Flu – How To Fight It

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It is spring 2009, and there’s an outbreak of Swine Flu. Ground zero is said to be Mexico, a country for which we share a continent. Good hygiene like washing your hands often is paramount. Cover your mouth when sneezing and coughing is good practice; using a tissue is better, and washing your hands is best.  Today we have the benefit of hand sanitizers. Supermarkets have hand wraps as you enter the store, and some in the meat department. Use them, there free, and stop the spread of germs.

While at the supermarket stock-up on health boosting foods, look for yogurt with active culture. Make sure active yogurt is on the label. Most yogurts contains active yogurt so shop by price.  A Joint FAO/WHO Working Group defined probiotics as live microbes which when eaten in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host. Studies show that probiotics, especially acidophilus, support the growth of healthy bacteria in the colon. Supporting studies found that probiotics may boost immunity by regulating lymphocytes and antibodies.

If you enjoy cooking with garlic, you use another food that boosts the immune system. Using a few garlic cloves in cooking should keep you from smelling garlicky. It may help your immune system defeat bacterial, viral and even fungal infections. Garlic contains allicin, ajoene and thiosulfinates,  three powerful compounds.

Onions contain thiosulfinates like garlic. Thiosulfinates  give onions their pungency. The vegetable has aspirin-like properties; these blood-thinning compounds can bust up platelets that might otherwise form troubling plugs at sites of vascular damage. Fructans are a source of soluble fiber shown to reduce rates of colorectal cancers. Flavonoids show proven antioxidant activity.

Oysters contain loads of zinc, which is one of the best immune system boosters out there. Why take a pill when you can get the real thing as part of a dish.  Zinc helps white blood cells and other antibodies reproduce quickly, and it makes them more aggressive at fighting off infections.  Zinc is vital for general cell function, and it stimulates about 100 different enzymes that promote chemical reactions in your body. You can increase your zinc intake all week by making meals containing crab, beef, dark turkey meat or beans. All are good sources of zinc. Oysters, crab, and salmon are also a good source of vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids. Foods aid the immune system.

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