BOOK SHARE – HOW NOT TO DIE, Michael Gregor MD
CHAPTER 5 – HOW NOT TO DIE FROM INFECTIONS
I have just read this book and it has really made me stop and think about the food I eat.
In How Not to Die, Dr Michael Gregor examines the top causes of premature death for heart disease , cancers, diabetes and more – and explains how nutritional and lifestyle interventions can sometimes trump prescription pills and other pharmaceutical and surgical approaches, freeing us to enjoy better health.
It’s a very BIG book with a HUGE reference section. Every month I’m going to try and pick out the key points for each section and I highly recommend reading the book for yourself. Prevention is better than cure. I am not advising anyone to follow the suggestions in the book, i’m just passing on the information.
5. HOW NOT TO DIE FROM INFECTIONS
Nearly 3/4 of all emerging and re-emerging human diseases arise from the animal kingdom.
Most human infectious diseases were unknown before domestication led to a mass spillover of animal disease into human populations. E.G: TB/Tuberculosis appears to have been acquired through the domestication of goats.
Measles and smallpox may have risen from mutant cattle viruses.
Whooping cough through domesticated pigs, typhoid fever through chickens and influenza from ducks.
Your baseline immune function is not just active when you have a fever, its active every day to save you from pathogens that surround and live inside you. In every breath you take, you inhale thousands of bacteria and every bite you eat, you can ingest millions more. Most are harmless but some can cause serious infectious diseases: ebola, influenza and pneumonia.
We have a billion different B cells in our bodies ready to attack any antibodies that may invade. As you get older your immune system declines. Certain fruits and vegetables may give the immune system an extra boost: kale, broccoli & berries.
Probiotics may have immunity-enhancing effects but there isn’t enough evidence to suggest people start popping probiotic pills.
Instead, it is suggested to feed your friendly gut flora with fibre and a certain type of starch concentrated in beans, called prebiotics.
Probiotics are the good bacteria themselves. Whereas Prebiotics are what your good bacteria eat. So the best way to keep your good bacteria happy and well fed is to eat lots of whole plant foods.
When you eat fresh produce you get both pre- & probiotics in your gut.
You can also boost the immune system with exercise, e.g: if you let kids run around for 6 minutes, the level of immune cells circulating in their blood increases by nearly 50%.
At the other end of the life cycle, regular exercise can also help prevent age-related immune decline.
Approximately 95% of all infections start in the mucosal (moist) surfaces, including the eyes, nostrils and mouth. These surfaces are protected by antibodies called IGA (short for Immunoglobulin, Type A). Moderate exercise may be all it takes to boost IGA levels and significantly reduce the chance of coming down with flu like symptoms.
Beware: over training and excessive stress can increase the risk of infection
NHS GUIDELINES: To stay healthy, adults aged 19 to 64 should try to be active daily and should do: at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or brisk walking every week.
There are a number of foods that may help you maintain your immunity and keep germs at bay:
1. Chlorella, sold as powder or tablets
2. Nutritional yeast
Pathogens (from the Greek pathos, for “suffering” and genes, meaning “producer of” can also be found in what you eat. Food poisoning is an infection caused by eating contaminated food.
One of the reasons animal foods are the leading culprits is that most foodborne pathogens are faecal pathogens. Because plants don’t poop, the increased odds for catching E.coli (an intestinal pathogen) from spinach is fiftyfold due to the application of manure to crops.
Poultry & Salmonella
Eating chickens, not their eggs is the most common source of Salmonella poisoning. Proper cooking kills salmonella so the problem lies with cross-contamination on hands, utensils and kitchen surfaces. Always use different chopping boards for uncooked and cooked meat.