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The Food Fighters: 5 Immune-Boosting Nutrients You Need to Ward Off Cold, Flu and Illness

By Team Best Life

For every day of good health you enjoy, you can thank your immune system. Adequate sleep (7 to 8 hours per night), regular exercise, and well-managed stress all contribute to boosting your immune system. In addition, what you eat has a direct effect on how well your body defends itself from microbes and other disease-causing foreigners. And the best foods have plenty of these nutrients.

vitamin c

Vitamin A

What it does: Once converted from beta-carotene in the body, vitamin A helps develop defensive T-cells that protect you from foreign bacteria and viruses.

Where to find it: Beta-carotene-rich foods (look for orange), such as cantaloupe, carrots, winter squash, and sweet potatoes. Also, leafy greens like collard, kale, mustard, and spinach.

Vitamin C

What it does: It stimulates the production of immune cells such as neutrophils, which attack bacteria and viruses while protecting these cells from free radical damage.

Where to find it: Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, grapefruit, oranges, strawberries, sweet red pepper, tomato.
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3 Supplements to Help Kick the Common Cold

Getting the sniffles? Fall and winter are the time of year when people seem to be more susceptible to colds. It might be the change in temperature or it may be all the bugs that your kids are bringing home from school, but most come down with at least one cold when the temps drop. Regardless of feeling under the weather, most of us can not drop everything we are doing to rest and recuperate like we should. The average cold can take seven days to almost two weeks to recover from, but there is hope. There are many over the counter products and herbal supplements that may shorten the duration of a cold and help you get back to feeling a hundred percent.

Echinacea

Echinacea is an herbal supplement that is often used to prevent a cold or shorten the time you have one once it starts. It is believed that echinacea works by reducing inflammation to help deal with cold symptoms. The most common side effects from echinacea supplements are fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache and muscle aches, but I do, however, think that many of these symptoms could be caused by the cold itself. If you are allergic to certain flowers like mums, ragweed or marigolds you may become allergic to echinacea.


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6 Nutrients Every Vegetarian Needs

By Delia Quigley for Care2.com

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” ~Albert Einstein

As people strive to improve their health and evolve their food choices to a more plant-based diet, it is easy to get lost along the way. You can happily end up living on chocolate whole-wheat croissants for breakfast, cheese pizza for lunch and a large bowl of fettuccine alfredo for dinner, but the pounds will eventually stack up as your energy declines. When you transition to a more vegetarian way of eating it is important to educate yourself about the nutrients your body will need on a daily basis.

Learn how to create a balance of vegetable protein, carbohydrates and quality fats with each meal. You must also replace the six essential nutrients provided by animal proteins with plant-based foods containing the protein, iron, zinc, calcium, B12, and Essential Fatty Acids that are reduced with the elimination of meat, poultry, pork and fish. The fun part is putting them together into delicious recipes and then chewing slowly for the full satisfying experience.


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Fortified Foods May Lead to Vitamin Overdose

Here in the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates food safety. Denmark’s equivalent to that is the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, also known as the DVFA. Stateside, we tend to think of extra vitamins as a positive thing but in Denmark, vitamin fortified food is a diet-don’t. The DVFA has made it clear that their stance on fortifying foods with vitamins and minerals is one of suspicion and concern.

The theory held within the DVFA is that a properly balanced diet negates the necessity for supplementing with extra vitamins. In fact, they believe so strongly in the dangers of vitamin and mineral overdose that fortified foods must first be approved through a pricey application process. Foods found to contain what the DVFA classifies as dangerous levels of fortification are not granted approval.

Among the products recently pulled from the shelves of a small Copenhagen store is Ovaltine. At my home, we use Ovaltine as a chocolate milk treat because it’s nutrient enriched- I feel a lot better about that decision as opposed to pouring a giant glob of chocolate flavored syrup in to my son’s cup. What strikes me as particularly odd is that Ovaltine hasn’t yet been granted shelf-space and yet Red Bull (with its copious amounts of both vitamins and caffeine) has, according to the New York Times.


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Multi-Vitamins are not Living Up to Their Claims

If you’re faithfully taking your daily multi-vitamin, you should be proud of yourself. You’re doing a good thing for your body and your overall health, right? Unfortunately, you may not be helping yourself as much as you think.

A recent MSNBC article reported that many of the vitamins and supplements on the shelf are not as nutritious as they claim and, in some cases, they are more potent than they claim.

The FDA has strict guidelines and regulations for prescription drugs, however there is not process for regulating vitamins and supplements. The only testing on these products is done independently. ConsumerLab.com and its researchers conducted a test on 38 multi-vitamins and published their findings this week. The tests concluded that eight products contained too few of the specific nutrients, two contained more nutrients than the label stated, and three simply had improper labeling.


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