Health Services Newsletter

Southwest ISD

Immune Boosting Foods

A healthy diet is extremely important when it comes to building up a strong immune system and also preventing diseases. We need a strong immune system to help fight off bacteria and viruses like the flu and Covid-19 or coronavirus. Your immune system creates a barrier and prevents these bacteria or viruses from entering your body. When your immune system is weak you will have a tougher time fighting viruses like Covid-19.


There are 3 very important vitamins and minerals that help build a strong immune system. They are Vitamin C, Zinc, and Magnesium. All 3 are great antioxidants.


Vitamin C


Vitamin C is helpful with immune defense mechanisms, wound healing, protein synthesis, and the synthesis of collagen and certain neurotransmitters. You can get Vitamin C by eating the following foods:

Oranges * Grapefruit * Strawberries * Cantelope * Tomatoes Red and green peppers * Broccoli * Brussel sprouts * Cabbage * Cauliflower * Potatoes



Zinc

Zinc is a nutrient that can reduce the duration of a virus. Zinc helps our body with cellular metabolism, immune function, wound healing, growth and development, proper taste and smell, and protein synthesis. You can get Zinc in your diet by eating the following foods:

Cashews * Chickpeas * Yogurt and milk products * Dark Chocolate * Pumpkin seeds * Whole Grains * Seafood * Poultry * Eggs * Beans and peas * Nuts * Oysters * Red Meat *

Ready to eat breakfast cereals that are Zinc fortified


Magnesium


Magnesium plays an important role in immune response and many other reactions in the body. Magnesium plays a role in protein synthesis, muscle function, nerve function, blood pressure regulation, synthesis of RNA and DNA, and magnesium also takes part in the active transport of calcium and potassium. Magnesium rich foods include the following:

Almonds * Spinach * Whole grains * Cashews * Peanuts * Fortified breakfast cereals * Black beans * Peanut butter * Avocado * Dark chocolate * Brown rice * Plain yogurt * Bananas * Kidney beans * Salmon * Chicken * Broccoli * Apples * Tofu



Vitamin C, Zinc, and Magnesium are all crucial in keeping your immune system strong and fighting off bacteria and viruses like colds, flu, and Covid-19. All of these foods listed can also keep you healthy in general and help prevent diseases.

Recipes using Immune Boosting Foods

Mac and Cheese with Chicken and Broccoli (4 servings)


An easy way to bump up your mac and cheese!


Ingredients

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

1 cup milk

1 cup water

1 package (14oz) Kraft Deluxe Macaroni & Cheese Dinner made with 2% Milk Cheese

1 package (10oz) frozen broccoli florets, thawed


Directions

  1. Cook and stir chicken in a large nonstick skillet on medium heat 8 to 10 min. Or until done.

  2. Add milk, water, and Macaroni; stir. Bring to boil; cover. Simmer on medium-low heat 8 to 10 minutes or until macaroni is tender, stirring occasionally.

  3. Stir in Cheese sauce and broccoli; cook and stir 5 minutes or until heated through.


Variations

  • Prepare using 1 package (7 ¼ oz) KRAFT Macaroni and Cheese Dinner

  • Prepare using chopped fresh broccoli - add the broccoli at the same time as the milk and water, bring to a boil and cook for 3 - 5 minutes. Next, add macaroni and continue to cook until macaroni is tender, stirring occasionally. Finish as in step 3 above.


Nutrition information when made with the original ingredients: Calories 480, Total Fat 9g, Cholesterol 85mg, Sodium 1020mg, Carbs 56g, Dietary Fiber 4g, Protein 41g.

Strawberry-Banana-Peanut Butter Smoothie

The name of the recipe says it all! It’s like a PB&J with less carbs.

It provides a ½ serving of dairy and 1 ½ servings of fruit.


Ingredients

½ cup nonfat plain yogurt - you can try strawberry or vanilla yogurt

2 tablespoons peanut butter - smooth or chunky

1 banana, sliced

4 fresh strawberries, sliced or chopped

10 ice cubes


Directions

Place yogurt, peanut butter, banana, strawberries, and ice cubes into a blender and puree until smooth.


Nutrition information when made with nonfat plain yogurt: Calories 389, Fat 18.8g, Carbs 16.2g, Cholesterol 7mg, Sodium 243mg

Strawberry Sunrise Breakfast Smoothie - but you can have it anytime of day!

This is a quick, easy smoothie that provides a ½ serving of fruit and 1 ½ serving of dairy.


Ingredients

1 cup low-fat milk

½ cup strawberries sliced or chopped

½ cup low-fat plain yogurt - you could try strawberry or vanilla yogurt too!


Directions

Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. Add a cup of ice, if desired.


Nutrition information when made with low-fat plain yogurt and low-fat milk: Calories 178, Fat 2.4g, Carbs 25g, Sodium 207mg, Sugar 23.1g, Fiber 1.4g, Protein 14.7g, Cholesterol 12mg


STAY ACTIVE- BENEFITS OF BEING OUTDOORS

Being outdoors is fun, but even more importantly, it’s good for the brain, body, and soul. Here are some scientific reasons why you should get up close and personal with Mother Nature.


1. BEING OUTDOORS BOOSTS YOUR ENERGY.


Craving another cup of coffee? Maybe you should skip the caffeine and sit outside instead. One study suggests that spending 20 minutes in the open air gives your brain an energy boost comparable to one cup of coffee.


2. IT FEELS EASIER TO EXERCISE OUTDOORS.


Does it seem noticeably easier to exercise outside? This might be thanks to your verdant surroundings. In one small study, researchers had cyclists pedal in front of green, grey, and red video footage. The bikers who exercised in front of the green reported feeling less physical exertion and more positive moods—meaning that grass, trees, and plants might add a psychological energy boost to your workout.


3. THE OUTDOORS IS GOOD FOR YOUR VISION.


Research shows that elementary school students who spend more time outdoors are less likely to develop nearsightedness.


4. NATURAL SUNLIGHT HELPS ALLEVIATE PAIN.


In one study, surgery patients who were exposed to high-intensity sunlight reported less stress and marginally less pain, and therefore took less pain medication.


5. THE OUTDOORS BOOSTS YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM.


Scientists think that breathing in phytoncides—airborne chemicals produced by plants—increases our levels of white blood cells, helping us fight off infections and diseases.


6. THE OUTDOORS PROVIDES YOU WITH FREE AROMATHERAPY.


According to science, you really should stop and smell the flowers. Research shows that natural scents like roses, freshly cut grass, and pine make you feel calmer and more relaxed.


7. THE OUTDOORS ENHANCES CREATIVITY.


If you’re struggling with writer’s block, you might want to ditch your laptop for the great outdoors. Psychologists found that backpackers scored 50 percent higher on creativity tests after spending a few days in the wild without electronics.


8. THE OUTDOORS HELPS WITH SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER.


In the winter, shorter days and lower light levels can trigger Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD—a reoccurring condition that’s marked by symptoms of anxiety, exhaustion, and sadness. Doctors say spending time outside can lessen SAD’s severity—even if the weather’s cold or overcast.


9. BEING OUTDOORS GIVES YOU YOUR DAILY DOSE OF VITAMIN D.


Vitamin D is essential for a well-functioning body. It helps us absorb calcium, it prevents osteoporosis, and it reduces inflammation, among other things. Although vitamin D is present in some foods, like salmon and fortified milk, we get more than 90 percent of our vitamin D from casual exposure to sunlight.


10. THE OUTDOORS RESTORES YOUR FOCUS.


Can’t concentrate at work? Leave your office for a few minutes and go stroll in a nearby park. Studies show that walking in nature helps restore our focus.


11. THE OUTDOORS MAKES US BETTER PEOPLE.


According to psychologists, exposure to nature helps us shrug off societal pressures, allowing us to remember and value more important things like relationships, sharing, and community.

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Honoring those on the front lines! Nurse Yani (McAuliffe Middle School) and Nurse Kristy (Medio Creek Elementary) Thank you!

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