Pumpkin Lasagna


Pumpkin Lasagna


TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. Bake: 55 min. + standing MAKES: 6 servings


1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin

1/2 cup half-and-half cream

1 teaspoon dried sage leaves

Dash pepper

9 no-cook lasagna noodles

1 cup reduced-fat ricotta cheese

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese



In a small skillet, sauté the mushrooms, onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt in oil until tender; set aside. In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin, cream, sage, pepper and remaining salt.

Spread 1/2 cup pumpkin sauce in an 11×7-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with three noodles (noodles will overlap slightly). Spread 1/2 cup pumpkin sauce to edges of noodles. Top with half of mushroom mixture, 1/2 cup ricotta, 1/2 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers. Top with remaining noodles and sauce.

Cover and bake at 375° for 45 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake 10-15 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

Freeze option: Cover and freeze unbaked lasagna. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 375°. Bake as directed, increasing time as necessary to heat through and for a thermometer inserted in center to read 165°. Yield: 6 servings.


Please share with family and loved ones

Health and Wellness Associates




What are Dates Good For?


Distinguished Dates

Dates Nutrition Facts

Botanical name: Phoenix dactylifera

While dates don’t appear to be particularly special with their oddly wrinkled, brown exterior, they’re satisfyingly chewy and flavorful. Undoubtedly a favorite since the Garden of Eden, dates are considered a drupe because they contain a single pit or stone at the center.

Date palms, which produce these little beauties, were brought to America’s Western coast by Spanish missionaries in the late 1700s. Medjool dates, which originated in Morocco, were introduced in the U.S. in 1927 when 11 shoots were placed in quarantine in Nevada for seven years. The nine plants that survived were taken to Southern California in 1935, where 24 offshoots were planted in 1944.

Reportedly the most labor intensive to grow and harvest, medjools are not only one of the most prominent varieties – they are the only one that can be picked and eaten fresh.

Date palms begin to bear fruit at three to five years, and are fully mature at 12 years. Cultivated in arid regions of the world, wild populations can still be found around Jordan and the border between Iran and Iraq.

Popular uses around the world include date vinegar, chutney, date paste for bakery products, flavorings and roasted whole date seeds. The tree’s buds (hearts of palm) are tasty additions to salads.

Health Benefits of Dates

When it comes to the number of minerals, vitamins, and health-benefiting phytonutrients in dates, suffice it to say there are a lot of them. First and foremost, they’re easily digested, allowing your body to make full use of their goodness.

Dietary fiber in dates helps to move waste smoothly through your colon and helps prevent LDL (bad) cholesterol absorption by binding with substances containing cancer-causing chemicals. The iron content, a component of hemoglobin in red blood cells, determines the balance of oxygen in the blood. Potassium, an electrolyte, helps control your heart rate and blood pressure. B-vitamins contained in dates, such as the carotenes lutein and zeaxanthin, absorb into the retina to maintain optimal light-filtering functions and protect against macular degeneration.

Want more? They contain vitamins A and K. Vitamin A protects the eyes, maintains healthy skin and mucus membranes, and even protects the lungs and mouth from developing cancer. Tannins, which are flavonoids as well as polyphenolic antioxidants, fight infection and inflammation and help prevent excessive bleeding (anti-hemorrhagic). Vitamin K is a blood coagulant that also helps metabolize your bones.

Copper, magnesium, manganese, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), niacin, pantothenic acid, and riboflavin are also present in dates and provide their own unique preventive and healing functions.

Together, these cofactors help your body metabolize carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Eating dates in moderation can contribute to many health benefits, such as protecting against damage to cells from free radicals, helping preventing a stroke, coronary heart disease and the development of colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancers.

Dates Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 3.5 ounces (100 grams), medjool

% Daily
Amt. Per
    Calories from fat
Total fat
0 g
    Saturated fat
0 g
    Trans fat
0 mg
1 mg
Total Carbohydrate
75 g
    Dietary Fiber
7 g
66 g
2 g
Vitamin A 3% Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 6% Iron 5%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie


Studies Done on Dates

Cadmium, a well-known testicular toxicant, was tested against date palm pollen extract for therapeutic potential and ability to avert reproductive damage. The results supported scientists’ hypothesis that not only are the testicles vulnerable to cadmium toxins, but that date palm pollen extract treatment can also amend its deleterious effects, probably by activating testicular endocrine and antioxidant systems1.

Another study reported the most prominent health benefits of dates: there are at least 15 minerals in dates, including selenium, an element believed to help prevent cancer and important in immune function, protein, containing 23 types of amino acids, some of which are not present in the most popular fruits, such as oranges, apples, and bananas. Unsaturated fatty acids include palmitoleic, oleic, linoleic, and linolenic acids. The study concluded that dates could be considered a nearly ideal food, with a wide range of essential nutrients and potential health benefits2.

Dates Healthy Recipe: Date Butter

Dates Healthy Recipes

Creamy date butter can be made in any amount. It’s one of those recipes that changes each time you make it because the ingredients aren’t necessarily measured. You also can add other dried fruits such as raisins and/or prunes if you wish. The spice list can be altered to fit your own tastebuds.


  • 2 cups of dates
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Water
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ ground nutmeg
  • ¼ ground cloves
  • ¼ ground ginger


  1. Place dates in a saucepan and add water to cover two-thirds of the fruit. Add lemon juice. Bring to a rolling boil, cover with a lid part-way to allow steam to escape.
  2. Reduce heat to low. Depending on ingredients, cook time and moisture, it may take anywhere from 10-30 minutes to reach the right consistency, which is evidenced when a tablespoon can stand straight up in the middle of the mixture without falling to the side.
  3. Cool mixture a bit then place in a food processor and process until smooth. It may have a few lumps, but that’s okay!
  4. Store in refrigerator for up to a few weeks and in freezer indefinitely. Wonderful on toast or even added to baked breads, cakes, etc.

Dates Fun Facts

Dates were mentioned several times in the Bible, probably ancestors to the oldest-known seed planted successfully in modern times.

In 1963, a date palm seed was discovered at Masada, an ancient fortress where, in 70 A.D., a large group of Jewish families killed themselves rather than face capture by the Romans. Planted in January 2005, the ancient date palm, named “Methuselah,” is now four feet tall.


From the primeval banks of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the date palm has provided the Phoenix dactylifera – the botanical name for dates – as an important food and medicinal source throughout the world.

Iron for your blood, fiber for roughage, vitamin A for your eyes, potassium for your heart, B-vitamins, tannins – these are just a few of the many nutrients in dates, making them one of the healthiest foods in the world. They have a noble history that healers have used through centuries for many of the same properties they’re used for today.

Dates are a wonderful snack all by themselves. But make sure you eat them in moderation, as fruits can contain high levels of fructose that can harm your health. For a new twist, try stuffing them with a mixture of chopped raw almonds and walnuts, and raw cream cheese for a delicious, nutritious – and completely unique – hors d’oeuvre.

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived  JM


Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Smoking Damages Your DNA for Decades



Smoking Damages Your DNA for Decades

Nearly 40 million adults in the U.S. smoke cigarettes.1 It is the leading cause of preventable death, accounting for 1 out of every 5 deaths in the U.S.2 Although smoking has declined by 4 percent over nine years, sales of e-cigarettes have risen an amazing 143 times from $20 million to $2.875 billion in sales per year.3


According to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, 130,000 cases of lung cancer diagnosed each year are attributed to smoking.4 New research now demonstrates damage to your DNA from smoking stays with you for decades.


While much of the damage from smoking is healed within the first five years you quit, some DNA damage doesn’t appear to revert to normal.5


The increasing sales of e-cigarettes may be from individuals trying to quit smoking, or from those who believe these electronic gizmos are a healthier alternative. Alas, vaping, or smoking electronic cigarettes that produce vapor instead of smoke, has its own list of negative health effects.


So, while you may believe e-cigarettes are healthier, you’re really just trading one serious health risk for another.


Smoking Affects DNA Methylation


Where scientists once thought the genes you were born with were the genes you were stuck with throughout life, now they have identified changes to your DNA, called methylation, that affect how your genes are expressed or may modify the way those genes affect your health.


The development of some health conditions are affected by your genetics. In some cases, DNA methylation will tell your genes to turn “off,” effectively changing how your body responds to the environment. DNA methylation is a signaling tool used for gene expression that’s vital to a number of cell process that control human disease.6


Although scientists are still working to understand the complexities of how DNA methylation and genetic expression are connected, they have identified this connection in the development of cancer (although, as explained in previous articles, genetic changes that contribute to cancer are typically downstream effects of metabolic dysfunction, not the original cause).7


Smoking Changes Your DNA and Increases Your Risk of Disease


Researchers have known that smoking alters your DNA methylation, but this recent study demonstrates how long those changes last and how widespread they may be.8


Lead researcher Dr. Stephanie London, chief of the Epidemiology Branch at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, told Reuters:9


“We don’t really know whether it means ‘damage’ to the DNA. That requires more study, using data outside what we have here. What we’re saying is that it’s a change to your DNA that can have a downstream effect on what genes are expressed at what levels.”


However, any change to your DNA by toxic substances may be considered damage. The amount of damage and the consequences for that damage is where researchers will be focusing further study. This study combined data from a set of participants from 16 other studies, using blood samples from over 15,000 people.


The team compared the samples from current smokers to former smokers and those who said they had never smoked.10 People who were currently smoking had over 2,500 genetic changes to their DNA.


After a smoker quits, much of the DNA changes revert back to their original state, but some remain changed even decades later. The researchers found 185 locations that were significantly different between people who formerly smoked and those who had never smoked.


DNA Methylation Affects Development of Cancers and Chronic Diseases


Smoking changes your DNA methylation, affecting your gene expression. Researchers have linked these changes in gene expression from methylation to both the development of cancers and the expression of cardiovascular disease.11,12,13,14


London, quoted in Medical News Today, expressed her concern over the long-term effects smokers may experience:15


“These results are important because methylation, as one of the mechanisms of the regulation of gene expression, affects what genes are turned on, which has implications for the development of smoking-related diseases.


Equally important is our finding that even after someone stops smoking, we still see the effects of smoking on their DNA.”


DNA methylation is also linked to prenatal cigarette exposure and the development of chronic disease when the child grows to adulthood.16,17


Although adverse effects of smoking during pregnancy have been well-documented, most media attention is on preterm birth, low birth weight, brain damage to the baby, birth defects and lung damage.18


Only now are other long-term health conditions associated with prenatal or early postnatal exposure to cigarette smoke. Children exposed to smoke have increased risk of behavioral and developmental problems including attention deficit disorder (ADD) and other conduct disorders.19


Other studies demonstrate links between prenatal smoking exposure and the development of cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes in adulthood.20 Further studies specifically link nicotine exposure to long term health conditions in children.21


You Absorb Nicotine From the Air Through Your Skin


Breathing secondhand smoke triggers health conditions much like if you were smoking yourself. Exposure to smoke led researchers to question if the only way your body absorbed nicotine was through inhaling. Could you absorb the chemicals through your skin?


Nicotine patches are used to help smokers control their urge to smoke and theoretically help them stop smoking. In this case, the chemical is placed directly against the user’s skin and held in place with a patch. Is it possible to absorb nicotine from the air as well?


Findings from a new study demonstrate that your body can absorb nicotine from secondhand smoke or wearing clothes that have been exposed to smoke.22


These results are especially important for children and teens who are exposed to smoking or vaping. Charles Weschler, Ph.D., co-author of the study and chemist at Rutgers University, was quoted in Science News for Students, saying:23,24


“If you’re in a room where smoking or vaping is occurring, you’re taking in the smoke through your skin as well as your lungs.”


Researchers found the dose absorbed by the participants was not trivial and amounted to the same as smoking between 0.5 and six cigarettes. Lead researcher, Gabriel Beko, Ph.D., civil engineer from the Technical University of Denmark, said this was about as much as you could expect to inhale in a smoky room.25


This means the amount of smoke you may be absorbing from a smoky room is greater than the chemicals you’re inhaling. Researchers also found that wearing clothing that was exposed to smoke also increases your absorption of nicotine.


E-Cigarettes Are Not the Answer



E-cigarettes deliver a dose of nicotine. In this short video you’ll discover more of the side effects you may experience from nicotine in your cigarettes or e-cigarettes. Studies demonstrate the health dangers in using nicotine, the active ingredient in e-cigarettes. Your risks may be slightly different, but they are no less dangerous than smoking tobacco.


Research has determined that individuals who quit smoking for at least three to six months have the greatest chance of stopping smoking permanently.26 While you may feel it’s reasonable to use e-cigarettes to help you stop smoking, the reality is that you continue to remain addicted to nicotine and engage in the same addictive activity.


E-cigarettes deliver a dose of nicotine, the drug in cigarettes to which your body is addicted, through an electronic mechanism that doesn’t contain any of the other harmful chemicals found in cigarettes. But while many would like to think the jury is out on whether vaping is harmful for your health, data from several studies published in early 2015 demonstrate otherwise.


Nicotine is one of the oldest botanical insecticides,27 and a powerful poison.28  Researchers have linked nicotine to a number of different health conditions.29


Doing a Medline and PubMed database search on specific keywords, researchers gathered data from over 3,400 different articles and studies. From the analysis, they found nicotine adversely affects the cardiovascular, respiratory, renal and reproductive systems. It promotes the creation of tumors by affecting cell proliferation and increases resistance to chemotherapeutic agents.30


According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more people in America are addicted to nicotine than any other drug, and it may be as addictive as heroin, cocaine or alcohol.31 The Cleveland Clinic warns that preliminary studies show nicotine does direct damage to your heart cells and vascular cells.32


This damage triggers an inflammatory response and may lead to atherosclerosis.33 Meanwhile, it is unclear whether adding nicotine to your body, the drug to which you are addicted, will help you stop smoking, or if e-cigarettes help or just get in your way.34


Flavors and Heat Raise the Risk


In 2014, the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) took over 3,700 calls of nicotine poisoning in children from e-cigarettes.35 But nicotine is not the only concern if you vape. There are over 7,000 flavoring chemicals for e-cigarettes, designed to enhance the flavor and engage more users.


Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health selected 51 of those flavors to evaluate. They found nearly all the flavorings contained chemicals with known negative effects on your health. In a press release from Harvard, lead author Joseph Allen, assistant professor of exposure assessment science, stated:36


“Recognition of the hazards associated with inhaling flavoring chemicals started with ‘Popcorn Lung’ over a decade ago. However, diacetyl and other related flavoring chemicals are used in many other flavors beyond butter-flavored popcorn, including fruit flavors, alcohol flavors, and, we learned in our study, candy flavored e-cigarettes.”


Co-author David Christiani, also stated:37


“Since most of the health concerns about e-cigarettes have focused on nicotine, there is still much we do not know about e-cigarettes. In addition to containing varying levels of the addictive substance nicotine, they also contain other cancer-causing chemicals, such as formaldehyde, and as our study shows, flavoring chemicals that can cause lung damage.”


At high voltage, 3 milligrams of e-cigarette liquid can generate 14 milligrams of formaldehyde.38 This is slightly less than you would inhale in five packs of regular cigarettes. In an NCB News interview, co-author James Pankow, Ph.D., and professor of chemistry and engineering at Portland State University, said:39


“It’s way too early now from an epidemiological point of view to say how bad they are. But the bottom line is, there are toxins and some are more than in regular cigarettes. And if you are vaping, you probably shouldn’t be using it at a high-voltage setting.”


US Food and Drug Administration Fighting the Tobacco Industry


According to the CDC, 15 percent of Americans over 18 smoke cigarettes.40 According to Tobacco Free Kids, 12.6 percent have tried e-cigarettes and 3.7 percent use them consistently.41 Although a smaller percentage of the market, the tobacco industry recognizes the economic potential behind e-cigarette sales and has wholeheartedly invested time and money into influencing legislation.


Battle lines have been drawn between the tobacco industry and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which wants to retroactively examine e-cigarettes, cigars and pipe and hookah tobacco for public health risks.42 A bipartisan effort of lobbyists and influential congressional allies are arguing the Deeming Rule could hurt public health by ultimately forcing smaller e-cigarette companies out of business.


The Deeming Rule, announced in May 2016, is a step the FDA implemented to allow the agency to “protect future generations from the dangers of tobacco use through a variety of steps, including restricting the sale of these tobacco products to minors nationwide.”43


Flying in the face of multiple studies that prove otherwise, Chritian Berkey, chief executive of Johnson Creek Enterprises, a company that sells the e-liquid ingredient for vaping products, stated in The New York Times: “The FDA has blatantly ignored evidence that our products improve people’s lives.”44 Defending the FDA’s position against the tobacco industry, Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products was quoted in The New York Times saying:45


” . . . [T]he marketplace has been the wild, wild West. Companies were free to introduce any product they wanted, make any claim they wanted, and that is how we wound up with a 900 percent increase in high schoolers using e-cigarettes and as well as all these reports of exploding e-cigarette batteries and products that have caused burns and fires and disfigurement.”


Trading Your Health for Profits


The largest tobacco company in the U.S., Altria (formerly known as Philip Morris Co.), has been funding the lobbying effort to overturn the FDA rule. With a growing e-cigarette unit, Altria distributed their draft of legislation that would eliminate the Deeming Rule for e-cigarettes already on the market.


The New York Times reported that two weeks after delivery of this draft to his office, Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma introduced the bill with 245 words pulled verbatim from the tobacco industry draft. Cole received one of the highest campaign contributions from the tobacco industry.


In an interview with The New York Times, ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, Nita Lowey of New York, expressed her embarrassment that more than 70 lawmakers were willing to co-sponsor legislation originally drafted by the tobacco industry. She stated:46


“For Congress to consider going backward in how we regulate the public health hazard is simply mind-boggling. It wasn’t that long ago that tobacco companies were telling the public that cigarettes were not addictive and denying clear evidence that they caused cancer.”


In a letter to the editor at The New York Times, former federal judge Haddon Lee Sarokin republished an opinion he had written 24 years ago, as he believes it is equally valid today, in regard to the e-cigarette industry, as it was back then. At the time, this opinion was heavily criticized by the Senate, causing him to be removed from tobacco cases.


“All too often in the choice between the physical health of consumers and the financial well-being of business, concealment is chosen over disclosure, sales over safety and money over morality. Who are these persons who knowingly and secretly decide to put the buying public at risk solely for the purpose of making profits and who believe that illness and death of consumers is an appropriate cost of their own prosperity!”47


If You Want to Quit Smoking, Do This First


I believe the “secret” to quitting smoking is to get healthy first, which will make quitting much easier. Exercising is part and parcel of this plan, as research shows people who engage in regular strength training double their success rate at quitting smoking compared to those who don’t exercise.48 Healthy eating is another crucial aspect that can’t be ignored. In short, if you want to quit, here are the three basic tips to get you started:


Read through my comprehensive free nutrition plan to get started eating right.

Develop a well-rounded exercise regimen. It is your ally to fighting disease and to quitting smoking. Strength training is an important part, but also remember to incorporate high-intensity interval exercises like Peak Fitness, core-strengthening exercises, stretching and regular non-exercise movement (like walking and cutting back on sitting).

Find a healthy emotional outlet. Many people use exercise, meditation or relaxation techniques for this, and these are all great. I also recommend incorporating the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). This can help clear out emotional blockages from your system (some of which you might not even realize are there), thus restoring your mind and body’s balance and helping you break the addiction and avoid cravings.

Once you are regularly doing these three things, then you can begin to think about quitting smoking. At this point many are ready to try quitting “cold turkey.” Predict your urge to smoke, and preplan healthier alternatives and distractions. Finally, if you’re a parent, talk with your children about the risks of smoking, smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes. The easiest pathway to not smoking is to avoid starting in the first place.



Please share with family and loved ones.

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived   JM


Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Protect Yourself in Cold and Flu Season


During Cold & Flu Season, Protect Yourself by Eating Right


Colds and flus are a large burden on our society. Between treatments, illness-compromised productivity, and lost workdays, it is estimated that the common cold alone costs the U.S. $40 billion each year.1


We all know the basics for reducing exposure—wash your hands, avoid touching your face, and avoid being exposed to people who are already ill.  As for the influenza vaccine it is important to know that it is not very effective.


An independent analysis of flu vaccine studies by Cochrane — a non-profit, non-government organization that organizes medical research information– found that under typical conditions, for every 100 people  vaccinated only one person would avoid flu symptoms or another way of saying it, you would have to be vaccinated every year for 100 years to save yourself one flu episode. The study showed that the flu vaccine did NOT significantly affect the number of people hospitalized or working days lost, and did not prevent flu–associated complications or those rare flu–associated deaths.2,3



Staying safe from flu virus and colds

Those of us who eat healthfully need not worry about the dangers of the flu. Excellent nutrition can reduce our vulnerability to infection and reduce the length and severity of illness if we do become infected. Many micronutrients are required to support proper function of the immune system, and phytochemicals from colorful produce have additional anti-microbial and immune-boosting effects.


Make sure your diet includes the following immune boosting superfoods.




Mushrooms have a unique ability to activate the body’s natural immune defenses. Reishi and shiitake mushrooms enhance activity of natural killer (NK) cells, which attack cancerous and virus-infected cells.4,5 Shiitake mushrooms protect against influenza infection in animal studies.6-8


Fortunately, it is not only exotic mushrooms that benefit the immune system. Eating white button mushrooms daily was found to enhance immune defenses in mucosal linings such as those in the mouth and respiratory tract.9  Dendritic cells are another type of immune cell that protects the respiratory tract, and their activity is also enhanced by white button mushroom phytochemicals.10


Mushrooms should only be eaten cooked: several raw culinary mushrooms contain a potentially harmful compound called agaritine, and cooking mushrooms significantly reduces the agaritine content.11,12


Because various mushrooms have differing and profound immune system and anti-cancer benefits, I even recommend taking a mixed mushroom supplement containing 10 well-documented protective species.



Cruciferous vegetables

The cruciferous family of vegetables includes kale, collards, mustard greens, arugula, watercress, broccoli, broccoli rabe, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, and more. The bitter, spicy or pungent flavors of these vegetables are provided by glucosinolates, which are converted into potent anti-cancer compounds, called isothiocyanates (ITCs), upon chopping or chewing.


In addition to their anti-cancer effects, ITCs also support the immune system and have antimicrobial properties.


To maximize ITCs, chop cruciferous vegetables finely, eat them raw and chew them well; the enzyme that converts glucosinolates to ITCs (called myrosinase) is activated by disrupting the plant cells and deactivated by heat. However, you can still get ITCs from your cooked cruciferous vegetables: chop them finely before you begin to cook and add some raw cruciferous to the meal.


For instance, if you are eating cooked broccoli, add some shredded cabbage to your salad, which will provide some myrosinase to produce more ITC from the already cooked broccoli. Gut bacteria have the myrosinase enzyme, so a small amount of ITCs from cooked cruciferous vegetables will be produced in the digestive tract as well.


Cruciferous vegetable phytochemicals may enhance interferon activity, which is an important component of the body’s antiviral response.13,14




Berries are powerful anti-cancer foods that also offer protection against viruses. Antioxidants called flavonoids, which are abundant in berries, have antiviral activity.15 In fact, if you do get the flu, taking anthocyanin-rich elderberry juice may even shorten the duration of your symptoms.16-18


Berries and grapes are also rich in resveratrol, another antioxidant phytochemical with strong antiviral effects—resveratrol has been shown to block the replication of influenza and other respiratory viruses.19-21


Plus, strawberries are high in vitamin C, which protects immune cells from oxidative damage.22


The benefits of berries go far beyond cold and flu protection. Flavonoid antioxidants like those in berries are not just antioxidants—they have many beneficial effects inside cells: flavonoids activate the body’s natural detoxification enzymes, block the growth of cancer cells, decrease inflammation, and support proper blood pressure regulation.23


Berries (and pomegranates) are also extremely rich in another antioxidant called ellagic acid, a compound known to block cancer cell and tumor growth.24-26



Onions & Garlic

There is no convincing evidence for using garlic supplements for symptoms of the common cold.27 However, eating garlic and onions daily has clear benefits when it comes to cancer prevention, and may help to increase functionality of the cells in our immune system..28,29  Plus, several phytochemicals in garlic have virus-killing activity against common respiratory viruses.30


Like cruciferous vegetables, the active compounds in onions and garlic are produced when the plant cells are disrupted, so It’s best to chop them before eating raw and before they are heated when cooking.



Helpful supplements

Vitamin D and zinc are important players in immune function, so maintaining adequate stores of these micronutrients will also help to protect against colds and flus. Children given vitamin D supplements throughout the winter reduced the occurrence of flu compared to a placebo group, and taking supplemental zinc regularly was found to slightly reduce the number of colds caught by children.17,31 Since vitamin D is not readily available in the food supply, and zinc is not highly absorbed from plant foods, well-designed supplements are a good choice. Please see my Vitamin Advisor for more information. (link to VA)



Treating cold and flu symptoms

Common cold remedies are ineffective, and some may even prolong the illness. For example, mega doses of vitamin C do not prevent colds or reduce symptoms, and fever-reducing medications actually hinder the body’s attack on the infection.


Please remember never start a vitamin or supplement routine without consulting a healthcare professional first.  Call us with your questions and we can evaluate a healthcare plan made just for you.  No two people are the same!


Most doctors do not know that Vitamin D comes in many strengths and designs.  Also, some of you know this, but you always have to take vitamin D with another supplement so you do not have kidney problems.  Please check first!


Don’t be alarmed if your cold symptoms last longer than you expect. On average, patients report that their common cold symptoms last one and a half to two weeks. In children, earaches tend to last anywhere from less than one day to 9 days, sore throat 2 to 7 days, cough up to 25 days, and the common cold 7 to 15 days.32


In time, the body will clear the virus on its own. Remember, over-the-counter medications merely mask symptoms, and may even impair healing. However, if you experience a sudden worsening of symptoms, especially including labored breathing, or a fever above 103 degrees for three days, then it is time to call the doctor.


Of course, as your diet improves, you will be less likely to become ill, and if you do, you will recover more quickly. This year, to protect yourself against cold and flu, get enough sleep, avoid putting your hands near your nose or mouth, and eat healthfully. A nutrient-rich diet provides your body with a spectrum of immunity-boosting phytochemicals that also protect against heart disease, diabetes and cancer.


Please share with family and loved ones, and call us to set up an appointment to review you healthcare plan.

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived: JF