Foods to boost your immune system

Foods to boost your immune system

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

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Working at Maggie’s cancer supper centre in Nottingham, I’m often asked about what foods can help build up our immune system.  This is especially important to cancer patients who may have undergone some quite radical surgery, chemo or radiotherapy.  All of which can have a debilitating effect on the body

 

 

 

winter landscape

 

A strong immune system is also important to many us, as the winter bugs and viruses try to strike us down.

 

 

To strengthen your immune system it is important to

  • Load up on the foods that pack the biggest nutritional punch such as vegetables, pulses, nuts and wholegrain
  • Whilst avoiding processed foods (often high in fat and salt) and
  • Reduce the amount of sugar and alcohol in your diet.
  • You can do even more by selecting foods that are loaded with specific immune boosting nutrients.

Top tips for a healthy immune system

  • chopped veggies

    A rainbow of colour

    Eat a ‘rainbow’ of colour to get more antioxidants in your diet.  By that I mean have plenty of variety,  all the following foods help to nourish the thymus gland, which is responsible for much of the immune-system function.  Eat at least two servings a day of these foods rich in vitamins B, C and E, plus beta-carotene (vitamin A) and zinc – red peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, oranges, apples, tomatoes, kiwi, carrots, berries, red grapes, kale, onions, spinach, sweet potatoes.  You get the idea!

Ryvita hummus

 

  • Cook frequently with garlic because it’s a proven immune booster and has antiviral and antibacterial properties. The allicin helps to prevent and fight colds. So add it to hummus, pasta and curry dishes. Rub on to toasted sour dough for a low cal garlic bread

 

 

 

  •  spinachSpinach is rich in folic acid. It can be made into spinach pasta, added to soups, smoothies or pasta sauces.  It can brighten up a curry or bulk out a salad

 

 

  • Cinnamon is antiviral, anti fungal and antibacterial; sprinkle it on your porridge or muesli. Add it to low sugar bakes and biscuits or smoothies
  • Mushrooms – contain vitamin D (and will absorb more if placed on a sunny shelf), which is good at combating viruses. Add to stir-fries, soups and pasta dishes

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  • Stay hydrated  – try and drink at least 6 glasses of water, fruit teas, green and black teas etc a day

 

 

  • Tactivity exercise walkingake some regular exercise: If you want to boost your immune system, get active. Just increasing your heart rate for only 20 minutes three times a week is associated with an increased immune function, and a brisk walk five days a week can help reduce your risk of catching a cold.  Also being out and socialising can help boost your immune system

 

  • Have a giggle! –  Laughing decreases the levels of stress hormones in the body while increasing a type of white blood cells that fights infection.

healthy eating

Dementia: food and lifestyle

Dementia: food and lifestyle

According to NHS choices dementia is a syndrome (a group of related symptoms) associated with an ongoing decline of the brain and its abilities. It is a common condition, affecting about 1 in 3 adults over the age of 65.

dementia

As its ‘Dementia Awareness Week’, I’ve pulled together the findings from recent research to give a guide on what should and shouldn’t form part of a healthy balanced lifestyle

 

Be the correct weight for your height

Being overweight or obese could increase your risk of dementia.

puzzles

Keep the brain active, with puzzles, learning a new skill or language, get smartphone or tablet savvy

 

Challenge yourself, by trying something new or different each week; go to a different supermarket or coffee shop, try a new recipe, read a different type of book than you normally would, buy a new magazine or paper, walk a different way to the park or a friends house, eat with your opposite hand!

 

Include a range of healthy foods in to your diet. This can include:

  • fruit and vegPlenty of fruits and vegetables (especially green leafy veg); think a ‘rainbow of colour’
  • Wholegrain rice, bread and pasta – for increased fibre
  • Less saturated fat, from dairy, meat and processed foods and more fat from olive oil or rapeseed oil
  • Increase your intake of beans, peas and lentils – low in fat and high in fibre
  • Oily fish like salmon, fresh tuna, mackerel and sardines. Or linseeds, chia seeds or seaweed if you are vegetarian or veganbeans
  • Reduce your salt intake; try and aim for no more than 6g (or 1 ½ teaspoons) a day – this will help maintain a healthy blood pressure
  • Reduced the amount of ready meals, takeaways and processed foods you eat – these can be high in fats, sugars and salt

 

 

yoga

 

Get more active, walk a bit more rather than always take the car or bus, spend time in the garden, do the housework, mow the lawn, go swimming, practice yoga or pilates, or go dancing. Walking as little as 15 minutes a day can help reverse shrinking of the brain.

 

 

Stay within a safe alcohol limit; that is now 14 units a week for both men and women. The latest advice is to also have a number of alcohol free days.

 

WIBe sociable, join a class or group, get to know others or have family gatherings and keep your brain active

 

Try and manage your blood pressure – many of the above lifestyle changes could have a positive impact on your blood pressure

 

Stop smoking (if you do)

heart and brain

A good guide is that what is good for the heart, such as regular exercise and a healthy balanced diet, is also good for the brain.

dementia brain food

Information and support can be vital in maintaining mental heath and wellbeing. I can help support a person to make informed food and healthy eating choices that’s right for them.

I can give informal and practical advice about food shopping and budgeting. How to turn those foods in to simple low cost meals that can be eaten on the day, stored in the fridge or frozen (ready for another day).

Screen Shot 2017-05-18 at 17.01.17Why not consider coming to learn how to make simple vegetarian or vegan meals in my kitchen in West Bridgford

https://youtu.be/UgRRosfrK70

 

 

 

Testimonials

 

“We enjoyed Susan’s visit to our group we found it very informative,

She was very easy to listen to and was very knowledgeable regarding

the questions asked, We are so pleased that we are currently arranging for her to come back and give us a talk on food and mood. We learned new things about the everyday foods we use. As a result of this we have started to change some of our eating habits. Very knowledgeable and understanding of our needs Thank you” The Gedling Follow On Group

 

 

memory cafe keyworth“Susan very generously gave her time and expertise to speak on eating well for brain health at a memory cafe I run.

 

Thank you so much for coming to talk to us at the memory cafe this morning Susan. Everyone said what a good talk you gave. I’m sure people will be greatly helped in putting your suggestions into practice. You gave us very clear, practical advice and guidance, and enabled us to feel it’s okay to have some treats too. We really liked the simple and quick meal suggestions, and ways of adding fibre and protein to foods in easy ways.” H Rawlinson, memory café Keyworth

Hangovers – the morning after!

The morning after…..Hangover cures 

alcoholThat double vodka, large glass of wine or a whole bottle or one more for the road seemed like a good idea last night.  But this morning it’s a different story, you feel nauseous, thirsty, have a headache, feel tired; basically you’re hungover

So how can you start to feel like your old self again?

 

  • Hydration – water is the best thing, sip it in case your stomach reacts.  If you prefer and have them available an isotonic drink is a good way to replenish lost fluids and minerals.  But they can be expensive and have a fair amount of sugar.  An answer is to make your own; mix one part orange juice, one part water and a pinch of salt.

IMG_9999This is exactly what I told a Notts Tv reporter when he visited me yesterday

Click on this Youtube link to hear the 30 second snippet

https://youtu.be/XsWPvQ0O-dc

 

 

  • If you have a headache water will help with the dehydration and a painkiller could also ease the discomfort.  Be careful with aspirin based medication as they can upset your stomach
  • Eating some protein can aid recovery, especially eggs as they contain  a protein called taurine that helps the liver to recover
  • If you can’t stomach eggs, a bowl of porridge will restore some energy especially if its served with some fresh fruit like a banana, which will help replace your depleted potassium levels
  • fruitA fruit smoothie made with yoghurt will also give you some much needed protein.
  • failing that some wholemeal toast with either jam or wholenut peanut butter
  • Try and take some gentle exercise, a walk would be a great idea as it releases  ‘feel good’ endorphins
  • Try and resit the temptation to have too many cups of strong coffee.  Caffeine can upset your stomach and it also acts as a diuretic increasing your dehydration
  • Don’t overdo the amount of sugar you consume as it produces an energy spike and then a crash, leaving you feeling more tired and lethargic

To minimise some of the symptoms of over indulgence take painkillers with a pint of water before you go to sleep   That way you may wakeup feeling more human!