Vi­ta­min C best to fight in­fec­tion

Central Otago Mirror - - OUT & ABOUT - I swear my daugh­ter brings home a new bug from kindy each week and then it runs through the whole fam­ily. How can I pro­tect us all from con­stantly get­ting sick? Thank you, Chloe. Dr Libby is tour­ing the coun­try with her new sem­i­nar From Sur­viv­ing to Thriv

The first place to start is to en­sure that you are get­ting enough vi­ta­min C. Vi­ta­min C helps to re­duce in­flam­ma­tion and stim­u­late the im­mune sys­tem to pro­duce white blood cells and help them move to the site of in­fec­tion faster.

Try in­creas­ing your in­take of broc­coli, kale, cit­rus fruit, ki­wifruit and as­para­gus, and en­sure that you are con­sum­ing vi­ta­min C rich food each day, as this is not a nu­tri­ent the body can store.

B vi­ta­mins are found in whole grains like quinoa, mil­let, brown rice and oats, as well as dark-green leafy veg­eta­bles. B vi­ta­mins help to reg­u­late the im­mune re­sponse and amount of an­ti­bod­ies pro­duced to fight an in­fec­tion.

If you fol­low a gluten-free or grain-free diet, you may like to con­sider a B vi­ta­min sup­ple­ment to en­sure ad­e­quate in­take.

You may also like to con­sider us­ing echi­nacea, as it has been used as an im­mune sys­tem sup­port­ing herb for cen­turies. It is best used long term and helps to mod­u­late the num­ber of white blood cells present, which are what fight in­fec­tion in the body.

I ad­vise that you con­sult with a med­i­cal herbal­ist for guid­ance with dosage and use of echi­nacea.

Fi­nally, the over­all qual­ity of each fam­ily mem­ber’s diet might need to be looked at, as in­fec­tion can only take hold if the en­vi­ron­ment (the state of the body) al­lows this. This might mean re­duc­ing the amount of pro­cessed foods con­sumed, in­creas­ing the veg­etable con­tent of meals and/or omit­ting any food sen­si­tiv­i­ties. Stay­ing warm and out of the wind can also make a big dif­fer­ence to some peo­ple’s abil­ity to pre­vent in­fec­tion.

De­spite all of our ac­com­plish­ments in the world, we owe our ex­is­tence to a 30-cen­time­tre layer of top­soil and the fact that it rains. It is es­ti­mated that more than 3 bil­lion tonnes of top­soil is eroded from United States farm­lands each year, and soil is erod­ing seven times faster than it is be­ing built up nat­u­rally.

I don’t have New Zealand sta­tis­tics for this I’m sorry. In or­ganic farm­ing, soil is the foun­da­tion of the food chain, and it is tended as such. Of­ten the only three nu­tri­ents that are added back to soils in con­ven­tional farm­ing are ni­tro­gen, potas­sium and phos­pho­rus, yet there are 52 oth­ers.

If a nu­tri­ent isn’t in the soil, it can’t be in the food and our body re­lies on daily doses of nu­tri­ents to sus­tain life. For this rea­son alone, it is so im­por­tant to sup­port or­ganic, bio­dy­namic and sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture sooner rather than later for the health of peo­ple and the planet.

Or­ganic pro­duce is la­belled ‘‘cer­ti­fied or­ganic’’ when it has been grown, raised, har­vested and pack­aged with­out the use of pes­ti­cides, in­sec­ti­cides, growth hor­mones and an­tibi­otics.

From a health per­spec­tive, when we choose or­gan­ics we not only look af­ter the health of our own body and im­mune sys­tem but also the health of our fam­ily, the health of our soil, and the health of our planet. So ev­ery­one wins, as all health be­gins with the qual­ity of soil in which our food is grown.

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