Super Immunity: What Dr. Fuhrman Has To Say!

We are living in the era of rapid advancement in science and technology. The field of medicine has advanced to such a great extent, that we should be able to live much better life than our ancestors. But is this possible in reality?

The world is on the brink of a big medical problem- epidemic of non-communicable diseases. Thanks to our modern lifestyle, more and more people are affected by hypertension, heart disorders, diabetes and cancer. Even the minor bacterial infections like cold, flu and sinusitis tend to linger a quite deal longer these days.

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The need for developing a strong immune system is more felt than ever. According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, “Our immune system is like an angel, watching over our lives and protecting us from the risks around us.”

In his book, Super Immunity, Dr. Fuhrman further describes, how to develop the body’s immunity to work at its full potential. In this age of rapid developments, we can make dietary choices for a better healthy lifestyle. In fact, we can develop our immunity to such extent that we will be resistant to all virus-related illnesses or can bounce back within a short time of contacting them.

Here are some snippets from the book.

Phytochemicals: The gen-next vitamins
Dr. Fuhrman dedicates an entire chapter to describe the benefits of phytochemicals present in the plants. Plant-based foods are rich in these substances. Scientists have discovered the nutritional benefits of phytochemicals and found that they help to increase our immunity. These nutrients are not found in processed foods or animal products. Phytochemicals play the protective role not covered by vitamins and minerals.

If we acknowledge the role of these nutrients, we should consume a combination of foods enough to build a first line of defence against virus attacks.

Modern medicines are feeding us with chemicals and a false perception
Many diseases in today’s time are consequences of improper nutrition and faulty lifestyle. The diseases such as hypertension, heart diseases, arthritis, diabetes, and cancer can be easily prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle and strict dietary measures, however instead modern medicine have put efforts on finding the cure for these diseases. He also emphasises that even though a simple self-limiting disease like common flu can be cured with adequate rest and home remedies, millions of rupees are invested in developing flu shots.

Conditions that require a visit to the doctor
Rapid breathing
Breathing with grunting or wheezing sounds
Laboured breathing (in a child, with rib muscles retracting)
Abdominal pain (more common in children)
Changes in behaviour or mental status, such as disorientation or lack of alertness
Persistent diarrhoea or vomiting (more common with children), especially if unable to hold down sufficient fluids
Persistent fever above 103 degrees for three days

Super foods for super immunity!
Certain plant foods contain significant amounts of substances that enhance human immune function and defenses against acute illness and chronic disease. To emphasize this point, Dr. Fuhrman describes experiences of his own patients, their war with late stages of cancer and how dietary changes helped them to build immunity against the cancer cells helping their body to defend against the toxins and eventually emerge as a winner.

Fever is a positive sign that the body is fighting the infection
Fever is a good thing when we have viral illnesses, as well as all infections, because it increases the ability of the white blood cells to stop and kill viruses and virus-infected cells. Antibiotics and fever suppressants do more harm than good. Simple measures like drinking warm fluids, adequate rest and eating a balanced diet will help to overcome many febrile illnesses.

Nutritional goals:
1. Eat a large salad every day.
2. Eat at least a half-cup serving of beans/legumes in soup, salad, or another dish once daily.
3. Eat at least three fresh fruits a day, especially berries, pomegranate seeds, cherries, plums, oranges.
4. Eat at least one ounce of raw nuts and seeds a day.
5. Eat at least one large (double-size) serving of green vegetables daily, either raw, steamed, or in soups or stews.

Avoid these five deadliest foods:
1. Barbecued meat, processed meat, and commercial red meat
2. Fried foods
3. Full-fat dairy (cheese, ice cream, butter, whole milk) and trans fats (margarine)
4. Soft drinks, sugar, and artificial sweeteners

Top ten super foods as per Dr. Fuhrman:
1. Collard greens
2. Mustard greens
3. Turnip greens
4. Kale
5. Watercress
6. Brussels sprouts
7. Bok choy
8. Spinach
9. Arugula
10. Cabbage
11. Broccoli
12. Cauliflower

Plant-based diet is the best
Dr. Fuhrman advocates plant-based diet over animal products and supports the same with evidence from numerous studies and his own experience of treating his patients. Other important topics covered in the book are the role of antioxidants, probiotics, soy and omega 3 fatty acids. Lastly the book also enlists recipes of yummy foods which one can include in their daily diet.
So if you are wondering how to develop a strong immunity and how to prevent illness and embrace wellness, this book is a must read. Not only it clears many doubts regarding nutrition but also guides us about positive changes we need to adopt to enjoy a healthy life.

References:
SUPER IMMUNITY
The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Body’s Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free Joel Fuhrman, M.D

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