Foodie Friday Talk...
Immune Boosting Foods and a Focus on Vitamin D:
Schools are already combating the flu and a variety of version of the common cold. Minimize your risks of suffering this season or at least the duration of sufferage by heading to your local farmers market and then grocery store for the rest. Aim FIRST to the foods that supply your body with the most potent supply of immunity boosting agents then to supplements.
As a dietitian, I recommend these foods, fresh or frozen and as local as possible:
*Citrus fruits & Red bell peppers for your Vitamin C (Red Peppers have double the vitamin C of Oranges)
*Mango and sweet potatoes for big punches of Vitamin A
*Broccoli for A, E and C and as well as other antioxidants
*Garlic and Ginger for their specific antimicrobial, antiviral and antibiotic properties
*Shellfish for their aid in white cell production, The also contain selenium and zinc which function as great antioxidants
*Berries for their flavanoids (having antioxidant functions)
*Yogurt, krauts, kefir and other fermented foods and drinks to keep the gut producing good bacteria. This bacteria helps us fight infection as well as breakdown and absorb what we need from the foods we eat
*Seasonings! Cinnamon, cayenne and turmeric are packed full of immune protecting agents. If you're already suffering from cold symptoms, stir a pinch of all three into a hot, steam cup of honey water and sip. Keep tissues handing and enjoy the clearing out of your airways!
*Vitamin D3- Us adults are often diagnosed deficient in Vitamin D and begin supplementing with doctors orders but our children are RARELY screened. Often the screening is prompted when an adolescent has one or more stress fractures, at which point damage to the immune system, skeletal system as well as nervous system has already been occurring.
Vitamin D is the backbone of many systems of the body but one regularly overlooked is our immune system. Ensuring you get enough Vitamin D can be tricky because if levels in the body are already low, we often need to supplement in large doses to get back to a healthy/functional level of vitamin D.
What to do: GET SCREENED FOR VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY and discuss with your doctor or dietitian how to get your levels ABOVE 50-60ng/mL. Follow up with your Primary Care Physician to manage your levels and ensure they respond appropriately to supplementation.
For those parents of children that regularly suffer with asthma induced complications of the flu check out this study on Vitamin D from 2010:
"In children with a previous diagnosis of asthma, asthma attacks as a secondary outcome occurred in 2 children receiving vitamin D3 compared with 12 children receiving placebo"