Too much simple refined sugar can lower the ability of your immune system, namely the white blood cells to function properly.
Include healthy fats and oils – avocado, olive, flax and coconut oil – and reduce saturated animal fat. If you’re iron deficient, add liver into the diet or an iron supplement. To help increase Omega 3 levels, eat oily fish daily including salmon, tuna and sardines.
Avoid smoking and drinking excessive alcohol and cof fee. Ensure you get adequate nutrition, fluids for hydration and sleep.
Dehydration is a concern with a mild fever. Drink plent y of fluids including diluted vegetable juices including carrot, beetroot, silver-beet and apple; vegetable soups and herbal tea preparations. This will help to rehydrate your body and lessen the stickiness of the mucous and mucous membranes. Pure water, homemade ice-blocks, herb teas, soups, and diluted organic fruit juices (no can juices) should be encouraged. Dilute juices with water. High intakes of sugar (even from fruit), depresses immunity, so keep sugar intake low.
Fevers — A cool cloth or chilled wheat bag applied to the forehead or back of the neck can help lower a fever and relieve headaches.
Mild foods — such as soups, sof t stewed fruits and vegetables are recommended. Vitamin C foods include citrus fruits, green capsicum, strawberries and tomatoes. If you are breathless, opt for a vegetarian diet (no meat, fish or eggs). If this does not suit you include beans, chickpeas and lentils to boost up your meat dishes. Use organic meats, vegetables including parsley, basil, green capsicum, broccoli, brussels sprouts, tomatoes (lots of them), fruit and increase horseradish, wasabi, cinnamon, fenugreek, garlic, ginger and onions in your diet. You might like to add more culinar y herbs to your diet or tr y drinking thyme or rosemar/ y dr y herbs. Avoid mucous forming foods like bananas, dairy products, refined carbohydrates, egg whites and excessive amounts of wheat. Supplement with small amounts of calcium for tified soy or rice milk. Avoid food sensitivities and if you are not allergic or sensitive, substitute dair y products for soy, eg soy cheeses. You can also try stevia, a natural sweetener sugar substitute and egg substitute. Your local health food stockist can help replace mucous forming foods until you are better.
Avoid sugar – did you now that too much simple refined sugar can lower the abilit y of your immune system, namely the white blood cells to func tion properly? If you simply must have sugar, eat a maximum of two teaspoons of Manuka honey or three servings of fruit daily, but do not include any more simple refined sugars in your diet until you are better. If you are diabetic, follow your health professional’s diabetic guidelines.
One teaspoon of sugar reduces your immunity by up to 30 minutes. Sof t drinks – carbonated drinks are usually high in sugar. I avoid diet drinks as well, but it’s my naturopathic opinion. Tr y diluted fruit juices instead, or as prescribed by your doctor if you are diabetic.
My favourite herbs and foods which can make dishes more tast y are garlic, reishi, shitake mushrooms, onions, leeks, ginger with herbs rosemar y, bay leaves, thyme, oregano and spices, including turmeric, cinnamon, cloves and chili. Iodine giving seaweeds and crucifying bug-busting broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower are ver y good too. All these wonderful foods kill bac teria, boost immunity and even protec t your liver.
Eat small meals five to six times a day – three main meals and two to three
snack size meals. Eating this way makes you feel satiated and helps avoid cravings, bad sugary choices, binging and also maintains a steady source of energy through blood sugar balance.
Consume eight to ten glasses of water daily. Water is the basis of life. It hydrates all of the cells in the body and keeps ever y thing moving. Dehydration depletes energy and rehydration can reduce inflammation in the air ways and loosen up mucus if you’ve already got congestion.
Use fruit and vegetables
that are fresh whenever possible, plus organically grown and organic grains and meats. Sometimes that can be dif ficult, but pesticides, herbicides and food stabilisers are likely to put extra stress on the body. Choose a protein bar or sushi over a high sugar muffin, or high fat snack. Refined carbohydrates, sugar, white rice and white flour – these foods ser ve “empty” calories. They contain ver y lit tle nutritional value, vitamins, minerals or fibre.
Alcohol – is par t of many people’s lifest yles but of fers lit tle nutritional value, is loaded with sugar and in fac t it depletes vitamins and minerals robbing the body of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, folic acid, calcium, magnesium and zinc. Zinc is used by white blood cells to ward of colds and flu. Alcohol slows down the brain, ner vous system, hear t, liver, stomach and kidneys. It increases urination, ac ting as a diuretic, depleting elec troly tes and in the long term can cause the liver to become fat t y leading to poor liver func tion, high blood pressure and high cholesterol and can lead to diabetes, psychological dependence and alcoholism.
Other immune boosting herbs and formulas include Echinacea, Golden Seal and Malcolm Harker’s “Emphysemol” if your chest congestion is deep. Minerals, like zinc with selenium are good essentials for immune boosting and protec tion in the lungs, nose and throat. Lavender, eucalyptus and friars balsam inhalants are great to break up sticky mucus and help clear the air ways.
Probiotic or fermented foods that help gut bacteria can increase your immunity especially if you’ve already dosed up on antibiotics or had post-nasal mucus drip into your stomach at night. This can cause an imbalance of good gut bacteria, so balancing and sor ting that out will not only help your immunity, but your mood too.
There are healthy and unhealthy environments, but for immunity there are a couple of key points.
Get clear about smoking – exposure to any smoke at tacks immunity. Ever y addic ted smoker I know is constantly waiting for the impetus to quit. Why wait for a cold or flu to prompt you to quit or encourage a friend / colleague to? Stand up for living smoke-free.
The biggest environmental immune risk is stress. Take a good look at your life and limit your exposure to stressful places and people. You’ll feel better and stay better too.
When you’re under pressure, don’t stress, take ac tion: Stop, breathe and relax. Even a minute breathing deeply a day is a powerful preventive health measure. Meditation is even better, as are yoga and Pilates – a few hours a week are a direc t investment in immuneboosting stress reduc tion.
Eat organically grown vegetables that are fresh whenever possible.