8th GOVEG Asia Magazine

 

BY:  Luo Wen Hui |PHOTO:Lao Mian

 

COVID-19 has swept around the globe, putting many lives at risk. Only now do we truly realize the importance of health. We begin to fear, even panic. As a result of this pandemic, more and more of us are beginning to pay attention to health and think about the meaning of being healthy.  

 

 

People usually think that being healthy equals being young or without disease. But this is not always true. The young, for example, are not exempt from diseases. There are more and more reports of people with cancer at a young age, of teenagers with terminal cancer, diabetes, heart disease and so on. Serious diseases are no longer the sole preserve of the elderly.

 

So why do some people get sick and some do not? As is commonly understood, it has to do with the power of immunity: the stronger one’s immunity, the less likely one is to get sick. The weaker the immunity, on the other hand, the more prone the body is to illnesses. 

 

Immunity is actually created by a guardian hidden in the body - the immune system. Without a strong immune system, a single speck of dust is enough to kill us. The immune system is like our body's defence forces: air force, ground forces, special forces and so on.

 

The immune system protects our bodies at all moments if it functions well. What the immune system needs in order to function well is good nutrition. The most important thing that we must do every day is make sure that we provide enough nutrition to ensure that our immune system functions well.

 

So how do we do this? Nutritional Immunology is a discipline that studies the relationship between nutrition and the immune system. Studies in this field show that a low-fat vegan diet helps to support and strengthen our immune systems.

 

So why low-fat veggies? We have to talk about "lipids", which include both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These are essential for many aspects of health including brain development, cancer prevention, bone health, eye health, depression prevention and pain relief.

 

Omega-3 fatty acids cannot be produced in the body itself and must be obtained from the diet, and omega-6 fatty acids are also essential for the development of the brain. However, excessive intake of omega-6 fatty acids can cause great harm to the body. The optimal ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids in the daily diet is between 1:1 and 4:1. However, the modern diet has 14 to 25 times more omega-6  than omega-3 fatty acids.

 

An unbalanced ratio of omega-6 fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids will increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, osteoporosis, inflammation and autoimmune diseases. This is largely because of the amount of oils we use in modern cooking. Although plant foods are beneficial to health, refined plant oil is not, due to its altered structure. No cooking oil is beneficial to the human body. If you have to use oil to cook, choose the least harmful oil.

 

To help us choose the least harmful oil, we need to understand smoking points. Each type of oil has a different smoking point. As soon as the temperature reaches the smoking point, the oil begins to smoke and deteriorate, producing harmful substances.

 

Experts recommend choosing cooking oils based on different cooking methods. For example, relevant authorities in Taiwan have clearly stated that "cooking oil should not be heated past its smoking point, otherwise it will be oxidized and degraded, producing large amounts of free radicals and polymers that are harmful to health." Thus it is recommended to choose cooking oil according to the heat that will be applied in cooking.

 

Smoking points of common cooking oils and the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids:

 

Types of oil       Smoking Points  Omega-6 : Omega-3
Macadamia Nut Oil     210°C                    1:1
Perilla Seed Oil      202°C-250°C                1:4
Chia Seed Oil       160°C               1:4
Soybean Oil      160°C            7.1:1
Olive Oil     160°C        12.8 : 1
Tea Seed Oil       252°C            31.8 : 1
Sunflower Oil      107°C          39.4 : 1
Corn Oil          160°C        46.1 : 1
Sesame Oil      177°C        137  : 1  
Peanut Oil      160°C         32  :  0

         

When you look at this table you will see how important it is to avoid consuming too much harmful oil. If you have been feeling unwell and medicines have not been helping, you could try to reduce your oil intake slowly. It may help alleviate the situation.

 

Our immune system also needs other nutrients which are best supplied by a safe, natural whole food, plant-based diet. Phytonutrients provide our bodies with energy and essential nutrients, while antioxidants help to remove free radicals and reduce aging. Polysaccharides help our body repair cellular and genetic mutations and reduce the risk of cancer. Agricus blazei murrill mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms and maitake mushrooms are rich in polysaccharides and a variety of amino acids which are beneficial for the immune system. 

 

Nutritional Immunology is a science of disease prevention. “Prevention is better than cure” has always been the main goal of research and study in the field of Nutritional Immunology. A safe, natural and whole food plant-based diet allows the immune system to fully protect us against the invasion of bacteria, viruses and environmental toxins.

 

Today I'm going to introduce you to three seasonal low-fat vegetable recipes- one soup and two hot dishes - Zucchini and Mushroom Soup, Double Mushroom Gourd Roll, and Stir-fried Lotus Root with Ginger. Remember to go check them out in the recipes section of this magazine. They are very easy to make and hope you will enjoy these healthy and delicious vegan meals at home.

 

 姬松茸黃耳節瓜湯 Zucchini and Mushroom Soup

 

雙菇白玉卷 Double Mushroom Gourd Roll

 

 

子薑炒藕帶 Stir-fried Lotus Root with Ginger