We hear about free radicals and antioxidants all the time, don’t we? Where should be looking to get these antioxidants then? It will be a relief to know that the normal foods in the kitchen, or food on our table is well equipped to fight the present infection laden atmosphere. Even if one is not too exposed to pollution, wind, sun or stress, it is a good idea to build up the body’s immune system and provide a barricade that keeps infectious diseases away.
It is rather interesting to note here that food which we have always taken for granted does play a significant role in fighting infection in its own inimitable style. Be it a crunchy carrot had on the move or the chunk of cheese gobbled up in a hurry, the strengthening of the immune system has begun unknowingly.
Carrots are a major source of beta-carotene. All red, orange, yellow and dark green fruits and vegetables contain beta-carotene. Beta-carotene helps to strengthen skin and mucous membranes and enhances the antibody response. Sweet potatoes, pumpkin and green leafy vegetables may well be a part of your daily diet as beta-carotene protects the body from several types of cancer, especially lung cancer. It also acts as a filter, protecting eye lens from cataract.
The chunk of cheese, which so innocently cut the edge of a gnawing hunger pang, provides calcium, which works in collaboration with magnesium to enhance the immune system. The same formula works in other dairy products, leafy greens, fish, nuts and pulses. Yes, of course, while reaching out for the cheese ensure it is the low fat version!
Another great nibble is chocolate! The iron content of chocolate (the same iron which we would generally look for in meat, egg yolk, shellfish and parsley!) plays a major role in balancing the white blood cells involved in immunity. The idea here is not permission to indulge in chocolates to fight the germs. It is essential awareness that chocolate is good for health, but better go easy as this food is also very fattening!
Enough of the goodies…now let us come to the ‘grain’of the matter. Wheat is a versatile grain? From the harvested wheat can come a great variety of products like white flour and semolina. The high-gluten content of wheat makes it the best cereal grain for bread making. Whole wheat breads are a great source of vitamin B 6. The magnesium present in whole grains also boosts immunity action and should be combined for effectiveness with nuts, seafood and green leafy vegetables.
Coming to nuts. Well, this is another favourite snack! Go for it by all means as the content of Vitamin E helps to improve the function of white blood cells. Even seeds are good munchies with a lot of goodness.
Mention of an extremely healthy food is bound to be done and that is offish. All fish contain as much high-quality protein as meat, but, unlike meat, white fish have a negligible amount of fat and, therefore, they have half the number of calories. Fortunately the fat in oily fish is polyunsaturated. They also contain less cholesterol than either meat or shellfish and provide niacin and vitamin D that are absent from white fish. Oily fish such as tuna, mackerel, and sardines are rich in selenium which boosts the white blood cells and immune enzymes.
Next time you reach out for an orange, think of having a concentrated dose of vitamin C. This vitamin is also found in amla, strawberries, papaya, other citrus fruit, melons, cabbage, capsicum and guava. Vitamin C increases the number of chemical messengers that are vitally important in the process of fighting infection.
Another infection fighter is the good old cup of tea. Along with whole grain food and leafy greens, tea too contains manganese that helps to increase the activity of the killer immune cell.
In a nutshell, healthy eating habits with a good mental attitude keep one fit in body. As a fitting note of a finale, here are some colourful presentations of fruits and vegetables for you today!
Till I write again.