Best Immune Boosting Foods For Your Body To Fight The Flu

immunity-booster-foodsAs the cold and flu season is drawing close again, now is the time for doing all that you can to protect yourself properly. And one of the best places to start is by properly feeding your immune system so you can boost it’s power to fight off those unwanted pesky ‘bugs’ that can drag you down. This season, more than ever, with the H1N1 Virus (aka Swine Flu) promising to wreck havoc on large numbers of the world’s population, you need to give your body the best possible opportunity along with the recommended flu vaccines to be strong enough to fight off  the effects of colds and flu that will be present all around you in your everyday life.

Read on as the top immune boosting foods and nutrients will be revealed to you to incorporate into your diet to help keep you healthy.

  • Vitamin C:

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid is a water-soluable  vitamin which is essential for normal functioning of the body. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant that protects against infection and enhances immunity.  Vitamin C works by increasing the production of white blood cells, which fight off infection.  It also works by increasing the production of antibodies and in particular, raises levels of interferon, the antibody that coats cell surfaces, preventing the entry of viruses.

Vitamin C  sources include citrus fruits (oranges-grapefruits), broccoli, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers (red-yellow-orange-green), strawberries, kiwi, papaya, mango and pineapple.

  • Vitamin E:

Vitamin E is important to a healthy immune system. One function of vitamin E is that it enhances the production of B-cells, the immune cells that produce antibodies that destroy bacteria. In fact, research shows that people who eat foods that are rich in vitamin E tend to have a higher immunity.

Vitamin E  rich foods are seeds, vegetable oils and grains.

  • Beta-carotene:

Beta Carotene enhances the functioning of your immune system.  Beta Carotene works by increasing the number of infection fighting cells, natural killer cells and helper T cells. To enhance the availability of the beta-carotene in these foods, they should be eaten raw or lightly steamed.  Getting the recommended 5-10 servings a day of fruits and vegetables will provide you with about 3-6 milligrams of beta-carotene.

Foods rich in beta-carotene include sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, spinach, turnip greens, winter squash, collard greens, cilantro and fresh thyme.

  • Zinc:

Zinc helps to prevent a weakened immune system. Studies have shown that a zinc deficiency can impair a number of white blood cells and platelets (blood cells involved in clotting), and can increase susceptibility to infection.  Excessive zinc intake, however, may impair immunity and increase infections.

Get an adequate amount of zinc in your diet by eating zinc rich foods such as oysters, liver, lean beef, pork, turkey, lamb, lentils, pumpkin and sesame seeds, garbanzo beans and yogurt.

  • Garlic:

Garlic is known for its cold-fighting abilities.  It increases the potency of two important cells of the immune system: T-lymphocytes and macrophages.  The immune-boosting properties of garlic appear to be due to its sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin and sulfides.

You can eat it raw or cooked – so start adding it to your favorite foods today!

  • Omega-3 fats:

The all important omega-3 fats are essential immune boosters, as they work by increasing the activity of phagocytes, the white blood cells that eat up bacteria. These fats also help strengthen cell membranes, thereby speeding up healing and strengthening resistance to infection in the body.  To boost omega-3 in your diet, try adding ground flax-seed to yogurt, baked goods, cereals or smoothies or use unrefined, cold-pressed flax seed oil as a salad dressing.

Omega-3 fats can be found in foods such as fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna), flax oil and flax-seeds, omega-3 eggs, nuts and seeds.


Immune Drainers ~~~

Some foods or unhealthy lifestyle behaviors can make a person more susceptible to colds and flu.  Avoid high-fat, high-sugar junk foods, as they can decrease the activity of the immune system.  It’s also best to avoid too much caffeine (soda, coffee, tea, chocolate) as caffeine can undermine your body’s immune system and act as a diuretic, which will deplete your body of water. Also — DON’T SMOKE! —  Smoking can impair your resistance as well as injure the respiratory tract, which makes you more susceptible to the flu.

As a reminder…..

Fatty and oily foods can interfere with immunity. It affects the white blood cells directly and reduces the immune strength.


Limit your intake of high proteins, high fat diet, caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, sweet foods to avoid weakening your immune system.



Lose Weight & Boost Energy With The Super Nutrients Known As The Fat-Fighting 4

Lose Weight & Boost Your Energy Level With The Fat-Fighting 4 Super Nutrients

fat-fighting-4-super-nutrientsYou’ve heard of mind-over-matter, haven’t you? Well then, let’s apply that concept to your food intake. Changing your thought process about food, healthy eating and losing weight could make a very positive difference in your lifestyle. Try looking at it this way – The latest news about the  amazing ways that eating — NOT dieting — can improve your health, help you lose weight and give you all-day energy just keeps getting better and better all the time. As a matter of fact, recent research studies show that certain nutrients found in several types of foods are powerful factors when it comes to balancing blood sugar and promoting weight loss. Take a close look here at the four “super nutrients” that can have a powerful effect on your weight, your energy level and your long-term health.

Introducing The Fabulous 4 Fat-Fighting Super Nutrients


Scientists aren’t sure how calcium burns body fat — some believe it reduces the fat-producing effects of a steroid hormone called “calcitriol”. What we do know is that it works — Researchers at the University of Tennessee found that obese people who went on a low-calorie diet that contained three daily servings of calcium rich dairy lost 70% more weight and 64% more body fat than those who ate just one serving of dairy a day.

  • What To Eat…..

Fat-free milk and low-fat dairy, spinach, kale, broccoli, and white beans


A landmark study from Tufts–New England Medical Center showed that low levels of vitamin D raise a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as 46%. Researchers believe vitamin D quells cellular inflammation that contributes to diabetes. Plus, your body needs D to absorb calcium—and together, they can help fight diabetes — According to the Nurses’ Health Study, an ongoing investigation of more than 83,000 women, those who consumed more than 1,200 mg of calcium and more than 800 IU of vitamin D a day were 33% less likely to have developed diabetes than those taking in less of both nutrients.

  • What To Eat…..

Salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna, fortified whole grain cereal, fortified fat-free milk, and Swiss cheese

3) – OMEGA-3s

New science published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that women who ate a balanced diet including omega-3s lost 1 1⁄2 more pounds of torso fat than women on the same exact diet but minus the omega-3s. These healthy fats slow the rate of digestion, which makes you feel fuller longer, so you eat fewer calories throughout the day.

  • What To Eat…..

Tofu, enriched eggs, shrimp, salmon, tuna, walnuts, flax, and flaxseed oil

4) – FIBER

Foods high in fiber are nutrient-rich, filling, and low in calories — a combination that makes them “weight loss wonders”. According to a study done at the University of Minnesota, people who stuck to higher-fiber diets lost 2 to 3 pounds more per month than those who followed lower-fiber diets. Fiber triggers hormones that control appetite, which also helps with weight loss. Plus, both soluble and insoluble fiber help control blood sugar — The soluble type dissolves in water and forms a thick gel during digestion, which can interfere with and slow down carbohydrate and glucose absorption in the intestines.  Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water. It stays solid and moves quickly through the digestive tract, so intestines have less time to absorb carbohydrates, and blood sugar levels stay even.

  • What To Eat…..

Whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, barley, oatmeal and oat bran, apples, pears, citrus fruits, carrots, beans, and artichokes


Nutritional Benefits of The 10 Most Important Vegetables

When it comes to vegetables, there are so many choices out there to choose from. All of them have their nutrient benefits. It’s just that some are more beneficial than others. The following should help you decide which ones to include more of in your diet.

Why Are Vegetables So Important?

vegetables_mixedSome veggies are loaded with nutrients and even have anti aging properties. According to the latest scientific studies, five servings a day of the most nutritious vegetables can not only help you to stay young, healthy and trim, they can also give you spectacular protection against cancer and heart disease.

So scientists keep telling us to eat more fruits and vegetables – five to nine a day. But the vast majority of the population aren’t even getting three, much less nine.

While most vegetables are low in calories and good for your body and overall health, some are definitely a whole lot better than others and offer many more vegetable nutrients.

The Most Nutritious Vegetables

Usually the best way to get your vegetable nutrients is to buy organically grown veggies and eat them raw, lightly steamed or in nutritious soups or stir-fries.

So here is that list of the top 10 most important and nutritious vegetables — in no particular order:

~ The Top 10 List ~

1st) – Green Leafy Vegetables

green-leafy-vegetablesLeafy green vegetables are ideal for weight management as they are typically low in calories. They are useful in reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease since they are low in fat, high in dietary fiber, and rich in folic acid, vitamin C, potassium and magnesium, as well as containing a host of phytochemicals, such as lutein, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene. Because of their high magnesium content and low glycemic index, green leafy vegetables are also valuable for persons with type-2 diabetes. An increase of 1 serving/day of green leafy vegetables was associated with a 9 percent lower risk of diabetes. The high level of vitamin K in greens makes them important for the production of osteocalcin, a protein essential for bone health.

Green leafy vegetables such as kale, chard, collard greens, spinach, parsley and dark green and red leaf lettuce are high in carotenoids and best eaten raw in salads, on healthy sandwiches, lightly steamed or in nutritious soups.


2nd) – Broccoli

BroccoliBroccoli has a growing reputation as a nutritional powerhouse. It is not only rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber, but is loaded with antioxidants. It also contains generous amounts of folic acid, which may prevent some birth defects and be beneficial in warding off heart disease, strokes and some cancers. Broccoli also contains some of the highest levels of vitamins A and C of any food. It’s high levels of vitamin E, vitamin C and beta-carotene provide us with a good intake of antioxidants, which help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. It’s also rich in iron as well as folic acid that helps to combat anemia. Broccoli is good steamed, raw (as a snack or in salads) and cooked in soups, stir-fries and other dishes. Both the green flower heads and stalks are nutritious.


3rd) – Brussels Sprouts –

brussels-sproutsOnly about 10 calories each, Brussels Sprouts are low in fat and sodium, high in dietary fiber and are cholesterol-free. They also contain high levels of naturally occurring vitamin C and specific health-promoting compounds called glucosinolates with antioxidant properties, and proven health benefits in the area of cancer prevention. Brussels Sprouts have three times the level of vitamin C of an orange. Unlike most vegetables, Brussels Sprouts are rather high in protein, accounting for more than a quarter of their calories. Four-to-six sprouts contain the adult daily requirements for vitamin C. They’re also an excellent source of vitamin D and folic acid during pregnancy. Brussels Sprouts are best quickly steamed to preserve nutritional values and avoid releasing sulfur smells caused by excess cooking.


4th) – Cauliflower –

cauliflowerAn excellent source of vitamin C, cauliflower also provides vitamin A, vitamin B-complex, vitamin E, carbohydrates, protein, iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and dietary fiber. It’s low in calories (only 25 per serving), very low in sodium and has no fat, saturated fat or cholesterol. Including Cauliflower regularly in meals and snacks may help prevent cancer, heart disease and hypertension. Cauliflower, because of its bland flavor, can be eaten as a raw snack or added inconspicuously to dishes like soups and chili to boost nutritional values.


5th) – Red, Green, Orange & Yellow Peppers

bell_peppersBrightly colored bell peppers, whether green, red, orange or yellow, are rich sources of some of the best nutrients available. To start, peppers are excellent sources of vitamin C and vitamin A (through its concentration of carotenoids such as beta-carotene), two very powerful antioxidants. Bell peppers also contain folic acid and provide fiber that can help lower high cholesterol levels, another risk factor for heart attack and stroke. For people worried about colon cancer, the fiber found in peppers can help to reduce the amount of contact that colon cells have with cancer-causing toxins found in certain foods or produced by certain gut bacteria. In addition, consumption of vitamin C, beta-carotene, and folic acid, all found in bell peppers, is associated with a significantly reduced risk of colon cancer. Red, Green, Orange and Yellow Peppers are great in salads and healthy stir-fries.


6th) – Garlic and Onions

garlic-&-onionsGarlic contains the amino acid, alliin, which scientists say has antibiotic and bactericidal effects. It is believed to promote cardiovascular activity and a beneficial, soothing action on the respiratory system.

Onion may be a useful herb for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, especially since they diminish the risk of blood clots. Onion also protects against stomach and other cancers, as well as protecting against certain infections. Onion can improve lung function, especially in asthmatics.

Garlic and Onions are most nutritious eaten raw in salads or healthy dips. But they also make great flavorings for just about any cooked dish.


7th) – Sweet Potatoes –

sweet_potatoSweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin A, which is important for vision as well as skin, nail, and hair health. It also helps the body fend off bacterial infections. The orange veggie is also high in potassium, which helps heart and kidney function and facilitates muscle contractions. Potassium also regulates blood pressure and keeps body fluids in balance. Vitamin C is also found in high levels in this vegetable. Vitamin C promotes healing and helps the body fight infection; it also keeps blood vessel walls and gums healthy. Sweet potatoes contain calcium as well, which helps build strong bones and teeth and is necessary for healthy muscle and nerve functions. Vitamin B6, which helps the body metabolize carbohydrates and proteins, is also found in high levels in sweet potatoes. Vitamin B6 also promotes healthy nerves and helps the body form red blood cells. Sweet potatoes are good sources of fiber, copper, and many other vitamins and minerals. In addition, sweet potatoes are low in calories, are fat-free, and have a low glycemic load, meaning they are digested slowly (making the consumer feel fuller for longer). Sweet Potatoes are delicious when baked and eaten plain (without butter). They can also be used in soups and stir-fries.


8th) – Tomatoes –

tomatoesThe presence of antioxidants in tomatoes is said to be helpful in cleansing toxic compounds from the body. Lycopene, present in tomatoes, has been known to neutralize free radicals in the body and cut the risk of prostate cancer. Those who eat raw tomatoes have been found to be at a much lesser risk of developing rectal, colon or stomach cancer. It is believed that tomatoes block the effects of nitrosamines and thus, reduce the risk of lung cancer. Researches have suggested that eating tomatoes might help reduce the risk of heart attack. The vitamin K present in tomatoes helps in keeping the bones strong and healthy. It also helps prevent hemorrhages. Consuming raw tomato on a regular basis can help improve the texture of your skin and add glow. Tomatoes have been recognized throughout the world, for their blood purifying properties. If you are suffering from congestion of the liver, having tomatoes will prove to be quite beneficial. Tomatoes are known to help protect the liver from cirrhosis and can dissolve gallstones as well. Being a natural antiseptic, tomatoes can help protect the body against various common infections. The nicotinic acid in tomatoes is credited with reducing blood cholesterol, which in turn helps keep heart diseases at bay. Studies have shown that consumption of tomatoes and tomato-based products may prevent serum lipid oxidation and reduce the risk of macular degenerative disease. When applied topically, tomato pulp can help heal sunburn, wounds and sores. Tomatoes can also help the body prevent diarrhea and soothe eye irritation as well. Tomatoes have been found to have positive effects in case of ailments like constipation, diabetes, indigestion, intestinal disorders and jaundice. Pregnant women, suffering from morning sickness, will benefit from tomato consumption. If you are suffering from liver disorders, night blindness, obesity and urinary tract infection, try having tomatoes everyday. Tomatoes , which are actually fruit, are good in salads and on sandwiches. Cherry tomatoes make great raw snacks. And pasta sauce is a good source of tomato nutrients.


9th) – Green Peas –

green-peasPeas are rich in protein and carbohydrates but low in fats. They are a good source of fiber and iron as well as vitamins A and C.  Peas are rich in water-soluble fiber which helps promote good intestinal health and, by binding with cholesterol, helps excrete it. They are also very rich in thiamin (vitamin B1). This vitamin is essential for energy productions, nerve function and carbohydrate metabolism. Green Peas are best eaten raw (especially snow peas) or lightly steamed. Add fresh peas to salads (including chicken and pasta salad), soups and stir-fries.


10th) – Carrots –

carrotsIt is one of the foods richest in beta-carotene, which is a vitamin A precursor. Our body transforms it into vitamin A. The carotene has an antioxidant property which may reduce the risk of certain cancers. Carrots help keep your skin healthy and improve your eyesight, especially night vision. Carrots also help maintain our intestinal tracts. They are rich in fiber which helps to protect against colon cancer. This vegetable will help boost your immune system and lower your risk of lung cancer. Carrots will also assist in lowering blood cholesterol levels. Carrots are naturally sweet and ideal for grating into salads. Baby carrots also make good raw snacks.


Making The Right Fruit & Vegetable Choices



Studies show certain veggies can make you healthier.

Research clearly proves healthy veggies can extend both the length and the overall quality of your life. Numerous studies have proven that by increasing your daily intake (mainly from the “A” list), you can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and many other chronic illnesses.

The list of healthy veggie benefits is almost as long as the “A” category list. So pick some winners, learn how to prepare them and start eating and enjoying “A” category veggies now and for the rest of your long healthy life.


Alfalfa sprouts
Bean sprouts
Beet Greens
Bell Peppers
Bok choy
Brussels sprouts
Chard (Swiss & red)
Chinese cabbage
Collard greens
Green onions
Green peas
Lettuce, red or green
Mustard Greens
Snow Peas
Soy beans
Summer squash
Sweet potato & yam
Tomato, cherry
Turnip greens
Winter squash


Artichoke Hearts
Chile peppers
Green beans
Kidney beans
Lemon grass
Lentil beans
Navy Beans
Split Peas


Bamboo shoots
Lettuce (iceberg)
Lima beans
Potato (white)
Water chestnuts

Here are a few beneficial, healthy tips you definitely want to consider…..

  • When shopping for produce, to get maximum benefits, buy organic whenever possible.
  • Choose fresh or frozen rather than canned, since canned is generally extremely high in sodium.
  • To avoid extra calories from fat and a high sodium intake, use herbs, spices, lemon or vinegar, rather than salt, butter or oil for seasoning.
  • Now that you know what’s good for you, it’s time to shop (or plant your garden), and get busy eating and enjoying these extra healthy foods!

Top 10 Most Important Vegetables: Nutritional Benefits


colorful ripe fruit composition isolated on white


The following alphabetical fruit list has important fruit facts arranged in order.

For example, in the list of all fruits, if a fruit has a particularly high level of carotenoids and a moderate level of vitamin C, the higher nutrient found in the fruit (carotenoids) will be listed before the nutrient that’s only found in moderation (vitamin C).

Any concerns are in parenthesis. For instance, if the fruit has a high glycemic index rating, which might negatively affect blood sugar levels, you’ll see (glycemic).

And if preservatives, such as sulfites, are commonly used on a conventionally grown fruit or if it’s highly sprayed or waxed, you’ll see (preservatives), (pesticides) or (wax coating). In that case, it’s important to buy organically grown varieties of that particular fruit.

Alphabetical Fruit List with Nutritional Values (in order)

Apples flavonoids, fiber, C (pesticides, wax coating)
Apricots carotenoids, A, C, fiber (preservatives)
Bananas B6, C, potassium (glycemic)
Blackberries flavonoids, fiber, C, K, manganese
Blueberries flavonoids, C, manganese, fiber
Cantaloupe carotenoids, C, A, potassium
Cherries flavonoids (pesticides)
Cranberries flavonoids, fiber, C, manganese
Dates (glycemic)
Dried fruit (glycemic, preservatives)
Figs (preservatives)
Fruit juices (glycemic)
Grapefruit carotenoids in pink, flavonoids, C
Grapes flavonoids, manganese (pesticides)
Guava carotenoids, fiber, C
Kiwifruit C, fiber (glycemic)
Lemons flavonoids, C (wax coating)
Limes flavonoids, C (wax coating)
Mangoes carotenoids, A, C (glycemic)
Nectarines carotenoids, C (glycemic, pesticides)
Oranges carotenoids, flavonoids, C, fiber (glycemic)
Papayas carotenoids, C, folate, potassium
Peaches carotenoids, C (pesticides)
Pears flavonoids (pesticides)
Persimmons C (glycemic)
Pineapple C, manganese (glycemic)
Plums carotenoids, C
Raspberries flavonoids, fiber, manganese, C
Raisins (glycemic, pesticides, preservatives)
Strawberries carotenoids, flavonoids, C, fiber (pesticides)
Tangerines carotenoids, A, C (glycemic)
Watermelon carotenoids, C, A, B6 (glycemic)

Importance of the Fruit List

This list of all types of fruits is a great source of high fiber foods and many essential nutrients. Especially important are the phytonutrient-rich carotenoid and flavonoid foods high in antioxidents, plus vitamins A and C, folate, manganese and potassium.

Research shows people who regularly eat fresh fruit have a lower risk of many chronic diseases. And since fruit is delicious, nutritious and generally low in fat, sodium and calories, most fruit can play an important role in healthy weight loss and maintenance.

Raw fruit is also high in enzymes and high fiber carbohydrates which are important for good digestion, healthy bowel function and relieving constipation.

So let’s face the fruit facts, making the right fruit choices gives you the get up and go to get up and go!


Healthy Snacks With Less Than 200 Calories

healthy-snack-food-collageA few words of wisdom here if you’re looking to eat healthier, lose a few pounds, and still take care of those snack cravings you get in-between meals …. For majority of adults, snacks should never be more than 200 calories, otherwise your snacking habits could lead to that dreaded weight gain. So below is a guide to several healthy snack ideas with less than 200 calories per serving (as listed) …..

Are You Craving Something Salty?

Try These…..

  • 5 olives (any kind)….. (45 calories)
  • 1 small Martin’s pretzel….. (50 calories)
  • 2 oz Applegate Honey and Maple Turkey Breast wrapped around 2 bread-and-butter pickles….. (80 calories)
  • 1/4 cup hummus, 3 carrot sticks….. (80 calories)
  • 1 Laughing Cow Light Swiss Original wedge, 3 pieces Kavli Crispy Thin….. (85 calories)
  • One 1-oz package tuna jerky….. (90 calories)
  • 1 oz buffalo mozzarella, 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes….. (94 calories)
  • 1 bag Baked! Cheetos 100 Calorie Mini Bites….. (100 calories)
  • 15 Eden’s Nori Maki Crackers rice crackers….. (110 calories)
  • 1 cup unshelled edamame (boiled or steamed)….. (120 calories)
  • 50 Eden’s Vegetable Chips….. (130 calories)
  • One 1-oz package of Planters NUT-trition almonds….. (130 calories)
  • 1/4 cup Trader Joe’s Chili con Queso, 18 baked tortilla chips….. (140 calories)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds in shell….. (143 calories)
  • 2 pieces (30 grams) prosciutto, 4 dried figs….. (154 calories)
  • 1 Subway Turkey Breast Wrap….. (190 calories)

Are You Craving Something Sweet?

Try These…..

  • 1 package Original Apple Nature Valley Fruit Crisps….. (50 calories)
  • 1 packet O’Coco’s Mocha cookies….. (90 calories)
  • 1 Jelly Belly 100-calorie pack….. (100 calories)
  • One 100-calorie pack Trader Joe’s Chocolate Graham Toucan Cookies….. (100 calories)
  • One 100-calorie Balance Bar….. (100 calories)
  • 1 Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino bar….. (120 calories)
  • 1 package Back to Nature Honey Graham Sticks….. (120 calories)
  • 1/2 banana rolled in 1 tbsp frozen semisweet chocolate chips….. (123 calories)
  • 2 tbsp Better ‘n Peanut Butter, 4 stalks celery….. (124 calories)
  • 1 bag Orville Redenbacher’s Smart Pop Butter Mini Bags topped with a spritz of butter spray and 1 tsp sugar….. (126 calories)
  • 24 Annie’s Chocolate Chip Bunny Graham cookies….. (140 calories)
  • Half of a 1.08-oz container of M&M’s Minis mixed with 1/3 cup lowfat granola….. (145 calories)
  • 1 McDonald’s Fruit ‘n Yogurt Parfait….. (160 calories)
  • 1 container Fage Greek Total 2% fat yogurt, 2 tsp honey….. (173 calories)

This post is sampled from the November/2006 issue of Self magazine.


Here are a couple more smart snacking tips posted previously on this site:

Smart Snack Attack – 10 Calorie Magic!

What’s In Your Snack Stash? – Healthier Alternatives