March 18, 2013

Supporting the Immune System

  • Vital in the development and maintenance of immune system function.
  • In a study of 11 malnourished infants who had copper deficiencies, copper supplements were given and the ability of certain white blood cells to engulf pathogens increased significantly after 1 month of copper supplementation.
  • Copper can be found in various organ meats – especially liver. It can also be found in shellfish, nuts, seeds, wheat bran, cereals and whole grain products.

  • It is associated with impaired function of the immune system.
  • A study on healthy and immunosuppressed people who were supplemented with sodium selenite for 8 weeks, showed an enhanced immune cell response to foreign antigens compared to those taking a placebo.
  • Selenium can be found in brazil nuts, shrimp, crab meat, salmon, halibut and brown rice.

  • Children who are mildly deficient in Vitamin A have a higher risk of respiratory disease, diarrhoea and mortality from infectious disease compared to children who are sufficient.
  • Vitamin A supplementation decreases severity and incidence of deaths related to diarrhoea and measles in developing countries where deficiency is common.
  • The vitamin can be found in cod liver oil, fortified breakfast cereals, eggs, butter and sweet potatoes.

  • It is vital in the formation of antibodies.
  • Lowers the risk of contracting upper respiratory tract infections, especially the common cold however has no effect on lung infections.
  • Can be found in olive oil, soybean oil, corn oil, carrots and almonds.

  • Zinc maintains the integrity of the immune system.
  • Zinc deficient people have an increased susceptibility to a variety of infectious agents.
  • There is also an increased susceptibility to infectious disease in children like diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria.
  • The elderly are vulnerable to zinc deficiency.
  • It can be found in oysters, crab meat, beef, pork and milk.

Detox Recipies


Berry blast porridge

Prep and cooking time: 5 mins
 - Serves: 2 people  
Can store in fridge

100g porridge oats
500ml soya milk or water
A handful of strawberries (quartered)
A handful of raspberries (whole)
100g redcurrants
4 teaspoons of Stevia
1 orange juice and zest


  • For the compote – Cook pre prepare redcurrants with stevia, fresh orange juice and zest.
  • For the porridge – either, combine the oats with the liquid and bring to a boil in a pan and bring to the boil slowly. Or, put in bowl and microwave on high for 1 min 30 secs.
  • Stir and divide into 2 bowls. Serve with the compote and add the fresh fruit if required.

Fruit Smoothie

Fruit smoothie
Prep time: 5 mins
 - Serves: 1 person

1 banana
200ml Alpro soya milk light
1 tbsp ground flax seeds
100mls coconut water
A few drops of natural vanilla
1 tsp of cinnamon
Honey or stevia
1 tbsp of protein powder


  • Once blended, sprinkle flaked almonds on top.


Goats Cheese Salad

Goats Cheese Salad
Prep time: 15 mins
 - Serves: 2

50g pumpkin seeds
50g walnuts
50g sunflower seeds
2 tsp soy sauce
100g mixed salad leaves (washed)
1 pink grapefruit, peeled & segmented
1 avocado, peeled and diced
150g soft goat’s cheese
1 tbsp lemon thyme, chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice


  • Preheat the oven to 180⁰C/375⁰F/gas 5.
  • Toss together the pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds with the soy sauce and roast for 15 minutes. When roasted, combine with the muesli for a nutty sprinkle.
  • Combine the lemon thyme, olive oil, lemon juice and seasoning.
  • To make the salad, divide the salad leaves between each plate. Add the avocado and pink grapefruit and spoon over the nut and seed mix.
  • Top with the goat’s cheese, crumbled over and drizzle over the dressing.

Avocado Couscous

Avocado couscous
Prep time: 10 mins
 - Cooking time: 25 mins - Serves: 6

2 avocados
300g couscous
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 x 220g can chickpeas – drained
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 pomegranate
4 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp virgin olive oil
2 tbsp chopped mint
1 tbsp flat leaf chopped parsley
100g toasted pine nuts


  • Cover the couscous with boiling water. Stir well, cover and leave to stand for 5 minutes. Separate the grains with a fork.
  • Peel and stone the avocado and cut into chunks. Toss in the lemon juice.
  • Mix together the avocado, chickpeas and pepper and add to the couscous.
  • Split the pomegranate and remove the seeds (do this over a bowl to catch the juice) add the seeds to the couscous.
  • Add the orange juice to the lemon juice and whisk in the oil. Add the dressing and herbs to the couscous and fork through. Serve with a sprinkling of pine nuts.

Kidney bean, vegetable and chorizo rice
Prep time: 20 mins - Cooking time: 10 mins - Serves: 4

1 onion (diced)
4 stalks of celery
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp coconut oil
1 large sweet potato (diced)
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
1 bottle of organic tomato passatta
1 tin of kidney beans
5cm chorizo sausage
Half a bag of spinach (washed)
1 yellow pepper (chopped)
Whole grain rice
1 tsp paprika


  • Dice the onion and sauté with the celery in the olive and coconut oil.
  • Dice 1 large sweet potato and add to the pan with the garlic. Let is sweat for 5 minutes then add the tomato passate.
  • Add the kidney beans and the chorizo and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  • Add the spinach and chopped yellow pepper, let simmer and add the basil and paprika.
  • When the spinach has wilted, serve with whole grain rice and a small salad.


Chicken and Roast Vegetable Pasta

Chicken and roast vegetable pasta
Prep time: 10 mins - Cooking time: 15 mins - Serves: 4
This low-fat chicken pasta is a great alternative to salad, packed with proteins and nutrients.

4 chicken fillets, skinless & cut into chunks
1 red pepper, seeded & cubed
1 courgette, cut into chunks
1 red onion, quartered
2 firm tomatoes, halved
175g (6oz) gluten-free pasta
Salt and black pepper
1 tbsp oil


  • Put the vegetables on a roasting pan and drizzle with most of the oil. Season with salt and pepper and place under a hot grill for 5-10 minutes, turn occasionally until slightly charred and softened.
  • Wipe a large frying pan with oil, heat the pan and add the chicken pieces.
  • Cook on a high heat for 4-5 minutes, turning the chicken frequently until golden brown.
  • Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling water. Drain and return to the pan.
  • Add the charred vegetables and chicken to the pasta and toss. Serve with a herb garnish.

Seven Vegetable Stir fry

Seven vegetable stir fry
Prep time: 15 mins
 - Cooking time: 10 mins - Serves: 6

250g pack Thai rice noodles
1-2 tbsp groundnut oil
A bag of pre-prepared stir-fry vegetables
1 inch fresh root ginger, peeled and sliced
4 tbsp sweet chilli dipping sauce/hoisin sauce
1 red chilli, deseeded & finely chopped
Handful each of mint and coriander, chopped
Soy sauce, to serve


  • Put the noodles in a large bowl and pour over enough boiling water to cover. Leave for 5 minutes whilst cooking the vegetables.
  • Add 1tbsp of oil to a hot wok and stir-fry the pepper and ginger for 30secs. Add the sweetcorn, carrots and asparagus and stir-fry for 1 minute, then add the sugar snaps and cook for 1 minute.
  • Mix in the chilli dipping or hoisin sauce and 4tbsp water, then add the red chilli, pak choi, breansprouts and spring onions and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Drain the noodles. Toss with mint and coriander. Serve topped with stir-fried vegetables and soy sauce for seasoning.

Grilled Mackerel with Chilli and Watercress Salad

Grilled mackerel with chilli and watercress salad
Prep time: 15 mins
 - Cooking time: 5 mins - Serves: 4

1 tsp crushed black peppercorns
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
4 oranges
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
8 x 150g mackerel fillets (not smoked)
2 tbsp chopped coriander
110g watercress
1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced


  • Preheat the grill to high. Mix the peppercorns, coriander and lemon zest in a bowl. Grate the zest from half the orange and stir into the mixture with half the red chilli.
  • Lightly cut the skin of the mackerel and press the mixture onto the fish. Place the mackerel on a grill rack and grill, skin-side up for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped coriander.
  • Meanwhile, segment the oranges. Peel away any white pith.
Divide the watercress between four plates and scatter with the orange segments, red onion and remaining chilli. Top with grilled mackerel.

Foods that boost the immune system
Yoghurt – the probiotics (live active cultures) in yoghurt are healthy bacteria that help keep the gut and intestinal tract free of disease causing germs.
Oats/barley – contain beta glucan which is a fibre with antimicrobial and antioxidant capabilities. This boots immunity and speeds wound heeling.
Garlic – contains allicin which fights bacteria and infection
Fish – selenium in shellfish in particular helps white blood cells produce proteins that help clear flu viruses out of the body
Tea – contains an amino acid which is responsible for immune boots in black and green tea.
Beef – contains zinc which is important for the development of white blood cells
Sweet potatoes – contain vitamin A which helps with the production of connective tissue in the skin
Mushrooms – increase the production of white blood cells