So aside from the usual precautions we take to avoid flus and colds and keep our immune system healthy. What can we do?
Doctor Joel Fuhrman writes in his book “Super Immunity”(1) about superfoods and how they boost the immune system. I did not know how powerful they were until I read the book. I would like to share with you his concept of G-Bombs to show just how powerful they can be. G-Bombs is an acronym to help us remember some of the most powerfully protective foods.
The old target of” 5 fruit and vegetables a day” has been superseded by some nutritionally minded doctors and health professionals. A recommendation by Dr Joel Fuhrman (1) is 3 fruits and 8 total servings of vegetables a day. This is because the benefits of these foods are unfolding more and more as research has evolved, exploring the powerful effects of these foods. So regardless of the way you eat: high fat, low carb, ketogenic, carbo loading (incidentally none of which, I recommend), it is essential we maximize the precious plant nutrients available to us in these foods below.
“Greens “includes green leafy and at least 2 servings of cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli (named due to their flowers which form the) vegetables. This is due to the amazing immune functions of these foods. They provide great defense against infections and in fact cancer. Cruciferous vegetables have been shown to be both anti-viral and antibacterial.
Greens help our cells to repair their DNA in a healthy way, which supports a lower risk of cancer. Some examples of these vegetables include Kale, broccoli, Brussel spouts, cabbage and cauliflower. These have powerful effects when their cell walls are broken by blending or chopping in that they release powerful chemicals (ITCs*- a long name too hard to pronounce) that have anti-cancerous effects and immune boosting properties. This includes removing carcinogens, killing cancer cells and converting hormones such as oestrogen into more easily excreted compounds which is protective against hormone sensitive cancers such as breast cancers. (1)
In order to trigger your immune system to fight your battles against chronic disease and cancer you need adequate greens to fuel it. Make sure you include some greens especially those from the cruciferous (vegetable group such as cauliflower, broccoli and Brussel sprouts ).
Greens are so powerful that in population studies that e that ate a 20% increase in plant food have 20% less cancer rates and those that have a 20% increase in cruciferous vegetables corresponds to a 40% lower cancer rate. (2 )
Wow!!!! A really good reason to eat your greens and those cruciferous vegetables.
Berries and pomegranates:
The juice and seeds of pomegranates possess anticancer and antioxidant properties. An example is research has demonstrated that pomegranates can interfere with the growth of cancer cells eg. by interfering with the blood vessel growth supplying these tumors. Examples of cancers inhibited by pomegranate seeds and juice are breast, prostate, colon cancers and leukemia. They have also been shown to reduce blood pressure in those with carotid artery disease and literally clean out arteries.(4)
Berries have similar effects when research was done on rats with cancers such as oral, oesophageal and colon cancers, then given berry concentrates they showed a reduced occurrence of cancers at these sites. All berries and their juices including blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, elderberries (a great remedy for the flu too), goji berries, acai berries and strawberries (although safest organic) are awesome superfoods.
O=Onions and garlic:
This group of superfoods includes Leeks, onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, chives and scallions. They are from a group of vegetables called the allium family. Population studies have found that people who eat more allium vegetables have a lower risk of cancer at all common sites in the body. It seems the compounds called organosulphur compounds that are released when these vegetables are crushed or chewed. These compounds are so amazing they can prevent cancer tumors from getting a blood supply, and incredibly, detoxify cancer-causing agents. In addition they have anti-inflammatory properties and ward of infections.
In studies those who ate more onions hand less than half as may cancers compared to those who hardly ever ate onions.(3)
So I have just given you 3 good reasons to eat more fruits and vegetables, if you want the other 3 good reasons check out the hot spot next month for the MBS part of G-BOMBS.
The ideas for this article come from Dr Joel Fuhrman and his book Super Immunity.
(1) Fuhrman J.Super Foods for Super Immunity In: Furhman J,Super Immunity New York, HarperCollins Publishers; 2011p.57-84
(2) Michaud DS, Spiegelman D, Cinton SK, et al. Fruit and vegetable intake and incidence of bladder cancer in a male prospective cohort. J Natl Cancer Inst 1999: 91(7): 605-13
(3) Galeone C, Pelucchi C, Levi F, et al. Onion and garlic used and human cancer. Am J Clin Nutr 2006;84(5): 1027-32
(4) Aviram M, Rosenblat M, Gaitini D, et al. Pomegranate juice consumption for 3 years by patients with carotid artery stenosis reduces common carotid intima-media thickness, blood pressure, and LDL oxidation. Clin Nutr 2004: 23(3): 423-33