Written by Florence Caie, CNP
With winter chills, colds and flu just around the corner here’s what we can do to boost our immune system as it is our first line of defense against viruses and disease. Our immune system controls how the body manufacturers our white blood cells which help fight infections. Now would be a good time to help boost our immune system by eating immune boosting foods containing nutrients such as Beta-carotene, Vitamins A, C, D, and probiotics. Consider these nutrients as a preventative step in our daily food choices which would give us the edge in fighting and resisting infection.
• Beta Carotene – In the body beta carotene is converted into Vitamin A which promotes a healthy immune response. Look for the fruits and vegetables which are orange and red in colour such as cantaloupes, apricots, red peppers, sweet potatoes, carrots, squash, and carrots. The dark green vegetables such as watercress, dandelion greens, spinach, Brussel sprouts, kale and broccoli contain the carotenoids. Make a hearty soup by adding carrots and finely chopped kale.
• Vitamin D– This time honoured old standby, Cod Liver Oil, contains omega-3 fish oil, and a popular favourite for many years, continues to be more in demand now since it contains the immune boosting vitamin D which has now been named in recent times as the vitamin that we are not getting enough of. By consuming more vitamin D sources in our foods such as fish, milk, egg yolks, and oats we can give our bodies a head start in fighting infections.
• Probiotics– These friendly bacteria which populate our intestines are responsible for up to 70% of our immune health. Naturally occurring fermented foods such as Miso, sauerkraut, tempeh, Greek yogurt and kifir boost our good bacteria and colonize our intestines offering protection from invading viruses and bacteria. Use a tablespoon of kifir in your morning smoothie to boost your immune health.
• Vitamin C– This water soluble vitamin is the most popular and well known vitamin and antioxidant found in citrus fruits, berries, melons, cabbage, pineapples, watermelon, parsley and tomatoes. Vitamin C works best when synergistically combined with the flavonoids which are found in fruit with the skins and pulp such as grapefruit, lemons, plums and berries which all exist in the foods containing Vitamin C. To get the most of your daily intake of vitamin C, add fruits to your smoothies, berries on your breakfast cereal and between meals as a snack.
Here is an easy recipe to boost your Immunity.
Baked Acorn Squash with Apples and Cinnamon
1 acorn squash cut in half 4 apples finely chopped with peel if organic
1 tbsp. Coconut oil 1 tsp. cinnamon
1 large onion finely chopped ½ teaspoon allspice
Cut the acorn squash in half and remove the stems so that it lays flat in the dish. Scoop out the seeds and rub coconut oil on the insides of the squash halves. Sauté onions, apples and spices with the remainder of the coconut oil in a skillet until the onion is translucent. Remove the mixture and fill each acorn squash cavity to the top.
Place the squash in a glass baking dish filled with ½ inch of water. Cover and place in the oven at 350 degrees for approx. 40 min. Test to see if the squash is done by pricking with a fork to determine if it is tender. Enjoy!
If you would like more help in how to boost your immune system through diet or would like to get more tasty recipes for you and your family, call the clinic at 905-668-7987 for an appointment with Florence Caie, CNP (Holistic Nutritionist).