Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on February 20, 2008
I have suffered this winter – through two bouts with norovirus and now with the x4n3, or whatever the latest flu is called. It’s been pretty miserable. I generally eat healthy, too, but over the past several years, I’ve noticed that my immune system needs a shot during flu season. This year, I didn’t give my body the extra protection, either from supplements of from eating immuno-foods.
Immuno-foods? The NY Times recently reported a new trend for fashionable, health-conscious restaurants that caught my eye while I was nursing my bug. Some restaurants, like Crustacean in LA, are marking menu items with special immune-boosting ingredients. This doesn’t mean the food is healthier necessarily; all it means is that there are compounds in the food associated with increasing immunity, like zinc, foliate, omega-3 oils, etc. In some ways it’s a marketing ploy, but it’s raising awareness of what’s in what you eat.
Although there is widespread belief that these compounds actually help (and we’ve all dosed up on some of them when we feel icky), most doctors will tell you that the links between compounds and health are rather shaky. But that’s western medicine nosing in with its rigid belief system of randomized trials. Eastern medicine has been around much longer and has arguably similar (if not better) benefits — without the pills or scalpels.
Personally, I’m glad to see restaurants taking action to help diners make better food choices. The “natural supplement” craze has entrenched itself in our culture, but supplements themselves cannot produce desired health benefits; there is growing evidence that the supplements must work together within a food to be fully beneficial. But if you’re like me, you’ll wait until you think you really need the extra boost before you wander into the health food store for this year’s magic extract.
Another glass of lemon grass and carrot juice. And can you add a dash of bee pollen and some agaricus?
Still want some naturopathic remedies? Check out the Green Pharmacy.
(via New York Times)