Cures in your cupboard

Without scientific studies and statistics, Moms have known that some foods had the power to cure. Now scientists are finding out just how big a part food can play in the prevention and treatment of certain ailments. Armed with some of this knowledge, parents may be able to reduce their trips to the doctor's office and drug store, save a few dollars and ultimately contribute to the longevity and wellness of their children.

Many of the illnesses that benefit from the use of particular food as a remedy include bacterial infections, colds and flu, asthma and allergies as well as cancer and heart disease. Foods can also act as an immune system stimulant and thus act as a preventative aid.

To start with, a child's overall good health depends on a well balanced diet of variety and moderation. Beyond that, specific foods, or more accurately the nutrients or a non-nutritive substance in that food, can play a proven role in helping to get or keep your child healthy. The following are some foods and the ways and whys in which they are effective.

Foods that stimulate immunity a well functioning immune system can help ward off illnesses from minor bacterial infections and viruses to cancer. All kinds of compounds exist in foods that serve as immune boosters. These foods give "ammunition" to those cells responsible for destroying foreign invaders. Some of the best foods proven to do that include....

Yogurt: What luck that such a great kid food can be so beneficial. Several recent and reliable scientific studies have shown that by eating only six ounces of yogurt a day you can help prevent colds and significantly reduce hay fever symptoms. The yogurt must contain live cultures of lactobacillus bulgarius or bifidobacteria, which most common grocery store variety yogurts have. The effect begins after 4 or 5 months of daily consumption. This allows the levels of infection fighting gamma interferon to build up in the blood. So if you know you or your child will suffer from rag weed allergy in the late summer, start eating six ounces (that's a little less than a cup) of yogurt every day in the late spring. Want to help stave off those winter colds? Eat some cool and refreshing yogurt all summer long! An added bonus...yogurt also has proven anti-cancer activity.


Garlic: Garlic increases the potency of two important cells of the immune system...the T-lymphocytes and the macrophages. Eat it raw or cooked. Lots of garlic is easy to get. Add a few crushed garlic cloves to the all time kid-favorite spaghetti sauce. Put it in homemade soups, stir-fries, meat marinades, stews, meatloaf, salad dressings and any other number of kid pleasing recipes.

Fruits and vegetables: Eat those especially high in beta carotene and vitamin C since those are the ingredients that stimulate immune defenses. Foods high in beta-carotene include carrots, cantaloupe, spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, apricots, and pumpkin. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, broccoli, melon, red peppers and strawberries.

Zinc: This mineral is not only good for kids but good for grandparents. Zinc can help revitalize an aging immune system. Studies also show that wounds heal more slowly if there is a zinc deficiency. Eat oysters, lean beef, port, turkey, or lamb for a good source of zinc. Some can also be found in brown rice, salmon, and yogurt.

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