A nasty virus has now made its way through every member of our house, we are looking for ways to boost our immunity to viruses and bacteria. I came across an article in Scottsdale Health (3/12) regarding five foods to boost the immune system. 1) Yogurt: Yogurt contains friendly flora (bacteria) for your gut, meaning that you can digest and assimilate food better. You are better able to absorb those key nutrients which ultimately boosts the immune system. Yogurt also helps to keep disease-causing germs out of your GI tract. 2) Garlic: Garlic (leeks and onions too) contain allicin, which is known to fight bacteria and even fungal infections. 3) Fish/Seafood: Fish contains omega-3’s and selenium, which helps fight colds, flu, and respiratory infections. Oysters, lobsters,, crabs, clams, salmon, sardines, ┬ámackerel, and herring fit the bill. 4) Mushrooms: Mushrooms contain a large dose of zinc, and increase production and activity of white blood cells, making them more aggressive against fighting infections. 5) Chicken Soup: Grandma was right-chicken soup does help you get better, and helps you stay healthy in the first place. The amino acid cysteine is released during cooking, and works similar to the bronchitis drug acetylcysteine, which helps keep your bronchial tubes clear. The broth also thins mucus, and the spices (like garlic and onion) increase your immune response as well. Our family will include these in our meal planning.

Speaking of spices, turmeric is again in the news. I heard a report on NPR of a recent study showing that turmeric powder lowers triglycerides and controls blood sugar. In this study, subjects were prepared a high-fat chicken dinner with no spices added. Then they ate the same meal with turmeric added. Blood was drawn after each meal and compared. After the meal containing turmeric, triglycerides dropped by a whopping 33%, and blood sugar levels dropped by 20% ! Turmeric has been part of my daily diet for several years, as an anti-inflammatory agent and an intestinal fortifier. Add to its benefits protection against heart disease and diabetes, this spice is truly a health superstar. You can get it in capsules, or, if you can tolerate the bitter taste, bulk powder. I take a heaping tablespoon with 10 oz of a pomegranate juice/water combination.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.