Tag Archives: Healthy eating

Germ Buster Nutrition – Eating for a Strong Immune System

Posted on: October 13, 2015

Germ Buster Nutrition – Eating for a Strong Immune System

Prevent the flu with good nutrition. 

By Elisa Bremner

In anticipation of flu season, it’s time to talk about prevention. First and foremost, please remember: the best defense against the flu is a year-round offense. This means eating right, staying active (60 minutes every day), getting enough rest (7-9 hours!) and minimizing stress (we can’t avoid stressful events in our life, but we can make the decision to handle them better). That being said, several nutrients play a role in enhancing your immunity. Mild deficiency of even one nutrient may weaken your body’s ability to fight infection.

“ACE” Germ Prevention 101!

Vitamins A, C and E, known as anti-oxidants, work together to protect you from infections and stressors on the body. Vitamin A keeps the skin and mucous membranes healthy, fortifying your first line of defense. It’s easy to find Vitamin A’s precursor, beta carotene, in orange-colored fruits and vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, apricots and mango. Eat these, and your body can make the vitamin A you need. Vitamin C stimulates the formation of antibodies, boosting immunity. Citrus fruits provide good amounts of Vitamin C, as do kiwis, strawberries, red peppers and tomatoes. Vitamin E neutralizes free radicals, stressors on the body which can cause cellular damage or disease. Foods highest in Vitamin E include sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach and safflower oil.

Although we tend to associate protein strictly with muscle, it plays an integral role in the body’s defense mechanism, important to growth and repair. As with all things food, moderation is still necessary, more is not necessarily better. Choose a variety of protein sources, including fish and other seafood, poultry, eggs, lean meat, legumes, soy products, nuts and seeds.

One mineral that helps the immune system work properly is zinc. Food sources of zinc include lean beef, wheat germ, shellfish, wheat bran, sunflower seeds, black-eyed peas, almonds, milk and tofu.

Other nutrients, including vitamin B6, folate, selenium, iron and copper, as well as prebiotics and probiotics, may also influence immune response. A plant-based diet rich in whole foods (unprocessed) that includes variety, especially a variety of fruits and vegetables is the best way to prevent disease. Whether you’re talking about a sniffle, the flu or cancer, the advice is the same. Make sure you are eating 5-9 servings of colorful fruits and vegetables every day, and please don’t restrict it to those mentioned above.

Germ-Buster Salad

10 oz. baby spinach
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp. sunflower seeds
2 tsp. safflower oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Eat and enjoy fortifying your defenses.

For more information about boosting your immune system and keeping healthy through nutrition, consult a Registered Dietitian.

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Westchester Registered Dietitian on Helping Kids Make Healthy Food Choices

Posted on: June 25, 2014

Empower Your Child to Eat Healthy…For Life


By Elisa Bremner

Family All Together At Christmas DinnerYour child loves ice cream (who doesn’t?). You love your child. So how do you limit junk food or sweets to help them maintain a healthy weight? In this age of sedentary video game play and easy availability of high-calorie snacks, the challenge for busy parents is finding practical ways to help kids make good food choices.

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Westchester Hospital Dietician Discusses Healthier Halloween Candy Alternatives

Posted on: October 12, 2013

5 Healthier Halloween Candy Choices 

by Stephanie Perruzza, MS, RD, CDN, Northern Westchester Hospital

Jack-O-Lantern2Let’s be honest, when October rolls around we all know that we look forward to the large displays of Halloween candy in the supermarkets. This can be quite the competitive holiday for trick-or-treaters, challenging who can cover the most trick-or-treating ground collecting the most candy.  It’s no shock that Halloween candy can be high in fat and sugar, which is why it’s important to watch your portions so the calories don’t add up.  To stay on track keep in mind these simple tips when it comes to candy hunting:

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Westchester Hospital Dietitian Discusses Healthy Lunches for Back to School

Posted on: August 25, 2013

Packing A Healthy Lunchbag

by Stephanie Perruzza, MS, RD, CDN, Northern Westchester Hospital


September is back-to-school month …getting organized around books, supplies and first day back-to-school outfits, etc., etc…  We want to make this one task easier:  Packing the lunch bag.

You know that with a healthy meal, your child gets the energy s/he needs to make it through the day and thrive.  A healthy lunch can allow your child perform and study well, be more attentive in class and even maintain a healthy weight.  Save these tips below and your child will keep that healthy lunch rather than ditch it or swap it for a bag of chips or soda:

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Westchester Hosptial Dietitian Discusses Going Gluten Free

Posted on: August 19, 2013

Going Gluten-Free

by Amy Rosenfeld, MS, RD, CDN, Northern Westchester Hospital

gluten free stampIs everyone you know going gluten-free? While a gluten-free diet is trendy, it is less appropriate for weight loss but crucial in the treatment of celiac disease.

A protein found in wheat, rye, barley and most oats (although there are some certified gluten-free oat products), gluten is the base of bread products and works as an emulsifier and thickener in packaged foods. In healthy individuals, gluten is perfectly healthy. For celiac patients, however, gluten damages the small intestines, causing inflammation and malabsorption of nutrients. Over time, nutrient deficiencies and conditions can develop, including osteoporosis or poor growth in children.

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