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Frequently Asked Questions

 


I could not get a flu shot this year. Are there immune-boosting foods that you can recommend?

You are in a common situation. Here is what I suggest:

    1. At least 5 servings per day of fruits and vegetables (try for 9 or more):

      •  Vitamin C fruits like oranges, grapefruit, kiwis, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries (can use frozen at this time of year).

      •  Vegetables that are high in vitamin C and/or beta-carotene like carrots, sweet potatoes, sweet peppers, tomatoes, spinach, kale, other greens, all broccoli family foods (broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts).

    2. Foods naturally high in vitamin E - avocados, nuts, seeds, wheat germ

    3. Food with probiotic bacteria like yogurt with live cultures or tempeh

    4. Prebiotic foods like beans, legumes, whole grains

    5. Protein (lean meat sources, eggs, low-fat dairy foods, fatty fish like salmon, tuna, herring, mackeral) - vital for making the white blood cells that help to fight infections.

There are a few studies (mostly in vitro) that show activity against influenza viruses by components of green and black tea. One study showed decreased infection of influenza in people gargling twice daily with black tea ( Kansenshogaku Zasshi. 1997 Jun;71(6):487-94, Prophylactic effect of black tea extract as gargle against influenza, Iwata M, Toda M, Nakayama M, Tsujiyama H, Endo W, Takahashi O, Hara Y, Shimamura T ).

So I would suggest drinking green or black tea several times per day as a possible preventive measure, although I am not sure if people in Japan come down with the flu any more or less than in the US .

Be sure to wash wash wash your hands when out in public! Also, if you do become ill, please wait until you are really well to go back to work or to some other public place.

Be sure to try my recipe for Chicken Noodle Soup if you do become ill, or better yet, make it while you are healthy to have in your freezer for those days you need it.

 

faq posted 11/04, update 1/05

 

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Miscellaneous

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These questions and answers are intended to be of a general informative nature. Please consult with the Registered Dietitian in your cancer center or your health care provider for nutritional advice that can be individualized to your specific medical condition.

Contact Information:
Phone/Fax: 734/996-9260

P.O. Box 130221, Ann Arbor, MI  48113

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