Boost Your Immune System To Avoid Exacerbation

Posted by Lisa Burkhart on Nov 13, 2015 8:00:00 AM

What starts off as a simple cold or even mild flu can land a person with COPD in the hospital and can take months to recover from.  Stay healthy this cold and flu season by giving your immune system health a boost!  Not only will your chance of getting sick go down, you’ll have more vitality and feel better in general.

First, some things that you probably already know; Wash your hands often, get plenty of sleep and eat foods rich in vitamin C or take tablets.  We all know that citrus fruits and juices contain lots of C but don’t forget about strawberries and papaya.  A tropical smoothie is delicious and will keep those nasty cold germs away too!  Throw in some cantaloupe for a shot of vitamin A, too!  A spinach salad for lunch mixed with kale provides tons of beneficial C.  For dinner consider stuffed bell peppers or a side of Brussel sprouts.  Now don’t make that face!  Try this incredible recipe for roasted Brussel sprouts with balsamic vinegar and honey.  Delicious, and honey is a natural immune booster as well!

This time of year is perfect for finding foods rich in Vitamin A.  Pretty much all orange veggies contain Vitamin A.  Carrots, yams, pumpkins, squash etc.  I’m not sure if your pumpkin spice latte counts but how about some pumpkin pie!  If you have COPD and are struggling to put on weight, pumpkin pie is ideal.  For a healthy pumpkin pie recipe, check this out!  It has cinnamon, coconut milk, and ginger which are all tasty and good for immuno health as well.

People who suffer from COPD often struggle with depression.  Vitamin B6 is essential to brain development and helps create serotonin and norepinephrine, which positively affect mood.  It is also instrumental in heart health, muscular and nerve function, not to mention a healthy immune system.  The most well-known B6 source is bananas.  Grilling a lean chicken breast with a side of any of the vegetables we’ve discussed would be a heart healthy meal. Lean chicken is also rich in Zinc which is good for fending off the cold bug too.   Another snack rich in B6 as well as zinc, is hummus.  Used as a dip with celery, bell peppers, carrots or any other veggies would be great for your lung function and immune system as well.  This is a simple hummus recipe from the American Heart Association.

Milk is rich in vitamin D which is good for immunity but too much milk can be detrimental for those with COPD because it fosters the production of mucus.  One other way to get some vitamin D is to leave the kitchen and go outside and get some exercise in the sun.  Sunlight is a great source of vitamin D!  20 to 25 minutes a day of sunlight exposure a day will go a long way.  I don’t have to say, “Don’t forget the sun screen,” do I?  Orange juice, not only has vitamin C, but vitamin D as well.  If you are struggling with high cholesterol, this isn’t going to work for you but egg yolks are a good source of vitamin D.  Eggs aren’t just for breakfast anymore!  This amazing spinach and goat cheese frittata takes just 20 minutes to prepare.

One lesser known element that is immune beneficial is selenium.  Selenium has even been shown to slow certain forms of cancer.  Selenium can be found from broccoli to Brazil nuts.  Order sardines on your pizza, they’re rich in selenium.  Season with garlic and have some tuna fish for lunch, both are good sources of selenium.  If you like the seafood buffet, you’re in luck.  Oysters, lobster, mussels, squid, clams, and shrimp are all rich in selenium.  Snacking on walnuts, cashews, or macadamia nuts can be beneficial as well.  This is a light recipe for sautéed clams parmesan. It is delicious and can be served over whole grain pasta which is a good source of folic acid which is also beneficial for immune health.

We hope you enjoy the recipes we have provided.  If you prepare any and have any advice for others, please leave it in the comments below.  Have a healthy and happy holiday season!

Topics: COPD, oxygen therapy, immune system,, healthy eating