or nut oil to your bowl before serving up. This increases your absorption of antioxidants, especially beta-carotene, which is poorly absorbed without fat.
- Spice up for super immunity: Keep a shaker of the curry spice turmeric next to the salt and pepper. Turmeric is more than a must for curry. It’s preventive medicine with anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties. Add a dash to any soup that begs for a little bite.
- Super immunity your garlic: After chopping or mashing garlic, let it rest a few minutes—this pause is said to increase garlic’s infection-fighting properties.
- Strawberry is for C: Did you know that one extra strawberry a day is what you need to get the extra 15 milligrams of vitamin C now recommended by the National Academy of Sciences? Of course, more is even better. Keep a bowl of tomato soup in the fridge to get a megadose of water-soluble C in each spoonful.
- Zinc without meat: Are you a tofu-totaler? Don’t forget an occasional 30-milligram capsule of zinc, an important immune enhancer that vegetarians are often short on. But more isn’t more. Amounts greater than 100 milligrams can actually depress immunity. Besides animal products where that zinc is accompanied by saturated fat, arachidonic acid, and traces of hormones and pesticides, zinc is found in whole grains, seeds, nuts, and vegetables like peas, mushrooms, and sea vegetables.
- Block that buzz: House blends at high-end coffee shops like Starbuck’s have up to 50 percent more caffeine than other java stops. In fact, don’t drink coffee or tea with that mineral-rich lunchtime soup. Both contain tannin, which reduces iron absorption by up to 94 percent. This includes some herbal teas like peppermint, which also interferes with iron uptake.
- Do the flax grind: Keep a pepper grinder on the table filled with flaxseeds to add extra omega-3s to meals (refrigerate between meals).