Immunity-building foods

All Woman

Dear Donovan,

I am having the flu and I have lost my appetite but I am anaemic and hence need to get in adequate nutrients to prevent dizziness and feeling faint. What are some light foods I can eat that won't make the condition worse and at the same time build my immunity?

Except for a few people that I have met, it is very common that when you are sick the appetite goes. This loss of appetite when sick is not only seen in human beings, but also other animals as well.

When you are down with the flu it is very important to make sure that you boost the immune system, reduce inflammation and mucus formation, reduce coughing and sneezing, prevent dehydration and electrolyte loss, and also make sure that you are getting enough calories and nutrients. In your situation it is very important that you are getting enough iron from your food intake because you are anaemic.

In order to get well it is very important to boost the immune system as well as keep the iron levels up without reducing the body's get-well response. Your diet will play a very important role in this. It is very important to note that when you have the flu it is always easier to drink than to eat. Therefore, having chicken soup, for example, with carrots, pumpkin and sweet potatoes might be effective.

Chicken has an amino acid called cysteine which is very important in removing mucus from the lungs and reducing coughing and nose stuffiness. In addition, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and carrots are rich in vitamin A which is known to be an immune system-boosting nutrient which helps the body to produce white blood cells and also helps to keep the mucus membranes healthy.

Eating yoghurt during the flu might also be helpful. Yoghurt has probiotics which help to reduce the inflammatory response of the body. Foods with vitamin C like fruits and vegetables are also very important in boosting the immune system. Drinking lemon/lime water with honey will help to heal your sore throat as well as reduce coughing. Lime/lemons are rich in vitamin C.

In your case it is also important to increase your intake of green vegetables and vegetable juices in order to improve your iron levels. It should also be noted that drinking green and black teas will also provide antioxidants which will also boost the immune system.

For breakfast you could always make a strawberry/almond milk smoothie. This drink is very rich in zinc, vitamin C and vitamin E. These are very important in boosting the immune system.

It is also very important to note that during the flu there can be a depletion of electrolytes and water. It is very important that these are replaced. Drinking coconut water, regular water, and teas such as camomile or ginger could be helpful in this regard. In addition, these teas can also reduce diarrhoea and inflammation during the flu. Once you get better it will still be important to keep your immune system boosted.

Good luck!

We will answer your weight-related questions

Are you struggling to lose weight or just need some advice on living a healthier life? Tell us about your health issues and we'll have nutritionist and wellness coach Donovan Grant answer them for you. Grant has over 12 years' experience in the fitness industry and is the owner of DG's Nutrition and Wellness Centre, 39 Lady Musgrave Road. Call him at 876-286-1363. E-mail questions to clarkep@jamaicaobserver.com .

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