Mission: Nutrition – Eating Well as You Age (Part 3)

Although we’re still snug in summer’s golden embrace, before you know it we will once again be caught in the throes of a notorious Michigan winter. It’s always wise, particularly for seniors and caregivers to be proactive and prepare to wage war against flu season, and other immune system antagonists.

 

People 65 years and older are at greater risk of serious complications from the flu compared with their younger counterparts because the immune defenses becomes weaker as we age. Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.

 

In this installment, we will explore several ingredients that will fortify your immune system and then combine them into a flavor packed dish that will delight your palate!

 

Lemons-

Lemons are high in vitamin C, a natural antioxidant that enhances the immune system and has antiviral and antibacterial properties. Lemon juice is reported to decrease the strength of the cold and flu virus in the body and reduce phlegm. Add lemon juice to your tea or make hot or cold lemonade with honey to stay well, build resistance to cold and flu, and speed up healing if you do succumb.     

Parsley-

We’ve covered some of the wonders of this fresh and vibrant herb in part 2, but parsley can also be used to reduce mucus in the first stages of a cold and influenza, it also acts as an antimicrobial for a large array of organisms.

Whole Grains-

Whole grains are packed with zinc, calcium, iron and fiber, which are all integral to a healthy body and it’s a delicious way to boost your immune system and ward off the nasty flu bug.

 

You can incorporate all of these superfoods to create a fresh and vibrant middle eastern salad called Tabbouleh. This dish is fantastic for vegetarians, and as part of a low fat diet.

 

Tabbouleh             Tabbouleh    

 

Ingredients:

 

  • ¼ cup fine bulgur wheat
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced (optional)
  • Juice of 2 large lemons, to taste
  • 3 cups chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley(from 3 large bunches)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
  • ½ pound ripe tomatoes, very finely chopped
  • 1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

 

Directions:

 

  1. Place the bulgur in a bowl, and cover with water by 1/2 inch. Soak for 20 minutes, until slightly softened. Drain through a cheesecloth-lined strainer, and press the bulgur against the strainer to squeeze out excess water. Transfer to a large bowl, and toss with the garlic, lemon juice, parsley, mint, tomatoes, scallions and salt. Leave at room temperature or in the refrigerator for two to three hours, so that the bulgur can continue to absorb the seasoned liquid and swell.

More healthful and mouth watering recipes await. Look for our next installment of Mission: Nutrition-Eating Well as You Age (Part 4), where we take a look at Dementia.