Nutrition for healthy immune system and general wellbeing
by Kate Curtis
Foods and nutrient sources are important to help keep the body in balance and makes for deep nourishment and wellbeing. Good nutrition enhances our energy system and also helps to maintain balance to hormonal and nervous systems. One of the first courses of treatment within the Chinese Medicine system when a person becomes unwell, is to help ensure their nutritional intake meets their needs and so help to resist bacterial and viral infections, thus enhancing their immune responses. It is wise to aim to eat a balanced diet, with protein, carbohydrates and fats, rich in green vegetables, with lots of nuts and seeds. Include high fibre and fruit. Keep processed sugar foods to a minimum, and reduce caffeine, and alcohol. Due to the usage of pesticides in a lot of vegetables, use organic vegetables where possible. Antibiotics are given to intensely farmed animals, such as pork and chicken, so try to include organic sources of meat, where possible.
Alkaline rather than acid foods
Acid foods produce acidic environments within the body. This may cause increased joint pain, and over time result in the breakdown of cartilage. Cancer cells do not like alkaline environments. Foods in excess such as red meats, dairy produce, processed sugar, caffeine, red wine, bread, tomatoes, peppers, may cause increased acid in the system. Alkaline foods include non-citrus fruits, vegetables, sprouts, cereal grasses e.g. wheatgrass and barley grass, avocados, pineapple, asparagus and mango. Ensure the majority of the fruit and vegetables comes from an organic source.
Essential Fatty Acids
The essential fatty acids linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid are essential to every living cell in the body. They help to maintain well balanced hormone system. Good sources are fish and fish-oil from deep sea fish, and flaxseed oil and pumpkin seed oils, eggs, soy products, raw nuts and seeds, and dark green and winter vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, beets, carrots, kale, cabbage, turnips, and brussels sprouts. Omega 3 Oilis found in deep sea fish oil. Fatty acids, which have been found to clean the blood of fat deposits, reduce clotting and encourage blood flow to tissues. They also boost the immune system by reducing certain killer immune cells, which is applicable to some women who have difficulty with the embryo’s implantation in the uterus.
Organic foods and hormone free meats
Pesticides, chemicals and hormones contain synthetic oestrogen-like substances, which occupy oestrogen receptor sites and have negative effects on our organ and endocrine systems. Food also loses its vibrancy when treated with such pesticides. Add more cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cauliflower. They contain di-indolylmethane DIM, a compound that stimulates more efficient use of oestrogen by increasing the metabolism of oestradial. It allows the oestradiol to break down into 2-hydroxy oestrogens, which don’t have the oestradiol’s negative effects. Excess oestradiol is associated with breast pain, weight gain, breast and uterine and prostate cancer, moodiness, and low libido.
Bee pollen and/or Royal Jelly supplements
Bee pollen, a worker bee food, is rich in vitamins, minerals, nucleic acids, and steroid hormones, and improves health and immunity. Royal Jelly is modified pollen, fed only to the Queen Bee, whose joy is to make babies. It is rich in amino acids, vitamins, and enzymes. This supplement is used for women who want to achieve greater nutrition when trying to achieve healthy pregnancy. It can be taken to achieve good health.
Blue green algae
Spirolina is saltwater blue green algae, and Chlorella is freshwater green algae. They contain chlorophyll, amino acids, minerals, vitamins, and steroid building blocks, and nourish the endocrine, nervous, and immune systems. This is a high mineral source and regulates metabolism and helps to maintain good immune balance
This is a high nutrition source nourishing core energy, blood and essence, (according to Chinese Medicine), enhancing immunity.
This is a vitamin which research is showing to have more influence on healthy pregnancy than previously thought. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to miscarriage, and is common among people with inflammatory and auto-immune disorders. In a study of 67 women with anovulatory infertility, 93% were deficient in Vitamin D. Supplementation helps to restore normal ovulation. Vitamin D deficiency is high among women with PCOS. Blood thinning drugs such as clexene (heparin), prescribed during IVF treatments, interfere with the uptake of Vitamin D and calcium. Vit D has a very strong effect on the immune system and is advocated in the treatment for people on Chemotherapy, and in maintaining healthy immune system during Covid 19 pandemic. Sources – egg yolk, oily fish, herrings, salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna. Sunlight. Butter.
It helps maintain cellular health by assisting mitochondrial function – Mitochrondia is the power house of each cell in our body. Helps to convert food to energy within the cells. This is used during Cancer treatments, and fertility treatments in high doses of up to 600mg. Taken to maintain good immune health
An antioxidant which is important for the absorption of protein, follicular development, embryo growth and thyroid health and immunity. It helps keeps tissues and skin healthy, and is important for normal vision, and to help keep heart, lung, and kidney function. Sources – full-fat dairy, eggs, oily fish, liver, aprocots, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes
A major antioxidant, and works with Vitamin C and Selenium to reduce free radical damage, thins the blood, and regulates menstrual flow. It reduces inflammation and helps nourish the skin. Sources – wheat germ, nuts and seeds and their oils, green leafy vegetables.
This is a major antioxidant, and works strongly with Vit D in boosting the immune system. It increases the white cell production (lymphocytes and phagocytes) which helps prevent the body from infection from bacteria and viruses. It helps in tissue wound healing. It is used to assist in the treatment for cancer due to its immune boosting properties. Sources – Oranges, grapefruit, broccoli, brussels sprouts, strawberries, kiwi, raspberries blackcurrants, apples, mushrooms
It is a good idea to increase the intake of magnesium while taking vitamin D supplements as it helps activate Vit. D. All the enzymes that metabolise Vit D seem to need magnesium. Magnesium activates more than 600 enzymes and influences extracellular calcium levels. Sources – Avocados, nuts, legumes, seeds, blackberries, raspberries, grapefruit, dried figs,
Because our body does not produce zinc it must be obtained through food or supplements. Zinc is needed to help cell division, wound healing, a healthy immune function. Very important for genetic regulatory hormones, and crucial for the synthesis of DNA, oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone, Vitamin D and thyroid hormones. Sources – brazil nuts, seafood, eggs, garlic, broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, oysters, redmeat and poultry, dairy, legumes, chickpeas, lentils, and beans
Iron forms oxygen-carrying red blood cells. Deficiency causes anovulation and serious problems in pregnancy. Low iron levels are linked to infertility. Low iron levels are associated with certain cancers. Sources – red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, pulses, dark green leafy vegetables
Folic acid ( Vitamin B9)
It is crucial to take folic acid or folate 3 months before you conceive. Folic acid is converted to folate by the body which is required for the body to make DNA and RNA and metabolise amino acids necessary for cellular division. If there is a history of cervical abnormal cell division it is important to take folic acid or folate months before trying to get pregnant. It helps to prevent neural tube defects as found in Spina bifida. Sources – dark leafy vegetables such as cabbage, kale, spinach, broccoli, brussels sprouts, peas, liver.
It is important to keep well hydrated. By this we mean fluids such as water, herbal teas including green tea and soups. Coffee and black teas act as diuretics and so if consumed highly results in dehydration. Alcohol also caused dehydration. The immune system depends on balance and cellular health. Bacteria and viruses can be resisted when we have a healthy immune response to intrusions. Ayruvedic medicine and Chinese medicine both recommend that we sip warm water throughout the day as it helps to keep the body well hydrated and improves digestion, reduces congestion of the sinuses and helps the kidneys and lymphatics remove toxins more efficiently.
Eliminate caffeine, alcohol and nicotine
Nicotine ages the ovaries, and makes the eggs resistant to fertilization for those trying to become pregnant. Caffeine is associated with recurrent miscarriages due to its strong diuretic and vasoconstriction action. It is also acidic, and so not advised to consume when undergoing cancer treatment. Green Tea is a good substitute of coffee and, as it is an antioxidant, it opens up the vessels rather than constrict. Alcohol is especially damaging if there is already damp, heat or liver Qi. Drinking alcohol during IVF cycle reduces success by 50% according to one study.
Plastic bottles (BPA)
Avoid plastic bottles, and food packaging, due to the BPA content, which is a weak synthetic oestrogen which activity disrupts hormone and balance. Because oestrogen can make hormone- receptor- positive breast cancer develop and grow it is wise to avoid these as much as you can.