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Boosting your immune system with healthy foods

Today’s Special

I had told Jeremy I wasn’t going to write about the pandemic again. But this isn’t over even with businesses beginning to reopen. We’ve come this far but yet have a far piece to go and we definitely don’t want to lose what we’ve gained. What we need now is more patience, good sense, cool heads, and caution as we proceed toward what we hope will be normal.

I’d love to go to church services, play with my grandchildren, stroll through the garden centers, have a pedicure, get a haircut and go to Catfish Cabin. And I will, eventually, I’ve no doubt but not so fast. There are a few things to consider first.

I’m in the group most likely to get sick with this virus because of my age, so I will be content to stay home a few weeks longer for good measure. The sun is warm and there are weeds to pull and flower beds to prepare. I’ll paint my own toenails and wear a headband. I’ll go grocery shopping during the senior hour following all the store’s guidelines and wearing a mask.

It’s not comfortable and I feel like I can’t hear, see, or talk with it on, but it’s necessary.  I don’t want to get sick or make anyone else sick and that’s the purpose of the mask. None of the recommended preventive measures alone is a 100 percent safeguard from getting this virus, but our chances are greatly reduced if we follow them ALL. As they say in the press conferences, the “mitigation” is working so I’ll keep “mitigating!”

I don’t want to be a statistic other than one in the survived-the-2020-pandemic list.

To stay safe during this phase of the pandemic we also need to play it smart by being as healthy as we possibly can. So, boost your immune system: wash your hands frequently to lessen exposure to viruses, germs, and bacteria; don’t smoke or vape…both of these risky behaviors compromise breathing and would likely be the reason you would need a ventilator; avoid people and places where you could be exposed to the virus; get 8 – 9 hours of sleep every night, less weakens the immune system; get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day like walking; stay hydrated because dehydration invites health issues and weakens every organ in the body.  Rely on water, milk, real fruit juices, and unsweet tea for your fluids.

A healthy immune system also relies on a diet that includes a daily variety of foods: protein for healing and recovery, from seafood, lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products and unsalted nuts and seeds; and vitamin A to regulate the immune system and protect against infections by keeping skin and tissues in the mouth, stomach, intestines and respiratory system healthy. Get this vitamin from richly colored foods including sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, spinach, red bell peppers, apricots and eggs or foods labeled “vitamin A fortified.”

Vitamin C is needed daily. It stimulates the formation of antibodies and is in oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, bell peppers, strawberries, and tomato juice. Vitamin E works as an antioxidant and is in fortified cereals, sunflower seeds, almonds, vegetable oils, hazelnuts and peanut butter. Zinc helps the immune system work properly and wounds heal. It’s found in lean meat, poultry, seafood, milk, whole grain products, beans, seeds and nuts.  And from all these foods you’ll also get vitamin B6, B12, copper, folate, selenium and iron which make it all work.

Stay apart.  Social distancing, isolation, safe at home, staying at home and quarantining are ever important to stopping the virus.  Hand washing, hand sanitizing, using sanitizing wipes and sprays plus being cautious about touching anything when you’re out will definitely be the new normal for us, I don’t see any of these actions stopping. And please be courteous. Think about others.  You can’t tell by looking who is at risk or not, so you have to treat everyone as if they are. Case in point.

Last Saturday, I went to the door to find a dump truck with a load of gravel in my driveway.  The driver was lost and needed directions. I kept my distance, noting that he wasn’t wearing a mask. I stepped out of the garage to point him in the right direction, he didn’t move back but started coughing in my direction.  He must have been under all those rocks for the past month.  Please be thoughtful and respectful of others even if you’re not of yourself.  It will help the situation!

As they admonish us in Tennessee: “Stay safe, stay smart, and stay apart.”

Recipe of the Week

Carrot Fries

Forget french fries, try these tasty immunity building, vitamin A loaded fries instead

1 pound of carrots

Cooking spray

Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Wash your hands. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Peel carrots; cut into strips, about ¼-inch thick and a few inches long. Coat a baking pan with cooking spray; spread the carrot strips out on the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake 15 minutes. Flip them over; coat with a bit more cooking spray, salt and pepper; bake another 15 minutes until lightly browned. Serves 4 with only 45 calories per serving.