Greens Could Boost Your Immunity in the Era of COVID-19
Along with washing hands and social distancing, a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, including dark leafy greens could help boost your immunity to fight against illnesses.
Nutritionists and scientists have long held that a nutritionally deficient diet, loaded with sugar, fat and processed food can weaken our immune systems, making us more likely to acquire infections. People not only need energy from food to power their immune systems by making immune cells, but they also draw from the correct macronutrients, vitamins and minerals for these systems to operate optimally.
IMMUNE SYSTEM TIED TO OUR GUTS
It turns out that Gut health is responsible for most of our immune systems. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, “gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) is the prominent part of mucosal-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) and represents almost 70% of the entire immune system; moreover, about 80% of plasma cells [mainly immunoglobulin A (IgA)-bearing cells] reside in GALT.”
The immune cells, named innate lymphoid cells, are found in the lining of the digestive system and protect the body from ‘bad’ bacteria in the intestine. They are also believed to play an important role in controlling food allergies, inflammatory diseases and obesity, and may even prevent the development of bowel cancers.
EAT YOUR FRUIT & VEGGIES
As long as fruits and vegetable are whole foods and still contain fiber, they are prebiotic. The fiber along with nutrient density supports healthy probiotic bacteria in the gut. With fiber removed, juices can be healthful, but are not prebiotic and can lead to the wrong kind of gut bacteria.
Fruits, vegetables and herbs contain antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, beta-carotene, flavonoids and lycopene. Excellent sources of antioxidants can be found in the following foods: blueberries, green leafy vegetables (cereal grasses such as wheatgrass, barley grass and alfalfa); spinach and kale, onion, oregano, turmeric, cumin, basil, ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, dark chocolate (70 per cent minimum cocoa solids), green and white tea. Recent research published in the Nature Immunology Journal indicates that immune cells essential for intestinal health could be controlled by leafy greens in your diet.
FALLING SHORT ON RECOMMENDED SERVINGS
To maintain a healthy gut, dietitians recommend we eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. The USDA Dietary Guidelines now recommends adults eat between 5 to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, depending on age, gender and physical activity and overall health. Understand a servings size for broccoli would be a half a cup. To maintain a healthy gut, dietitians recommend we eat plenty of whole food fruits and vegetables...
Still, studies show that nine of every 10 people miss the mark. Whole food greens provide a convenient... essentially non-caloric, nutrient-dense source of otherwise hard to obtain minerals, like magnesium, calcium, potassium, and manganese. Pines WheatGrass is an excellent source. In less than a minute a day and for as low as 25 cents, you can have a serving of a nutritious dark green vegetable.
PACK YOUR PANTRY: A FAST AND EASY WAY TO GET YOUR GREENS
Pines Wheat Grass is nutritionally equivalent to a spinach salad but much more concentrated. Seven tablets – or 1 ¼ teaspoon of powder (3.5 grams)– provides approximately the same nutrition as a serving of spinach (based on a 50 gram serving). Pines also contains more nutrition per gram than any other wheatgrass brand on the market. Other brands have serving sizes of almost triple that of Pines’ 3.5 gram recommended serving. And because of that, a little Pines goes a long way: a 24 oz. bottle of Pines WheatGrass Powder contains 194 servings. In addition, almost all Pines products are packed in an oxygen-free atmosphere in glass bottles, preserving freshness for a five year-shelf life. This prevents the loss of nutrients and color when green superfoods are packaged in plastic tubs or packets, which have a three-year shelf life at best.
So, while eating a healthy diet can certainly boost your immunity, it’s no guarantee against getting sick. But if you do happen to come down with the flu or COVID-19, a healthy diet, rich in fiber, antioxidants and vitamins and minerals found in dark, leafy greens, is critical to building up a healthy immune system, which could help you in the fight.