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Fight Infections with Phytonutrients

Green juice - apple, cucumber, kale, lemon #phytonutrientsMany research articles focus on infections as the underlying cause of many diseases and disorders.  Infection is caused by the invasion into the body of micro-organisms like fungus, bacteria, viruses, and parasites.  These organisms can then spread throughout the body in blood and lymph fluids and settle in compromised tissues where they can begin to multiply.  This then causes the immune system to send out its warrior squad of immune cells to attack the invaders.
Medications regularly used to treat infection include antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, and antihelminths (for worm invasions-tapeworm, etc.)  Often these can cause uncomfortable side effects.
Last week I wrote about the importance of oil pulling with coconut oil to remove negative germs in our mouths thereby lowering the amount of pathogens entering our bodies.  The ingestion of 2-4 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil daily helps support immune function due to coconut oil ingredients having many of those same “anti” properties naturally.
Another way to support immune function against infection causing pathogens includes eating more foods regularly that provide the raw nutrients high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, all rich in powerful disease fighting substances called phytonutrients.
These substances give plants their color and flavor as well as a natural resistance to disease.  Plants have diseases to ward off as well, so we human beings then benefit from a plant’s natural defense system.  Daily consumption of lots of colorful fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts will support immune function fighting infections.
Raw fruits and vegetables are best because their disease fighting nutrients remain intact.  Cooking can lower nutrient levels so slow, lower heat methods preserve some of their beneficial properties.
Foods providing the important disease fighting phytonutrients classified as flavonoids, carotenoids, sterols, lycopene, and beta-carotene, to name a few, are easy to incorporate into one’s daily diet.  Here is the list of foods to increase:  broccoli, grapes, carrots, onions, peppers – all colors, green tea, tangerines, berries, apples, citrus, the herb ginkgo biloba.  These foods contain flavonoids providing powerful antioxidant protection, lower joint pain and destruction, and support connective tissue integrity.
Carotenoids include dark greens, yellow, red, and orange fruits and vegetables, apricots, carrots, peaches, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and papaya.  Lycopene is found in tomato products.  Beta-carotene is found in apricots, carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, squash, peaches and mangoes.  These foods are heartily supportive of colon, esophagus, pancreas, stomach, and throat health.
Sterols can be found in unprocessed seeds and nuts and their oils.  Good food choices are asparagus, barley, peas, figs, almonds, cashews, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and walnuts.
We all want to be disease free.  Ingesting the right kinds of foods possessing natural ingredients that fight infections will help each of us become our optimal best every day.  Variety in our food selection to include lots of color is key.  Who doesn’t love color?  Wishing all of you a healthy and colorful summer.
Krystle Shapiro, MSHN, owns NewTritionally Yours! offering nutrition education classes.  She can be reached at 208/290-6760.
Many research articles focus on infections as the underlying cause of many diseases and disorders.  Infection is caused by the invasion into the body of micro-organisms like fungus, bacteria, viruses, and parasites.  These organisms can then spread throughout the body in blood and lymph fluids and settle in compromised tissues where they can begin to multiply.  This then causes the immune system to send out its warrior squad of immune cells to attack the invaders.
Medications regularly used to treat infection include antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, and antihelminths (for worm invasions-tapeworm, etc.)  Often these can cause uncomfortable side effects.
Last week I wrote about the importance of oil pulling with coconut oil to remove negative germs in our mouths thereby lowering the amount of pathogens entering our bodies.  The ingestion of 2-4 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil daily helps support immune function due to coconut oil ingredients having many of those same “anti” properties naturally.
Another way to support immune function against infection causing pathogens includes eating more foods regularly that provide the raw nutrients high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, all rich in powerful disease fighting substances called phytonutrients.
These substances give plants their color and flavor as well as a natural resistance to disease.  Plants have diseases to ward off as well, so we human beings then benefit from a plant’s natural defense system.  Daily consumption of lots of colorful fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts will support immune function fighting infections.
Raw fruits and vegetables are best because their disease fighting nutrients remain intact.  Cooking can lower nutrient levels so slow, lower heat methods preserve some of their beneficial properties.
Foods providing the important disease fighting phytonutrients classified as flavonoids, carotenoids, sterols, lycopene, and beta-carotene, to name a few, are easy to incorporate into one’s daily diet.  Here is the list of foods to increase:  broccoli, grapes, carrots, onions, peppers – all colors, green tea, tangerines, berries, apples, citrus, the herb ginkgo biloba.  These foods contain flavonoids providing powerful antioxidant protection, lower joint pain and destruction, and support connective tissue integrity.
Carotenoids include dark greens, yellow, red, and orange fruits and vegetables, apricots, carrots, peaches, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and papaya.  Lycopene is found in tomato products.  Beta-carotene is found in apricots, carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, squash, peaches and mangoes.  These foods are heartily supportive of colon, esophagus, pancreas, stomach, and throat health.
Sterols can be found in unprocessed seeds and nuts and their oils.  Good food choices are asparagus, barley, peas, figs, almonds, cashews, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and walnuts.
We all want to be disease free.  Ingesting the right kinds of foods possessing natural ingredients that fight infections will help each of us become our optimal best every day.  Variety in our food selection to include lots of color is key.  Who doesn’t love color?  Wishing all of you a healthy and colorful summer.
Krystle Shapiro, MSHN, owns NewTritionally Yours! offering nutrition education classes.  She can be reached at 208/290-6760.

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