Ensuring good immune system health also requires paying close attention to your diet.
What you eat, how you prepare and cook it can hurt the health of your immune system.
You may have had the same mindset as me, thinking that you were good as long as you were eating a varied diet.
This post gives you my personal experience and takes on healthy eating and healthy cooking methods.
We’ll look at vitamin and mineral-packed foods you can easily incorporate into your diet.
I’ll also explain how you can preserve the integrity of food by a healthier method of cooking.
- Until I Had A Health Scare
- Vitamin & Mineral Supplements
- Children Learn What They Live
- The Time for Change
- Taking Advantage Is Not Always a Bad Thing
- Healthy Cooking Methods
- I Am Now A Fully Fledged Ninja Foodi Warrior
- You Don’t Have to Compromise on Taste
Losing weight is something I do quickly and often, especially when stressed.
I have always struggled to hold on to weight and have never had to count calories.
This side of the weight spectrum is not recognised or discussed as much.
“Being slim does not necessarily equate to good health.”
My work environment didn’t help much, either working in a fast-paced environment within Children & Family Services.
Working for many years in children’s residential homes meant I was on the go constantly, running on empty most time.
I relied on sweet coffee, Lucozade (a popular glucose drink sold in the UK), crisps and chocolate to keep me go.
I was getting most of my energy from sugar.
Long shifts and overnight sleep-ins meant I grabbed anything quick and convenient to eat, something that I could throw in the microwave.
It’s affected my appetite and diet terribly; this was my lifestyle for over 20 years.
Until I Had A Health Scare
At 46, my cholesterol levels were sky-high; my doctor prescribed me a 40mg daily dose of “Simvastatin”.
I was surprised to learn it was the same dose given to patients with severe hypercholesterolaemia or a high risk of developing cardiovascular complications.
This revelation was such a shock; I had no previous indication that there was a problem with my cholesterol levels, didn’t even consider it.
I wasn’t overweight; I did not have high blood pressure or Diabetes, two illnesses that usually go hand in hand with high cholesterol.
I didn’t realise I had such dangerously high levels of cholesterol in my blood as well.
I had to cut out full-fat milk, which I drank tons of, chocolate which I ate tons of, Lucozade (a high glucose drink) and alcohol.
The saying “everything in moderation” really hit home for me,
Cutting out and cutting down on these few things meant that I quickly brought my cholesterol levels under control and right back down to normal.
That’s how they have been ever since.
My whole way of cooking and what I eat over the past five years has changed drastically.
I began to take heed of my body’s alarm bells.
It didn’t happen overnight, and it was tough initially. I am not perfect, and I still have work to do.
At 54, during this COVID 19 pandemic, I had to step up my game big time.
I am more concerned about having to take a trip to the doctors than catching the coronavirus.
I now take what I eat, drink and certain lifestyle habits exceptionally seriously.
Vitamin & Mineral Supplements
I also began looking more closer look at what vitamin and minerals my immune system needs to function at its best.
Finding out how the immune system works and what it can do, lead me to incorporate supplements into my diet also.
Vitamin and mineral supplements play an essential role in ensuring good immune system health.
They should never be used to replace a healthy, well-balanced diet; supplements are meant to complement your diet.
Supplements also give you a much-needed boost dependent on need, circumstance, age, lifestyle, deficiency or illness.
Children Live What They Learn
I was born and raised in the East Midlands, England, in a Jamaican household which meant lots of rich foods.
We ate a varied and well-balanced diet, including all the good stuff such as fish, salads, greens, vegetables, rice, pulses and fruit.
However, the issue wasn’t around the content; it was more to do with some cooking methods back then, which I naturally carried into adulthood.
Meat and fish were usually fried unless they were steamed and always well seasoned, the key to flavour and taste.
However, many seasonings contain high salt levels, which is terrible for you.
Vegetables were usually overcooked, more than we tend to cook them nowadays.
Although tasty, these cooking methods cancel out many of the essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients they contained.
The Time for Change
Over the years, nations have been encouraged to use less oil, less salt and sugar, grill, roast, bake, and steam food.
We have been encouraged to eat more greens and fruit and to cook our vegetables to less.
Steaming food maintains the integrity of the vitamin and minerals they contain.
Over the years, I have gradually adopted these methods more and more.
I also began to pay more attention to the healthier things I had grown up around but had never really paid to much attention to before.
In particular, the Aloe Vera plant, otherwise known as the ‘doctor plant’ or ‘Sickle Bible’, and from there, I never looked back.
I also left a stressful profession I had been doing for over 20 years and embarked on a whole new life.
My life changed dramatically, and I travelled back and forth from the UK, USA, Grand Cayman, Bermuda and Jamaica.
Travelling has been an excellent opportunity for me to experience all the wonderfully fresh, organic, and nutritious foods each country had to offer.
Taking Advantage Is Not Always a Bad Thing
On my quest to create a healthier, happier, newer me, I took advantage of all the glorious foods I came across.
I became obsessed with homemade smoothies, well with all those beautiful, colourful fruit and veg at my disposal, how could I resist.
I had discovered a new healthy go-to, deliciously exotic and sweet without the need to add sugar, perfect.
I would check out YouTube for is ideas and inspiration. I learnt a lot too, and began experimenting with lots of different ingredients.
I use Aloe Vera, spinach (a heavyweight in the world of nutrition), carrots and different types of fruits, including the seeds and the peel.
These bits contain the most nutrients, which unwittingly we usually throw away.
Healthy Cooking Methods
I first used the “Ninja Air fryer on my travels in the US. It cooks fried foods with very little to no oil.
You can fry, roast, bake, among other things, to create healthier snacks, sides and full meals.
Meat tastes good when cooked in a Ninja; all the juices get locked in, making the meat very juicy and tender.
I was sceptical at first, but I quickly became Ninja’s biggest fan.
I Am Now A Fully Fledged Ninja Foodi Warrior!
In the UK, I had to make sure I had one there too, so I went out and brought myself the mother of all air fryers.
The Ninja Foodi Max is an air fryer and a pressure cooker, and seven other cooking functions.
Gone are the days of cutting out the foods that I love because of the oil content, no more deep fat frying.
The Ninja also steams vegetables to perfection, and it can even make homemade yoghurt.
Now I have a much healthier way of cooking the fried dishes my family and I enjoy.
Click the link to read: My Ninja Foodi Max Pressure Cooker & Air Fryer Overview
You Don’t Have to Compromise on Taste
Preserving the integrity of the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients during the cooking process is vital.
It’s a real shame to waste them in this way when they are so essential to you and your immune system.
However, enjoying the foods you love without having to cut them out of your diet entirely or compromise on taste and texture is essential.
You don’t need to turn into a rabbit to enjoy healthy food; just a few changes here and there.
It takes time to change habits and lifestyle, but it becomes more manageable and easier over time.
Take one day at a time; go easy on yourself. As long as you are making efforts, you are halfway there.
Please, as always, feel free to join the discussion; your contribution is encouraged and always very much appreciated.
*Please note the information in this post is intended for general information and not used as a substitute for healthcare professionals’ expertise and judgment.