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Colds and flu – how to boost your immune system with Supereating.

I started this blog a year ago, with some trepidation, as I was unsure if anyone would read it. I needn’t have worried as in one year 55,681 people have read the blog which is very pleasing.

blogI can see how many times a particular blog has been read, and despite  weight loss being the most common reason why many people choose to make changes to their diets, its seems that the concept of Supereating is almost as popular as a topic.

Supereating is brand new way of eating that maximises the nutrients in food by pairing foods that complement one another. Nutrients work as team players, never in isolation,and some nutrients encourage the action of others whilst some hinder.

This week we are told that record numbers of people are suffering with colds and flu ( a nine year high in fact ) should one feed a cold, starve a fever? Last week, findings published in the Journal of Nutrition suggested that the contrary to the old adage starve a fever, those with fever should actually ensure that they eat too. But what should you eat? Can Supereating help? I would say this, but the answer is ‘yes’. The immune system is reliant upon many factors, not least nutrients, and there is a direct link between being run down, or under-fed, and the efficient workings of the body’s defences.

All nutrients play a role in the immune system, but here is a list of those that I consider to be vital, a quick description of what they do, and lastly, a typical days eating that combines the nutrients in food, maximising those that work together.

Vitamin A

Involved with antibody production and cell replication (so that cells divide normally and do not mutate) and supports the thymus gland

Friends – protein, fat, zinc iron

Foes – plant sterols, low fat diets

Eggs, liver, cheese, apricots, sweet potato, butternut squash, peppers especially red and orange.

Vitamin B6

Works to support both B and T cells

Friends – folic acid and B12

Foes – overcooking or frozen food

Chicken, lamb, eggs, avocado, cabbage, cauliflower, legumes and brown rice

Vitamin C

Has many roles to play in the immune system: it can increase antibody production and is a component of both interferon and complement

Foes – excessive water intake

Limes, lemons, sweet potatoes, berries, peppers, cauliflower, kale, soft fruit

Vitamin E

Can increase the concentration of T cells

Friends – vitamin C and selenium

Foes – low-fat diets, plant sterols

Avocados, almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, olive oil, eggs, tuna

Zinc

Required by the thymus gland in the manufacture of T-cells

Friends – vitamin B6 and protein

Foes – excess cellulose, phytates, high calcium intake, alcohol, refined sugar

Chickpeas, seafood, chicken, oats, brown rice, pumpkin seeds

Selenium

Involved in the action of both NK and T cells, also in the production of antibodies

Friends – iodine

Foes – low intake of copper and iron

Liver, halibut, cod, tuna, salmon, prawns, mushrooms (not barley as it contains phytates), sole, mackerel , brown rice, onions, Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, cashew nuts, kidney beans

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Iodine

Stimulates NK ( Natural Killer ) cells

Friends – selenium

Foes – soya, raw cruciferous vegetables, red rice, millet and cassava

Seaweeds, kelp, seafood and garlic

Organosulphides

Stimulates macrophage and lymphocyte action.

Friends – probiotics

Foes –  none

Garlic, onions, chives, shallots and leeks

Probiotics

Stimulate immune response in the gastrointestinal tract, and also help produce vitamin K, which is required for blood clotting

Foes – refined sugar, alcohol, excess yeast in foods

Plain yoghurt, miso soup, fermented foods such as sauerkraut

A perfect immune-boosting day’s Supereating

Breakfast          Plain yogurt with pumpkin seeds and blueberries

Mid-morning      Oatcake with cashew butter, salmon pâté

 

Lunch               Salad made with cooled steamed asparagus, mixed salad leaves, soft-boiled eggs, sliced yellow and red peppers, sprinkled with sesame seeds;    dressing of plain yoghurt mixed with lemon juice, olive oil and

crushed garlic

Snack               Soft fruits mixed with flaked almonds

Dinner               Grilled chicken or king prawns, steamed cauliflower, broccoli with brown rice

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