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Rosemary Nardone, CHHP, RM

Certified Nutritional Health Counselor 

The pandemonium of fear created by media regarding H1N1 Swine Flu has reached an all-time high this year.  However, the latest information put out October 28th from the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta  shows that only one in five children have experienced the flu most likely H1N1.  Further, it was felt swine flue infections have peaked out in the USA even before the drug companies could get their vaccines out.

Is it too little too late?  The point is that by the time vaccines are available for everyone, most people will have already been exposed to the H1N1 virus and won’t need a vaccine.  There is also evidence that previous exposure to seasonal flu may confer some natural immunity to H1N1 meaning that vaccines may be redundant from the start.

The good news is a healthy immune system is your best defense against pathogens such as viruses, bacteria and carcinogens that can make you sick.  Immune cells are found throughout the body, lymph glands, endocrine system, bone marrow and tonsils.  By focusing and adding nutrient rich foods to your diet  instead of high-caloried denatured foods, your family can ward off illness.

Colds and flu can sneak up on you and your family.  Over 200 viruses can cause cold symptoms.  Luckily, eating healthfully can boost one’s immune system to help battle these bugs.  We are all running on tight schedules these days, many of us eating on the run and sacrificing good nutrition, but this can sabotage our health.

 Here are a few simple measures that can help you fight off the various flu bugs:


Vitamin D has been well documented to increase production of over 200 microbial peptides that fight infection


Eliminate sugar from you diet which  will impair your immune response


Get plenty of rest


Exercise appropriately


Take appropriate supplements such as Vitamin C, Oil of Oregano, bee propolis, Chinese herbs such as astragalus, and Siberian ginseng


Wash your hands frequently with soap and water

 As a Nutritional Health Counselor, I recommend and encourage including all of the following foods for maintaining  and building a healthy immune system: 

·        FISH – at least 4 servings a week of Omega 3 seafoods such as tuna, salmon, mahi mahi, tilapia, and shellfish. 

·        PROTEINS  - such as lean chicken, turkey, beef, lamb, calves liver preferably hormone free, organic as well as eggs, organic cheeses. These contain zinc which is important for boosting immune system.  Actually, certain types of immune cells cannot function without zinc. 

·        FOR VEGETARIANS - you can get zinc from whole grains, fortified cereals, tofu, nuts and seeds, especially pumpkin seeds one of the highest sources of zinc. 

·        PLANT FOODS - serving your family a variety of fruits and vegetables at meals and snacks assures they are getting photonutrients, which boost immune system, strengthen heart and blood vessels and even fight various cancers. 

·        NUTS AND SEEDS – instead of grabbing potato chips, grab a handful of nuts or seeds, preferably raw which are less acid forming.  Not only are they high in zinc, but Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant which fights respiratory infections including colds and boosts response to antibodies and certain immune cells when we are under stress

·        YOGURT AND KEFIR – in addition to the probiotic effect of yogurt and kefir which keeps good bacteria in intestines, these increase the production of gamma interferon which helps knock out viruses. 

·        ONIONS AND GARLIC – We forget how wonderful these foods we use daily are.  They contain T-cells which increase production of white blood cells defending against invading pathogens.  The old saying “A clove of garlic a day keeps the doctor away” is right on.  The key ingredient being allicin from antibiotics are made. 

·        AVOCADO – these delicious fruits have different properties such as Vitamin E and B complex which promote antibody production as well as essential fatty acids reducing inflammation

·        MAITAKE AND SHITAKE MUSHROOMS – which contain lentinan, a compound that stimulates interferon, a potent antiviral and antibacterial protein activating natural killer T-cells at point of infection. 

Last but not least, and as mentioned above, keep the sugars and added fats  low.  Studies have shown that diets high in these two things, can lower your immune cells by 40%.


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