Breast Cancer and...Your Lotion?!

When looking at the correlation between environmental toxins and cancers, breast cancer becomes one of the obvious front-runners. This is due to the fact that breast tissue is merely fat tissue, and so toxins, different chemicals that we're exposed to through food, air, water, and skin or hair products, are stored in fat in our bodies. If you have ever attended a digestion or cleanse class at the Juice Barn, this isn't the first time you have heard that adipose stores toxins.

Some of the most underrated toxins linked to breast cancer are parabens. Parabens are a chemical/toxin used as preservatives in many thousands of cosmetic, food, and pharmaceutical products to which we are exposed to everyday…likely including your favorite skin lotion. Manufacturers commonly add parabens to your favorite beauty products as a low cost antibacterial agent to keep bacteria from growing in the product.

 The most common parabens, methylparaben and propylparaben, do prevent a product from growing bacteria, but these chemical are also estrogenic, meaning they have estrogen-like properties. Studies have shown that adding estrogen to petri dish with breast cancer will cause breast cancer cells to grow. Additionally, studies also show that adding parabens to a petri dish with breast cancer cells also causes them to grow, due to their estrogenic nature. Taking this knowledge a step further, another study took a samples of breast tumor and measured for parabens. The results were astonishing, showing that 100% of the samples had paraben chemicals present, with methylparaben being the most prevalent.

 Some other environmental toxins linked to breast cancer in the data are Bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates, polyaromatic, chemicals from cigarette smoke, and radiation exposure. Reading labels to avoid parabens and these other toxins in your lifestyle will help reduce your overall toxic exposure, and could certainly, in turn, help you minimize your risk for breast cancer.

Want to learn more? Nutrition-as-medicine classes such as Holistic Health 101, and Holistic Health in The Medicine Cabinet  are both great for teaching you other great ways to reduce your families toxic exposure, and healthy alternatives including our famous homemade lotion!

 Barr, L., Metaxas, G., Harbach, C. A. J., Savoy, L. A., & Darbre, P. D. (2012). Measurement of paraben concentrations in human breast tissue at serial locations across the breast from axilla to sternum. J Appl Toxicol, 32(3), 219–232. 

Byford, J., Shaw, L., Drew, M., Pope, G., Sauer, M., & Darbre, P. (2002). Oestrogenic activity of parabens in MCF7 human breast cancer cells. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol, 80, 49–60.

 Darbre, P., Aljarrah, A., & Miller, W. (2004). Concentrations of parabens in human breast tumours. J Appl Toxicol, 24, 5–13.

Cancer Prevention with Nutrition and Lifestyle

          Right now the US is ranked 2nd in healthcare…second from the BOTTOM! I am more thankful than ever to be trained in holistic health with the focus on prevention of illness and disease. Do you know that cancer is the second leading cause of death in the US currently, and will account for more than 25% of all deaths this year. The risk of developing cancer increases with age, and people older than 55 have a much higher risk of dying from cancer, but preventative measures should be taken into account long before then. Prevention can best be accomplished through nutrition and lifestyle. Research suggests that more than 50% of cancers can be prevented with simple dietary and lifestyle measures. The scientific study of cancer and nutrition is not 100% clear on how single nutrients and nutrient combinations affect a persons risk for cancer, since ‘cancer’ is a term used for over 200 diseases, but according to the available data, there are many effective nutritional and lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of cancer at any age. The first and most effective step being cutting out sugar!

            The American Cancer Society (ACS) endorses reducing intake of red and processed meats while focusing on a plant-based diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole-grains. In cancer prevention, nutritionally, is it important to look at consumed calories, fiber, antioxidants, alcohol, and tobacco.  The data suggests that there is no strong connection between fat and cancer, however, regardless of fat intake, tumor growth looks to be inhibited with reduced calorie consumption.  As for the non-digestible dietary substance, fiber, more is better. Increasing fiber intake has beneficial effects on digestion, and increases elimination, thus increasing the bodies to remove toxins and waste, so a high fiber diet is recommended based on toxic excretion alone. Antioxidants, flavonoids, and other beneficial compounds found in plant-based foods have been shown to prevent cancer in many studies, particularly green tea, allium (garlic), turmeric, cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli and cabbage), and non-GMO soy. Although not one diet is considered to be best to prevent 'cancer', one should focus on a high-fiber, 100% organic toxic-free, whole-foods based diet rich in vegetables, beans, seeds, fruits, and fish.  One should also be sure to completely avoid high-fat, low-nutrient, sugary foods such as candy, sodas, and processed foods.

            As for lifestyle, avoiding both tobacco, alcohol, and chronic high stress have all been proven to reduce the incidence of cancer. Tobacco use as been proven to increase the risk of cancer exponentially. Lung cancer, which is almost entirely attributed to tobacco use, is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women, and accounts for more than 30% of all cancer deaths. Lung cancer survivor rate is vey low, at approximately 15%. Alcohol on the other hand has been linked to many various cancers, including breast, liver, laryngeal, and esophageal. It is thought the alcohol increases the rick of these cancers by affecting the liver and impairing its ability to metabolize harmful substances and endogenous hormones. Moderate alcohol consumption has also been shown to increase estrogen, which may be one reason it promotes breast cancer. The carbohydrates in alcohol cause insulin secretion which can increase cancer development. Chronic stress has been shown to lower the immune system. The body naturally produces immune cells (T lymphocytes) that fight bacteria, viral infections, fungi, and cancer cells. Elevated levels of adrenal hormones during stress response suppresses the body's production of T lymphocytes, weakening your whole immune system. Not only does stress worsen existing infections, you also become more susceptible to immune system related health problems too. Even if avoiding tobacco and limiting alcohol consumption are two easy lifestyle choices to prevent cancer, limiting stress may not be. Deep breathing, light exercise, yoga, massage therapy, and meditation are all great ways for the body to lower the chemicals related to stress, and restore the immune system.

        It is estimated that men have a 1 in 2 lifetime chance in developing cancer and women a 1 in 3. The development of many cancers is related to life-long diet and lifestyle choices, so it is never to early to start using preventative nutritional and lifestyle choices. I am a firm believer in parents teaching children to make the healthy lifestyle and nutritional choices early in life, to help them prevent their risk of cancer. Leading by example is a win-win for both parents and children in preventing cancer.

References

Copstead, L.E. & Banasik, J. (2013). Pathophysiology (5th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Saunders.

Pizzorno J. E. & Murray, M. T. (2013). Book of Natural Medicine (4th. ed.). St. Louis, MO: Churchill Livingstone.

 

Increasing Immune Function By Decreasing Heavy Metals...

Many environmental, lifestyle and nutritional factors affect immunity. Nutrition studies on immune function are probably the most well know, and show that nutritional deprivation at an early age is associated with developmental failure of the immune response. Sugar alone can suppress and reduce T-cells for an hour or more after consumption. The data on life style factors such as lack of sleep, or stress affecting immune function are also pretty well known, at least on a surface level understanding. The immune system is suppressed during periods of stress to serve as a protective function in the evolution of our species, but chronic stress has been shown induce an alteration of the function of thyroid axis that alters the immune response dramatically.

One thing that majorly affects the immune system that seems a little less known is exposure to heavy metals. Heavy metals have a toxic and suppressive effect on the immune system. Mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, nickel, and aluminum are poisonous heavy metals. It is estimated that more than 25% of the US population alone suffers from heavy metal poisoning resulting from things people often give little thought to: industrial pollution, drinking water, processed foods, lead and aluminum from cooking cookware, cigarette smoke, second hand smoke, mercury fillings, aluminum from antacids, and metals used in solder.

Mercury, for example, is prevalent in our environment and is one of the oldest pollutants. Neurologically, mercury has been found to be decreased production of white blood cells, including T cells. Mercury has been shown to inhibit the primary, secondary and memory immune responses. Today mercury is readily found in pesticides sprayed on yards and conventional produce, many cosmetics, dental substances, tuna, swordfish and many pharmaceuticals.

Aluminum, another toxic heavy metal, is easily found in food additives for breads and other processed foods, antacids, baking powder, aluminum foil, and many pots, pans, and cooking utensil. Aluminum toxicity has been associated with Alzheimer’s, constipation, certain cancers, and schizophrenia.

Cadmium is present in air, food, and water and because it’s a cumulative poison it is a serious health problem. It is especially prevalent in water, cigarette smoke, conventional coffee, and gasoline. Cadmium toxicity leads to stunted immune response due to its detrimental effect on the kidneys, liver, and T cell production. Both lead and cadmium exposure results in suppression of many aspects of the immune response. This suppression often occurs at very low dosages and therefore is detrimental to immune health by doses much lower than the typical well-documented high dose levels.

Choosing to avoid the above metals in the things we ingest, put on our bodies, cook with, and work with, is the best preventative method to avoid immune suppression and toxicity. Prevention is best, but natural ways to reduce present metal toxicity include: having mercury filings safely removed, consuming metal chelating foods such as garlic, cilantro, and chlorella, or consider including milk thistle to increase liver health, allowing the organ to more easily do exactly what it is intended to do- clean up!

So what does the perfect metal detox day look like at The Juice Barn: The Energizer Juice (contains beats) or the Afternoon Delight Smoothie (contains cilantro), with a scoop of wheatgrass, chlorella, or spirulina. Then leaving with an Organic Milk Thistle supplement to add to your daily routine. Love when the key to better health can be obtained with delicious juices and smoothies!

Koller, L. D. (1980). Immunotoxicology of heavy metals. International journal of immunopharmacology, 2(4), 269-279.

Koller, L. D. (1973). Immunosuppression produced by lead, cadmium, and mercury. Am. J. Vet. Res.;(United States), 34(11).

VREDEVOE, D. L., & LEVY, L. (1985). Effects of dietary metallic ions on immune processes. Frontiers in longevity research: applications of nutritional and other discoveries in the prevention of the age-related disorders, 183.

 

 

 

Elderberry To The Rescue For Cold, Flu and Other Viral Infections!

             Have you ever been sick and gone to the doctor to hear you have a virus and have to just ride it out? When the body becomes infected by a virus, the immune system starts making appropriate antibodies which eventually will neutralize the virus. Viral infections, like the flu, or the common cold, cannot be treated by an antibiotics or other drugs, making them a useless (and often disadvantageous) option. Instead of feeling hopeless, let’s better understand our immune system, and our options.

If your immune system is strong enough, your body would not be susceptible to viruses. Susceptibility factors include immune competence, fatigue, vitality, genetics, nutrient levels, and other factors. In this busy world it may not seem always possible to get enough sleep, or eat a perfect diet, and even if you haven’t been dealt a perfect genetic makeup, there is still hope. In times when the immune system has failed to do its job, there is one natural aid that has proven to be among the most effective for battling viruses: Elderberry. Elderberry (Sambucus nigra L.) is from a large shrub native to Europe, Africa, and Asia, and has been used, in it’s cooked form, for treating influenza and colds for centuries. Elderberries, which contain very powerful antioxidants, have been used in folk medicine treat colds, influenza, wounds (topically) and have even shown to be effective against the herpes simplex virus. Some evidence suggests that chemicals in elder flower and berries may help reduce swelling in mucous membranes, such as the sinuses, and help relieve nasal congestion as well.

Although the exact mechanism of action has not been identified, data does show elderberry is high in the anti-viral flavonoids cyanidin 3-glucoside and cyanidin 3-sambubioside, and has been shown to be effective as an antiviral against herpes Simplex 1, the common cold, sinusitis, and influenza. Not only do dozens of clinical studies demonstrate elderberry’s beneficial effect by the stimulating immune response and preventing viral infection, but I can honestly say this winter has been one of my families healthiest on record as we try to remember to take elderberry at the first sign on a sniffle, or after being in contact with anyone sick with a cold or flu! Lucky for you, you don’t need to travel to Africa to benefit; we sell organic elderberry syrup, elderberry shots, and homemade elderberry starter kits (with recipe) right at the Juice Barn!!

 References:

 Kinoshita, E., Hayashi, K., Katayama, H., Hayashi, T., & Obata, A. (2012). Anti-influenza virus effects of elderberry juice and its fractions. Bioscience, biotechnology, and biochemistry, 76(9), 1633-1638.

 Krawitz, C., Mraheil, M., Stein, M., Imirzalioglu, C., Domann, E., Pleschka, S., & Hain, T. (2011). Inhibitory activity of a standardized elderberry liquid extract against clinically-relevant human respiratory bacterial pathogens and influenza A and B viruses. 11, 16-16. 16  doi:10.1186/1472-6882

Pizzorno J. E. & Murray, M. T. (2013). Textbook of Natural Medicine (4th. ed.). St. Louis, MO: Churchill Livingstone.

Zakay-Rones, Z., Thom, E., Wollan, T., & Wadstein, J. (2004). Randomized Study of the Efficacy and Safety of Oral Elderberry Extract in the Treatment of Influenza A and B Virus Infections. JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL RESEARCH, 32(2), 132-140. doi: 10.1177/147323000403200205

 

Do You Really Know What’s In Your Morning Coffee?!?

Do You Really Know What’s In Your Morning Coffee?!?

This may come to a shock for a lot of people, but conventionally-grown coffee is incredibly unhealthy for people and the planet. Did you know that coffee is one of the most heavily chemically-treated crops of any food of agricultural product?! YUCK!

One of the main reasons that coffee requires such large amounts of pesticides and insecticides is the fact that traditional growers often clear wide areas of land, most often in the rainforest, where the coffee plants receive direct sunlight all day.  This strong sun exposure weakens the coffee plants immune system and makes them vulnerable to pests. As you would guess, many of these chemicals (pesticides and insecticides) sprayed directly on the coffee plants end up in the coffee that people drink on a daily basis and therefore harm our bodies. So for most people, their first ‘food’ of the day has already posed a health threat…and as you may know from my digestion and cleanse classes, the body assimilates foods/liquids taken on an empty stomach much more readily!

If personal toxicity isn’t already a big enough factor to switch to organic coffee, consider this:

·         The chemicals sprayed on coffee also cause damage to the soil and pollute the local water supply.

·      Data shows traditional foods have less nutrients than organically grown foods.

·      Workers who have tremendous exposure to these chemicals suffer greatly, including those who work in coffee plants. 

·      As coffee beans are harvested, they are washed with water that is then released back into streams, rivers or whatever source it came from, even the soil…, which of course, includes all of the many different toxic chemicals, is has washed from the beans.

·      Over my lifetime approximately 2/3rds of the rainforest in Central America and Mexico has disappeared for crops such as coffee. The clearing of rainforests, represents an incredibly serious threat to global warming. 

This may be one of my most depressing blogs for some, BUT don’t worry, organic coffee farmers do not use harmful toxins and chemicals on their coffee crops, and most organic coffee is shade grown. What does this mean to you, you ask?! This means you can still enjoy that warm coffee hug in the morning without putting unnecessary and dangerous pesticides or insecticides into your body each morning! The Juice Barn sells only 100% organic coffee from local vendors. Come grab a freshly brewed cup, a morning rush smoothie, or a fresh ground bag of coffee to bring home to start your day of right!!!

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) isn’t just something ‘old people’ need to pay attention to anymore!

Cardiovascular (CVD) is an abnormal condition of the heart, and/or blood vessels. Atherosclerosis, and hypertension are common examples of CVD. CVD is the leading cause of death in the US, and nearly half of Americans with die from CVD!

Atherosclerosis is considered the hardening of the arteries, in which plaque (cholesterol and other substances) build up on the vessel walls, reducing the width of the blood vessel. This cuts down the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart, leading things like a stroke, angina, or a heart attack. Risk factors include age, family history, high-blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, being overweight, and lack of physical activity. Dietary and lifestyle changes that can reduce the risk of atherosclerosis include, consuming a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables, loosing weight, reducing cholesterol, quitting smoking, reducing blood pressure, and keeping blood glucose balanced.

            Hypertension is when you have consistently high blood pressure. It does not have specific symptoms, or warning signs, but it can be deadly. It is characterized by resting blood pressure measuring over 140mm Hg or 90mm Hg. Risk factors include obesity, high salt intake, lack of physical activity, high alcohol intake, African American heritage, age, and heredity. Dietary and lifestyle changes that can reduce the risk of hypertension include reducing sodium, loosing weight, increasing physical activity, limiting alcohol, and eating a diet full of fruits and vegetables.

            I feel like I should repeat that CVD is the leading cause of death in the US, and nearly half of Americans with die from CVD! These statistics alone should want to make people with CVD risk factors start taking prophylactic measure to help limit their chances of developing the deadly disease!! In clinical trials, consuming 10 fruit and veggie servings a day lowered high-blood pressure as much as standard blood pressure drugs. Do you also know that the average fresh-pressed organic juice has over 10 servings of fruits and vegetables? If you are over 45 years old, have a family history of CVD, or are overweight, a great way to start taking preventative action is by adding a juice or smoothie to your diet...especially in the morning, where the average american rarely ingests any fresh fruits or vitamins. 

Let's start eating to live instead of living to eat. There are so many better things to live for...and to live longer for!

Resources:

Insel, P., Ross, D., McMahon, K. & Bernstein, M. (2014). Nutrition. 5th ed. Boston, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning.

Jamison, J., (2003) Clinical Guide to Nutrition & Dietary Supplements in Disease Management.  Churchill Livingstone. Australia

 

Ginger For Migraine Relief…and so much more!

Ginger has been used as a natural remedy for centuries. I am so excited to see science is catching up as mounds of research worldwide now show the benefit of fresh ginger abound. In a clinical trial, researchers compared ginger to a common migraine drug on 100 migraine sufferers. The results showed ginger comparable to the pain-relieving drug… without side effects!

Other amazing benefits include:

1.     Anti-viral: As I have mentioned before, ginger is a potent anti-viral substance that prevents viral infections by deterring the adhesion of viruses to the upper respiratory tract.

2.     Nausea and Vomiting Reducer: Clinical data has found ginger effective in reducing these in pregnancy, post-surgery, and chemotherapy patients.

3.     Digestive Aid: Ginger has been found clinically effective for constipation, flatulence, bloating, and even proven effective for stress related ulcers.

4.     Natural Sunblock: Scientific data suggests ginger actually has UV absorbing capabilities that helps protect against DNA damage related to UVB light!

5.     Muscle Pain Relief: A 2013 study showed ginger effective in relieving muscle discomfort in female competitive athletes.

6.     Anti-inflammatory: Ginger has a slew of clinic studies supporting its anti-inflammatory benefits in everything from brain health to arthritis.

7.     Blood Sugar and Blood Pressure Stabilization: Ginger has consistently demonstrated powerful blood sugar balancing effects by acting on insulin release and sensitivity, and regulating the breakdown of carbs and fats. Additionally one of gingers active compounds has been identified as an active factor in regulating blood pressure and supporting cardiovascular health.

I have never been so grateful to have the opportunity to have fresh ginger within reach everyday! It’s great added to a stir-fry or salad dressing for dinner, or even just in warm water…even the kids will drink it in what they call ‘spicy juice’, and I did get a chuckle when a friends little one tried our Energizer juice (with ginger), and said, ‘Yum, Pepperoni in here!’. LOL…hmmm, maybe I’ll add it to pizza sauce next!

References:

Mehdi M, Farhad G, Alireza ME, Mehran Y. Comparison Between the Efficacy of Ginger and Sumatriptan in the Ablative Treatment of the Common Migraine. Phytother Res. 2013 May 9. doi: 10.1002/ptr.4996. ~ Drozdov VN, Kim VA, Tkachenko EV, Varvanina GG. Influence of a specific ginger combination on gastropathy conditions in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee or hip. J Altern Complement Med. 2012 Jun;18(6):583-8. doi: 10.1089/acm.2011.0202. ~ Mashhadi NS, Ghiasvand R, Askari G, Feizi A, Hariri M, Darvishi L, Barani A, Taghiyar M, Shiranian A, Hajishafiee M. Influence of ginger and cinnamon intake on inflammation and muscle soreness endued by exercise in Iranian female athletes. Int J Prev Med. 2013 Apr;4(Suppl 1):S11-5. ~ Liu Q, Liu J, Guo H, Sun S, Wang S, Zhang Y, Li S, Qiao Y. [6]-gingerol: a novel AT? antagonist for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Planta Med. 2013 Mar;79(5):322-6. doi: 10.1055/s-0032-1328262. Epub 2013 Mar 11. ~ Palatty PL, Haniadka R, Valder B, Arora R, Baliga MS. Ginger in the prevention of nausea and vomiting: a review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2013;53(7):659-69. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2011.553751. ~ Marx WM, Teleni L, McCarthy AL, Vitetta L, McKavanagh D, Thomson D, Isenring E. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting: a systematic literature review. Nutr Rev. 2013 Apr;71(4):245-54. doi: 10.1111/nure.12016. Epub 2013 Mar 13. ~ Haniadka R, Saldanha E, Sunita V, Palatty PL, Fayad R, Baliga MS. A review of the gastroprotective effects of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe). Food Funct. 2013 Jun;4(6):845-55. doi: 10.1039/c3fo30337c. Epub 2013 Apr 24. ~ Ha SK, Moon E, Ju MS, Kim DH, Ryu JH, Oh MS, Kim SY. 6-Shogaol, a ginger product, modulates neuroinflammation: a new approach to neuroprotection. Neuropharmacology. 2012 Aug;63(2):211-23. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2012.03.016. Epub 2012 Mar 23. ~ Ho SC, Chang KS, Lin CC. Anti-neuroinflammatory capacity of fresh ginger is attributed mainly to 10-gingerol. Food Chem. 2013 Dec 1;141(3):3183-91. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2013.06.010. Epub 2013 Jun 11. ~ Thongrakard V, Ruangrungsi N, Ekkapongpisit M, Isidoro C, Tencomnao T. Protection from UVB Toxicity in Human Keratinocytes by Thailand Native Herbs Extracts. Photochem Photobiol. 2013 Aug 12. doi: 10.1111/php.12153. ~ Li Y, Tran VH, Duke CC, Roufogalis BD. Preventive and Protective Properties of Zingiber officinale (Ginger) in Diabetes Mellitus, Diabetic Complications, and Associated Lipid and Other Metabolic Disorders: A Brief Review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:516870. doi: 10.1155/2012/516870. Epub 2012 Nov 22. ~ Mahluji S, Attari VE, Mobasseri M, Payahoo L, Ostadrahimi A, Golzari SE. Effects of ginger (Zingiber officinale) on plasma glucose level, HbA1c and insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetic patients. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2013 Sep;64(6):682-6. doi: 10.3109/09637486.2013.775223. Epub 2013 Mar 18. ~ Manosroi A, Lohcharoenkal W, Khonsung P, Manosroi W, Manosroi J. Potent antihypertensive activity of Thai-Lanna medicinal plants and recipes from “MANOSROI III” database. Pharm Biol. 2013 Jul 22. ~ Ribel-Madsen S, Bartels EM, Stockmarr A, Borgwardt A, Cornett C, Danneskiold-Samsøe B, Bliddal H. A synoviocyte model for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis: response to Ibuprofen, betamethasone, and ginger extract-a cross-sectional in vitro study. Arthritis. 2012;2012:505842. doi: 10.1155/2012/505842. Epub 2012 Dec 31.

Top 5 Tips for Preventing Cold and Flu This Season

Cold and flu season is already here, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer. Check out these tips to help boost your immune system and increase your viral resistance…no, they aren’t all green juice, but you sure can get your fix of #1, 2, and 4 at the Juice Barn!

Conventional wisdom purports that there’s not much you can do to prevent or treat colds and flus, but did you know there actually is quite a bit of proven clinical data supporting many nutritional and lifestyle remedies to do just that: help prevent, reduce the intensity, and shorten the duration of cold or flu!

#1: Consume lots of immune-boosting nutrients!

There are several vitamins and minerals that are essential for immune health. The Standard American Diet (SAD) generally does not provide enough of these immune-boosting nutrients, for optimal health. Even if you are in the small group of people achieving daily recommended allowances of our necessary macro and micronutrients, higher levels may be necessary in time of stress or sickness. These include:

•  Vitamin C. RDA is 60mg per day, but the body may need much more when sick. Food forms of vitamin C are always more easily absorbed. Get it in your diet: yellow bell peppers, dark leafy greens, strawberries, citrus fruits, and butternut squash.

•  Zinc. Zinc is another immune-boosting nutrient that many people don’t obtain enough of. You can add zinc supplements for short periods when you feel you’re fighting something, but you could just as easily get zinc in your diet from including oysters, beef, lamb, pumpkin seeds, and spinach.

•  Vitamins A & D. Both of these fat-soluble vitamins are imperative to immune health, but data suggests that they are much more effective for preventing/reversing colds and flus when taken together. Get your combo fix with a reputable cod-liver oil supplement, or a minimum of 15 minutes of sunlight, or obtain them separately from foods like liver, fish, sweet potato, carrots, and dark leafy greens.

•  Selenium. Selenium is an immune supporting mineral, and stimulates the development and function of white blood cells and enhances the ability of lymphocytes and natural killer cells, to activate and respond to invaders such as bacteria and viruses, including the flu. Selenium works synergistically with Vitamin E, A and C as an antioxidant.. Most Americans get enough in their diet, but taking a little extra during cold and flu season has shown to help in clinical trials. Just two Brazil nuts a day fulfill your recommended daily requirements, so drop a couple in your daily smoothie!

•  Iodine. Iodine also plays an important role in immune health, and many Americans don’t get enough of it. Iodized salt was a good source, but as people become more aware of the health benefits of eating unrefined salt, that isn’t supplemented with iodine, it is even more important to eat foods that naturally contain this important element. The only significant sources of iodine in the diet are seaweed, seafood such as cod and shrimp, and dairy (especially pasture-raised dairy). If you’re not eating these foods regularly, you may want to supplement with kelp, or spirulina in your juice or smoothies.

•  Garlic. Garlic is one of the best foods you can add to your diet to fight a cold or flu. According to studies, garlic can boost immune function by stimulating white blood cells. This then increases the antibody functions. It also has antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties. Add garlic to soups, bread, salad dressings, or just about any home-cooked meal!

 

#2: Include Ginger in your diet

Ginger is a potent anti-viral substance that prevents viral infections by deterring the adhesion of viruses to the upper respiratory tract. Ginger is very effective as a fresh, full-strength juice. If you or someone in your family suffers from frequent colds/flus, try fresh ginger. If you can’t handle the intensity of strait ginger shots, I recommend adding it to water with raw honey, or grating the root into hot water to make a tea.

#3: Wash your hands

I’m sure you already know this, but did you know that studies have shown that frequent hand-washing is one of the most important things we can do to protect ourselves during cold & flu season. Wash your hands frequently, especially before you eat, and in public places.

#4: Take elderberry syrup

Elderberry is one of my favorite immune boosters to recommend, because it is effective, and delicious.  Long used as an herbal remedy for colds and flus, elderberry is rich in powerful antioxidant, and clinical data suggests that elderberry extract offers virus-fighting, immune-stimulating, and anti-inflammatory effects.

#5: Rest and Breath Deeply

Rest is essential when the body is working hard battling a virus. Of course it’s not always easy to take time for yourself, especially if you have young children and/or are constantly overcommitted, but even a few shorter down times throughout the day can make a big difference when it comes to supporting your immune system.

Breathing deeply can help promote rest, and reduce stress, but deep breathing is not only relaxing, it's been scientifically proven to positively affect the heart, the brain, digestion, and the immune system.