Foods that fight illness


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Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2013, 9:38 am
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By Barbara Quinn
"A vitamin is a substance that makes you ill if you don't eat it," said Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1937.
He understood what we now know: Deficiencies of vitamins and other vital nutrients can cause us to fall prey to illness.
So do our food choices really influence how susceptible we are to sickness? You bet your sweet pepper they do. Specific nutrients in foods have been shown to enhance the body's ability to keep us well. Here are some tips from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and other nutrition experts:
Protein: It's what immune cells are made of. Sources of immune-building protein include lean beef, pork and poultry, fish, eggs, beans and soy-based foods.
Vitamin A: Ever wonder why moms used to dose their darlings with cod liver oil to keep them healthy? Among other components, cod liver oil is a good source of vitamin A—-a nutrient that helps maintain the cells that line our intestines and lungs. These "mucosal" cells are the sentries that guard our body from foreign invaders.
Carrots, kale, spinach, sweet potatoes and red bell peppers are good sources of vitamin A (or beta-carotene which safely converts to vitamin A in the body.)
Vitamin C: Although scientists still don't understand the exact way that vitamin C works to boost immune function, we do know this essential vitamin plays an important role in healing wounds and strengthening our resistance to disease. Vitamin C also helps form antibodies that fight off infection.
Since this essential nutrient easily is destroyed by air, heat and prolonged storage, we are smart to eat at least one high vitamin C food each day. Sources include oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, kiwifruit, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
Zinc: Like an army that relies on a continual renewal of supplies and soldiers, our immune system relies on zinc to consistently renew disease-fighting cells. And since zinc in food is bound to protein, it makes sense that good sources include oysters, beef, pork and liver as well as whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds.
Interestingly, zinc has been called "the essential toxin" because — although it is required for optimal health — excessive intake actually can impair immune function.
Vitamin E: Given its antioxidant ability to neutralize free radicals, vitamin E keeps the machinery of the immune system functioning at capacity. Good sources include nuts, seeds and whole grains. Wheat germ is an especially good source of vitamin E.
What about supplements of vitamins and minerals? If we don't happen to eat a varied diet for any reason, we could be missing out on essential vitamins and trace minerals that could compromise our ability to ward off sickness, say nutrition experts. Whether or not to take a daily vitamin and mineral supplement is a discussion worth having with your health provider.

















 



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  Today is Thursday, July 31, the 212th day of 2014. There are 153 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: A corps of surgeons now occupies the new hospital quarters at the Garrison Hospital on the Rock Island Arsenal. A fence has been installed to enclose the prison hospital.
1889 -- 125 years ago: B. Winter has let a contract to Christ Schreiner for a two story brick building with a double store front on the south side of 3rd Avenue just west of 17th Street. The estimated cost was $4,500.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Germany sent simultaneous ultimatums to Russia and France, demanding that Russia suspend mobilization within 12 hours and demanding that France inform Germany within 18 hours. In the case of war between Germany and Russia, France would remain neutral.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Civil service offices at the post office and the Rock Island Arsenal were swamped as more than 700 youths sought 15 machinist apprenticeships at the Arsenal.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Last night, American Legion Post 246 in Moline figuratively handed over the trousers to a female ex-Marine and petticoat rule began. Olga Swanson, of Moline, was installed as the first woman commander of the post .
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Illinois Quad City Civic Center captured the excitement and interest of a convention of auditorium managers this weekend in Reno, Nev. Bill Adams, civic center authority chairman, said the 10,000-seat arena planned for downtown Moline has caught the eye of construction firms, suppliers, management teams and concession groups.








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