Foods and Vitamins To Support Your Immune System

July 20, 2020

What you eat is the most important factor in a strong immune system. In light of COVID-19 we’re summarizing years of experience into one episode to share what you can do today to support your health through the pandemic and beyond.

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BRITNI: Hello, this is Britni, one of the dietitians at Nutritional Weight & Wellness. Before we start today's podcast, I want to let everyone know about a couple of promotions. First, we're having a 15% off sale on all NutriKey products. The sale starts Saturday, July 18th and runs through Saturday, July 26th. Second through July, we're offering a great deal on our nutrition counseling packages. We have a package that includes an initial consultation plus two 1 hour follow up appointments for only $350. That's a savings of $135. If you've been listening to the podcast and tried implementing a few things that you've heard on the show, but you just haven't been able to put it all together, this would be a great opportunity to meet with one of our nutritionists or maybe you have a specific health issue that you would like help with. Whatever your health goals are, 'm sure that we can help you. During these times where offering phone or zoom appointments. And I have to say my clients are really appreciating the convenience of our zoom and phone appointments. For more information, go to Oh, did I mention that if you've already seen a nutritionist at Nutritional Weight & Wellness, we have a package on sale for you too. As I mentioned earlier, all NutriKey products are 15% off July 18th through July 26th. NutriKey products are manufactured in the United States and are independently tested by a third party. Enjoy the sale online at that's N U T R I K E or we're offering curbside pickup at one of our seven Twin Cities locations. Please be sure to call ahead to arrange the pickup. Thanks for listening to Dishing Up Nutrition and enjoy the show.

CASSIE: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. This show is brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. I'm Cassie Weness and I'm a registered and licensed dietician. And I'm in studio this morning with JoAnn Ridout, who is also a registered and licensed dietitian. Both JoAnn and I have been in the field of nutrition, teaching nutrition classes, and counseling clients individually for many years. Together JoAnn, you and I have several decades. Yeah, so, so we have a lot of knowledge and expertise to share this morning. And because of COVID-19, we thought a great topic for today's show would be foods and vitamins that will support your immune system. So that's what our discussion today will be all about. And I'm not sure if you've noticed this JoAnn, but I feel like in the past few months, pretty much everybody has become really concerned about their immune function and what they can do to make it stronger.

JOANN: That's right. Good morning, Cassie.

CASSIE: Good morning.

JOANN: Good to be here with you today.

CASSIE: Yes. I always enjoy doing the radio with you and I always sleep really well the night before, because I know that you're always so prepared, so it's going to be a great show.

JOANN: Yes, it is. So since the onset of the Coronavirus, and especially now with the recent rise in cases, the coronavirus cases in the U.S., many of our clients want to do everything they can do to strengthen their immune function. And actually I'm very surprised that more people... many people are listening to this information and asking about this information. But I also feel like it's not given the credence because probably because of what we're hearing on the news and all of the other places that immune function is so important. And we really can do something about that. Many people are looking for a magic vitamin or a magic pill, some kind of supplement and are rather surprised when I suggest a diet modification first. At Nutritional Weight & Wellness, we often say you can't out supplement a poor diet. As a dietitian, I believe what you eat is one of the most important factors in having a strong immune system.

CASSIE: I could not agree with you more. And I honestly find it so interesting that so many people are wearing masks everywhere. I've talked to people that are wiping down all of the food containers that they come home with from the grocery store. I've even seen some people wearing gloves, and yet most of these same people aren't paying any attention to the foods they're choosing to put in their mouth day in and day out. They're still eating bread several times a day. They're still having cocktails at their lake cabin every weekend. And you know, it's not just us at Nutritional Weight & Wellness saying this. If you read the research reports, it is pointing to the fact that we need a strong immune system to help protect ourselves from the coronavirus and at Nutritional Weight & Wellness, we're well aware that we also need a strong immune system to help prevent against cancer and other autoimmune diseases. And I have a couple of statistics I want to share with the listeners. This first one, I think you'll find surprising. I know I did when I first came across this. 38% of men and women in the United States will be diagnosed with some form of cancer in their lifetime. 38%. So I want you to just take a minute and visualize all your friends, all your family. Can you visualize them all lined up and then count out every third person? Because that's about what we're talking about here. 38%. That's more than one out of every three people that will get cancer sometime in their life. And another statistic that is important, we've talked about it on past Dishing Up Nutrition shows, but it bears repeating. One in eight women will develop breast cancer at some point in their life. And I think all of us heard the news earlier this week, Kelly Preston, the actress and the wife of John Travolta died at the young age of 57 from breast cancer. So, you know, anything and everything we can do to protect ourselves against that, I think is something we all want. Now I'm not here to be a Debbie downer. Today, JoAnn and I want to look at ways that you can develop a strong immune system, or in other words, a strong defense system. As I was thinking about the topic material for today, and I was also driving my kids back and forth to their basketball camp, that thankfully is actually happening this summer. They have basketball camp, just a little bit of a shortened version, but I'm always telling my kids with basketball, that defense wins games. You know, as a young kid, you want a score, you want a score, but I keep telling them: work on your defense. Defense wins games. And we've all heard coaches say this. And I think we can draw that analogy to our nutrition habits and our lifestyle habits. If you have good eating and good lifestyle habits that will help you build a strong defense system so that hopefully you'll come out really well on the other side of this pandemic.

JOANN: Right. That is so right Cassie and our immune system is very complex. We know it's influenced by the interaction between our genes or our own genetics AND our environment. And when I refer to our environment, I'm including many elements you may not think about. Our food habits are included. Our sleep habits are included. Our exercise habits are included and our stress level.

CASSIE: All of those things. And we have to think too about our exposure to chemicals, our weight, and let's not forget our vitamin D level. Everybody should know their vitamin D level and you want to be somewhere between 50 and 80, when you get that blood level report back from your doctor.

JOANN: That's right. And we're also talking about the amount of sugar and processed carbs we eat. We talk about this every week, but that is so important in determining your immune function. Also how well we digest food, the amount of alcohol we drink, if we smoke, if we have a good social life. All of these factors add a little bit more inflammation to our bodies.

CASSIE: And that hampers our immune system. And if you can believe it, in addition to all of these elements, we just mentioned, there are more environmental factors that affect our immune function. And I want to tell you something that Dr. Jeffrey Bland said, you may have heard that name before. He's been coined by many as the father of functional medicine. He's also the author of a thought provoking book called *The Disease Delusion*. He shared research which says that 90% of our health is influenced by environmental factors and only 10% is because of our genetics. Now, certainly at this point in our lives, we're not able to change our genetics, but we can focus on that 90%. We can focus on making changes in the environmental factors that matter. We can eat better. We can limit our consumption of alcohol or maybe cut it out entirely. We can choose to eat organically grown, pesticide free vegetables and fruits. We can cut back on sugar. We can have a filtration system installed in our home and drink filtered water. And we can admit to the importance of sleep and strive to get at least seven and a half to eight hours most nights of the week.

JOANN: Boy, that's an amazing list that you just gave Cassie and so important. So here's a fact that most people are not aware of: more than half of our body's immune system comes from our intestinal tract. So a question to ask yourself is how healthy is my GI tract, or my gastrointestinal tract? And Cassie, before we talk about some symptoms of poor intestinal health, I bet many listeners may be wondering why is intestinal health so important to our immune function? And I'll give you one big reason. If you have digestive symptoms, it may be an indication that you are not breaking down or digesting your foods. And that means you are not able to access those key nutrients that your body needs from that food,

CASSIE: Right. And if you're not getting the nutrients you need to support a strong immune system that could be a problem, especially in the middle of a pandemic like we're in. So next let's ask our listeners the list of questions that you and I came up with to help individuals determine whether or not their intestinal health needs some fixing up. The first question is, do you have constipation or diarrhea on a regular basis? Or do you often get indigestion? How about feeling bloated and gassy much of the time? If you can answer yes to any of these, you're probably not digesting food as you should.

JOANN: Should we take a quick break and then finish our list?

CASSIE: Yes, we have more to ask…

JOANN: Just looking at the time here.

CASSIE: Yes. Thank you. We do have more questions to ask to help you determine if you are not digesting your food properly, but we'll come back to that on the other side of this commercial. If you're just tuning in, you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. Today, our topic is Foods and Vitamins to Support Your Immune System. And while I'm thinking of it, before we go to break, some of you may have heard the research reports that are coming out that are connecting higher blood sugars to an increased risk of contracting the coronavirus. If you haven't heard this, let me ask you a question. If you have prediabetes, or if you have diabetes, are you aware that consistently having higher blood sugars can increase your risk of getting COVID-19? Stay with us because when we come back from this commercial, we'll share more of this story. We'll be right back.

JOANN: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Yes, it is true. Having a higher blood sugar level increases your risk of contracting COVID-19. The American Diabetes Association explains that diabetics have a higher rate of complication and death from COVID-19 due to a dysfunction of their immune system, which can then result in the failure of their immune system to control the spread of the virus. In these stressful times, we recommend getting help and support to manage these risk factors.

CASSIE: Yes. And certainly one way you could get that support is having a consult with a dietitian or nutritionist at Nutritional Weight & Wellness. We all need to check in and hold ourselves accountable. So before we went to commercial, we were posing some questions to the listeners to help people determine, I mean some people know they have a lot of digestive issues and aren't absorbing nutrients, but some of you may not know for sure. So these questions will help you determine whether or not you have digestive problems that could be interfering with absorption of key nutrients. And I think you had a couple of JoAnn.

JOANN: Right. Do you have acid reflux frequently, or many people think of that as heartburn? Or do you experience bad breath? And that can be a sign too that maybe people wouldn't be thinking digestively.

CASSIE: Isn't that interesting. How about, do you have consistent sugar or carbohydrate cravings? And here's another one: do you feel like you're constantly low on energy? That could be a sign of poor digestive health.

JOANN: Right. And another one: does your stool have an oily appearance? So that means, you know, may mean you're not absorbing the oil or the fats you're eating. Or another one: are you deficient in iron, zinc, or magnesium? Sometimes deficiency shows, maybe you're eating those nutrients, but maybe you're not absorbing those nutrients.

CASSIE: Do you have IBS? Crohn's disease? Or celiac disease? If you can say yes to any one of these questions or maybe you can say yes to all of these questions, it's likely an indication that your digestive system isn't working well enough to break down the foods you're eating. And so you could very well be deficient in the key nutrients you need for a well functioning immune system.

JOANN: That's right. And we have known for a long time that key nutrients play an important role in supporting our immune system. In fact, a deficiency in key nutrients can adversely influence the functioning of our immune system. And having said that, I think it's time to talk about some of these key nutrients. So zinc is a key nutrient to support your immune system. And a lot of people know that I, you know, a lot of people are kind of willing to bring on zinc during cold and flu season. So that's, that's not new information. If your digestive system is working well, you should be able to access zinc from the meat you eat.

CASSIE: And you most likely need to be eating meat at least three or four times a day to get enough zinc.

JOANN: That's right.

CASSIE: Another key nutrient is iron. And again, if you have good digestion, you get iron from eating meat. That would be your best source of available iron. And I just want to draw a quick connection here. This is top of mind since we have celiac disease in our family. Iron deficiency is common in people with undiagnosed celiac disease. And the reason here is that if you're eating gluten and your body is negatively reacting to it, it can damage the part of the intestine where iron is absorbed.

JOANN: And another key set or key nutrient is those B vitamins, especially folic acid, which is important for your immune function. The source of B vitamins is usually meat. Again, meat, we're talking about protein yet again, in order to access B vitamins, you must have a good digestive system and be able to break that protein down, break that meat down in order to get those vitamins.

CASSIE: Another nutrient that's important for so many different aspects of our health, including a good functioning immune system is Omega-3 fatty acids. And I know many of you are already aware that wild caught salmon is a great source of Omega-3s. And I want to talk about vitamin A here as well and you'll hear in just a second, why those two kind of go together, our long time listeners are probably aware that vitamin A is a key nutrient for building a strong immune system. And if you want an easy way to be sure that you're getting both your Omega-3s and your vitamin A, you can take two teaspoons of cod liver oil each day. It's all in one there.

JOANN: Many people I know are in our.. My parents' generation, you know, we're given cod liver oil, but I remember my grandmother talking about it as well.

CASSIE: But I will tell you JoAnn, as you know, but maybe we should tell listeners, it's not the cod liver oil of our grandmother's generation.

JOANN: It's not, it's not.

CASSIE: This is deodorized and it's flavored. And I think mine tastes like a lemon drop. It's really delightful.

JOANN: The lemon flavored is good. So one of the most powerful nutrients for your immune system is vitamin C and I'm sure many of our listeners remember us talking about Dr. Pauling. He wrote about vitamin C in the common cold, I think it was late sixties, early seventies. Dr. Pauling also reported that for viral protection, we need higher doses of vitamin C. So not only from pills, but the food sources of vitamin C are berries, red and green peppers, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cantaloupe. In order to access sufficient vitamin C for a well functioning immune system, your body must be able to digest these vitamin C food sources and at this time during our COVID crisis, most people would benefit from adding a supplement to their daily nutrition habit. During normal times, we need at least 2000 milligrams daily, but during the COVID pandemic, we suggest a higher dose of it. 4,000 to 6,000 milligrams daily.

CASSIE: Just some nice added insurance that is affordable.

JOANN: It is.

CASSIE: Okay. So we've given our listeners a lot of key nutrients to think about. I think now we should bring the discussion full circle. If your digestion is good, and we've, we've kind of said this, but I want to repeat it, if your digestion is good and you can actually access nutrients from your food, and if you're eating adequate amounts of meat and/or fish, if you're eating a lot of vegetables, and if you're getting about one tablespoon of healthy fat with each meal and snack, then you're most likely supporting a healthy immune system. But if you have a digestive or intestinal issue, you're probably nutrient deficient. Now the upside here is your body, in this case, your intestinal tract wants to heal IF you give it the right tools.

JOANN: That's right. And as dietitians and nutritionists, we talk about food all day long. We know food should provide us with protein, carbohydrates, and fats, but if you're experiencing a digestive or an intestinal problem, it's very likely you're not able to actually absorb these key immune building nutrients from your food. So, especially now so many people I work with are on medication. That'd be people who have been on a lot of antibiotics, antibiotic residue, and much of the commercially raised meats or even meds and our water supply. Our intestinal tract can no longer do its work. So we typically suggest adding a probiotic supplement to aid digestion. And bifidobacteria is the most prominent good bacteria in our small intestinal tract.

CASSIE: Yes, by a long shot. And that's why at Nutritional Weight & Wellness, when we're meeting with clients, especially those with digestive problems, we often recommend a bifidobacteria supplement. And I want to talk more about that when we get back from this next commercial. Before we break, I want to remind you, you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. My name is Cassie. I'm in studio with JoAnn and our topic is Foods and Vitamins to Support Your Immune System. As I often like to do before we break for commercial, I want to give you a little food for thought and here it is: in this hot weather, do you find that you're needing to drink more water, especially to avoid those leg cramps? Boy today is going to be steamy. So I'll tell you now, drink up before you feel thirsty to avoid those leg cramps. But on that note, I want to give a refreshing and healthy drink that you can enjoy if you're kind of getting tired of water and that can help you stay hydrated and avoid those painful leg cramps. Take a glass, put some ice in it, pour a good quality mineral water into that glass like San Pellegrino, for example, and then add about six drops of the root beer flavored Stevia drops. I know my kids really like the Sweet Leaf brand of root beer Stevia drops. And when you put, like I said, about six drops of this root beer flavored Stevia into that fizzy mineral water, it makes a tasty and healthy drink without the sugar. It's really a great way to make drinking water more fun. And we'll be right back after this commercial.

JOANN: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. I have another healthy, fun, drink idea. My granddaughter calls it "Grandma's Healthy Koolaid". In a glass of water, I add about a half a scoop of Key Greens and Fruits. Typically I use either the berry flavor or the strawberry kiwi flavor because of the fruity taste. And I stir the Key Greens and Fruit in until it dissolves. Then I pour it into a fun little Mickey Mouse or Cinderella glass. And my granddaughters absolutely love this drink. I like it also because one scoop of Key Greens and Fruit contains 20 servings of vegetables and fruits and has no artificial flavors or colors. So we are both happy, healthy, and hydrated.

CASSIE: My family loves the Key Greens and Fruits too, especially in the summertime. And our favorite right now is the second one you mentioned the strawberry kiwi.

JOANN: Yeah. And some people love the pink lemonade flavor.

CASSIE: Yes, we've done that one before too. Alright. So we were talking about bifidobacteria before we went to commercial and I was saying that especially when we have clients at the office with digestive problems, we most often recommend that they supplement with bifidobacteria and we have two different forms. There are Bifido Balance capsules and typically we will recommend that, for an adult, they take two to three capsules before each meal. So that's three different times a day. Or what my family uses is the Bifido Powder. And we do a half of a teaspoon of Bifido Powder before each meal so that would be another alternative. And this is a very natural, safe supplement. And I think when you realize that our first exposure to this probiotic is when we pass through the birth canal, it becomes very evident that, wow, this is something mother nature intended for us to have. And then our second exposure to bifidobacteria is from mother's breast milk, if we were fortunate enough to be breastfed. And I have to say back when I was seeing clients, and I saw clients for many years, I can't even count on my hands the number of clients whose digestive problems virtually disappeared just by adding that bifidobacteria into their daily supplement regimen.

JOANN: That's right.

CASSIE: And you know, this all ties in with our immune system because more than 70% of our immune function is housed in our intestinal tract so we want to keep it healthy. And this bifidobacteria should be living in large numbers in our intestinal tract. And just a quick side note, as I mentioned before, celiac disease is in my family, just for a short definition, if any of you are not aware of what celiac disease is, it's when basically gluten interferes with nutrients being absorbed. So if you have celiac disease or if you have a non-celiac gluten sensitivity and you're eating gluten, that is going to hinder absorption of nutrients. So just pulling it all together here too, JoAnn mentioned that taking antibiotics or eating meat with antibiotic residues over the years can be one reason why your digestive health is now suffering. Another reason among many is if you have celiac disease or a non-celiac gluten sensitivity and you're not being 100% strict about eating a gluten free diet that gets really wreak havoc on your intestinal health.

JOANN: Right and Cassie just mentioned that celiac disease or sensitivity to gluten interferes with your digestion, if you eat gluten. I think it's interesting that I have noticed for myself, I am gluten sensitive, that even if I eat one or two bites of something, sometimes I, I think, oh, I can just try this. Even that amount is going to bother my intestinal tract. And, you know, I've learned now to stay away, stay farther away from that because you know, life's not perfect, but it still really interferes. So if you are gluten sensitive, it is best to avoid all gluten grains, particularly at this time. And as we're trying to build our immune system, we need to keep our intestinal health in place. I also see in practice a lot of people taking antacid medications that are interfering with their digestion and absorption of those nutrients.

CASSIE: I am glad you brought that up. When I was seeing clients at Nutritional Weight & Wellness, there was not a day that went by where I didn't have several clients in my office who were taking antacids. And if you're not quite sure what an antacid is, there's so many, it could be Prilosec, Nexium, Prevacid, just to name a few. And unfortunately, often these people were experiencing anemia, which is low iron, low energy, sometimes even neuropathy. And these are all symptoms associated with the deficiency of iron and B12. We need adequate acid in our stomach to absorb iron and B12. So if a person takes an antacid, it either severely limits the amount of acid their stomach produces or it shuts down their acid production entirely. And this is why symptoms of iron and B12 deficiency begin to show up. And let's not forget, we also need adequate stomach acid to fend off bad bacteria and viruses. Our stomach acid is our first line of defense for many of the germs we encounter. So it's not a good idea especially in the middle of this coronavirus outbreak to be taking an antacid and shut off that acid production. You know, bottom line: acid blockers, the Zantac, the prevacid, et cetera, et cetera, because there's a lot of them. They don't heal heartburn. They only mask the symptoms. And in the end, these antacids taken long term, not only hamper a healthy immune system, but they're harmful to other areas of our health too.

JOANN: That's right. And after working with hundreds of clients, I find many people need a probiotic

CASSIE: Like that bifido that we just talked about.

JOANN: And a digestive enzyme to help them break down and utilize those nutrients. So you may be eating a healthy diet, but if you cannot digest that food the healthy diet, little or no benefit to you then. We find many clients need more stomach acid, not something that blocks acid production. And I have found the supplement Key Digestive Enzymes to be very beneficial, to restoring the digestive process.

CASSIE: And this is a fairly new product. So I am excited to hear more and more about the results.

JOANN: Exactly. And generally I suggest that my clients take one or two with each meal and clients have told me that their bloating and gas has gone away in just a few days and getting rid of that bloating is important. But what is most important is the fact that your body is able to access those nutrients from the food to support your immune system.

CASSIE: It all comes back to the food, doesn't it? The food we're choosing to put in our mouth day in and day out. It reminds me of Hippocrates when he said, "let food be thy medicine". And, you know, for those of you that have listened to Dishing Up Nutrition for some time now, you know that at Nutritional Weight & Wellness we are all about eating real food to support your immune system and eating real food to support your overall health. If you want to be sure that you're getting immune supporting key nutrients at Nutritional Weight & Wellness we recommend eating grass fed meat or wild caught salmon at every meal. Animal protein and the protein we find in that wild caught fish are great sources of zinc, iron, selenium and of course, most of the B vitamins like niacin, B6, and B12

JOANN: That's right. And we also recommend eating several servings of vegetables each day. Vegetables are going to give us a great source of antioxidants and vitamin C and potassium and people who eat vegetables are at a reduced risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, and many cancers. So if your garden has rewarded you with an abundance of zucchini or if you're lucky enough to be on one of those CSA groups, you're probably getting some of those things now too.

CASSIE: This is time of year.

JOANN: It is. I encourage you to check out our zucchini pancake recipe on our website at And I have made that recipe and it's really great. It's like savory pancakes.

CASSIE: It is a good recipe and we should let listeners know something that's fairly new on our website is a video from our chef Marianne showing you how to make these zucchini pancakes step-by-step and besides tasting so good, these zucchini pancakes are really a great way to add vegetables to that breakfast meal.

JOANN: That's right. Really good addition. So we also need some natural beneficial fat such as coconut oil or butter or avocado oil to support our immunity. My grandmother always said "butter makes everything taste better".

CASSIE: So true.

JOANN: Remember those old outdated, low fat recommendations? I certainly do because I was in dietitian school at that time, learning all about low fat. Little did we know back then that we need healthy fat to help make ourselves strong and resistant to infections and cancer. Our cell membranes need to be strong and resilient to that bad bacteria to viruses and a cancer. That cell membrane is made up of good fat, which protects the inner part of the cell from any damage.

CASSIE: Okay, I want to repeat a very important sentence that you just stated, because I think this is new information for a lot of people. You said the cell membrane is made up of good fat. So doesn't it make sense that you need to be adding, like we said earlier, at least a tablespoon of healthy fat at every meal and every snack to make that cell membrane strong, to protect against viruses and cancer and other bad things that could enter the cell. And can you believe it's time for our final commercial break already. Before we go, I want to remind you that you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight & Wellness. And I also want to say that after you've gotten a small insight here this morning on how important good intestinal health is for your immune function, I know many of you are going to be eager to learn more. If you're one of the many that wants to learn more, I highly recommend taking our online class called Gut Reaction: Restore Digestive Health Through Nutrition. This is an excellent class and such a great way to learn more about building a strong immune system. If you're interested, just go to our website and click on Nutrition Classes, then scroll down to find this class. And if you have questions about this class or questions about our topic today, you can call the office at (651) 699-3438. We may not be seeing clients in person just yet, but we are answering our phone and stay with us. We'll be back on the other side of this commercial.

JOANN: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. I am happy to say that we are available to do nutrition counseling via zoom or phone, whichever you prefer. We want you to be comfortable, so either of them works for us and we've really not missed a beat in terms of nutrition counseling.

CASSIE: We've been very lucky.

JOANN: We've been very lucky. We've been able to just transition clients to either a phone appointment or a zoom appointment, and really been able to keep our schedules pretty full. And at this time, many health insurance policies are covering nutrition counseling for a variety of health concerns. And I suggest asking your health insurance carrier if nutrition counseling is a benefit included in your health insurance package. And if you have questions about what to ask them, you can call our office at (651) 699-3438. The front desk staff can help you with a handout, a guideline of what to, how to talk to your insurance company about this coverage. And as dietitians and nutritionists, we understand that improving your nutrition and making more proactive lifestyle habits often takes encouragement and support. However, we know the benefits far outweigh the work. So do go ahead and call us (651) 699-3438 or go to our website at to set up a time that's convenient for you to discuss your health concerns and maybe your digestive concerns.

CASSIE: Right. Cause as we're saying today, if we're not digesting that good food we're eating, it's not supporting a strong immune system. And I just want to go back to what you were talking about JoAnn before the commercial and that is that good fat makes up our cell membranes. So think about that for a minute. Our body is made up of cells, whether we're talking about our heart cells, our lung cells, our skin cells, the cells of our intestinal tract where our immune system lives in large part. It's all made up of cells and that outer protective membrane, that's the outer cell membrane, is made up of good fat. But let me ask you this. What if you're still eating low fat? If you are still following that old 1950s message of eating low fat, then you're not giving your body the substrate it needs to build those strong, healthy membranes that help keep disease and viruses out. And I think just as bad is if you're eating bad fats.

JOANN: Right. That's what I was thinking, as you brought that up is, you know, the bad fats can damage that cell membrane just as bad as not eating enough fat.

CASSIE: And they are everywhere.

JOANN: They are. Soybean oil is everywhere.

CASSIE: It is, isn't it? And canola oil. And unless it says expeller pressed canola oil, it's not expeller pressed, it's very refined unless it says it's expeller pressed again to clarify. And so that would be another bad oil. Cotton seed oil is one we find in a lot of products. So when you get a chance today, look through some of the ingredient lists of the products in your house. And if you see soybean oil or canola oil or cotton seed oil

JOANN: Or corn oil.

CASSIE: Or corn oil, those are bad fats. They're going to make for bad cell membranes. It's time to get rid of those foods. And speaking of fats, it always makes me think of vegetables because I love to cook my fresh vegetables in healthy fats. And we should all be doing that because it helps to absorb the nutrients and the minerals in those vegetables better when we're eating them with some fat, but vegetables on their own are another piece of the puzzle to supporting a strong immune system because of all the nutrition that they provide. And if you haven't checked out your local farmer's market yet I encourage you to do so because I have several big eaters at my house. I not only appreciate the quality that I get from the vegetables at the farmer's market, but I also like the money I save because the vegetables are pretty inexpensive when you're buying local. But honestly what's even better is when my garden starts producing vegetables. So I'm really excited for that. Unfortunately, the birds ate my peas and my broccoli. Otherwise those would have been producing by now. But I have a ton of tomatoes and peppers and jalapenos.

JOANN: Oh yum.

CASSIE: Yeah, so I think I'm going to be making fresh salsa and cucumbers this year that the birds are not bothering. So..

JOANN: That sounds wonderful.

CASSIE: That's free food. You know, you walk out in your backyard, it's, it's free food. And I should tell the listeners to hear as our hour is wrapping up. If you feel like you need ideas on how to put together an immune supporting eating plan, I would suggest that you set up an appointment with one of the Nutritional Weight & Wellness dietitians or nutritionists. We all practice what we preach. So we're full of a lot of tried and true ideas to help you design an immune supporting eating plan for you and for your family.

JOANN: That's right. And if you frequently ask yourself, what will I cook for dinner tonight? I suggest going to our *Weight & Wellness Cookbook*. It is full of simple, but great tasting vegetables and, of course, many other recipes. And you can order the cookbook on our website, It's only $24.95 and shipping is free. It's full of so many ideas. It's a great recipe book. And it's called a recipe book and nutrition guide for a reason because it does help you with nutrition information. I've bought that cookbook for many friends and family for gifts. So I think...very well appreciative.

CASSIE: Great idea. And I'm glad that you pointed out, it's not just a cookbook. It's a nutrition guide. There's some articles to read in there that are very informative and practical. But also what I really love is that at the end of every recipe, it tells you how to round it out or what to add to it to make a meal that is balanced and that will balance out your blood sugar. So it takes all the guesswork out. And like you said JoAnn, delicious ideas. And I tell you if I were to lay out all of my cookbooks for you to peruse, you would see that my Weight & Wellness Cookbook is by far the most tattered.

JOANN: Mine is too.

CASSIE: Yeah! Because it's by far the cookbook that we use the most. Right? And if I were to have to name a favorite, I don't think I could, but I can tell you what I most recently made and that was the middle of this last week. I made the egg bake recipe on page 37.

JOANN: That's good.

CASSIE: Our whole family loves it. I had some fresh farmed farm-raised eggs to use up and this recipe calls for 12 eggs. So I pulled that one out. And if you haven't looked at that recipe yet, I will tell you now it's a great way to get your kids to eat spinach. It's the only way my kids will eat spinach. They love this recipe.

JOANN: It is! Yeah, they do.

CASSIE: But the, the, the spinach is sauteed and sort of hidden in there.

JOANN: One more note about that recipe book is I, several years ago, my sister was working on weight loss and she kind of started quietly. So I didn't really know she was working on it, but she was very successful with a 40 pound weight loss and has maintained most of that. But she pretty much used that cookbook. I, once I found out she was doing this, she was using recipes on our website, which are also helpful, but once I found out she was doing it, I, I sent her a cookbook and she lost 40 pounds.


JOANN: Again has maintained most of that. And really she lives two and a half hours away. So wasn't able to come to classes. She did come to the menopause class though. That was fun. But yeah, a book and 40 pound weight loss.

CASSIE: That's a great story. Well, and, and the thing is too, that I want to point out. I bet she never felt deprived, never felt hungry.

JOANN: No, no.

CASSIE: It was just that when you follow the eating plans in this cookbook, your blood sugar stays balanced and we really need to balance out our blood sugar to release that glucagon that is our fat burning hormone.

JOANN: Exactly.

CASSIE: Yeah, it really is. And you know, what I often forget too, is at the end of the Weight & Wellness Cookbook, we really take the guesswork out and there is, isn't it a seven day eating plan where it's got breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner. It's got the whole thing planned out for you. So if you really…

JOANN: and I think people are a little overwhelmed by that number, but you don't have to do that. I always tell people just, you know, do three or four recipes and that will carry you through the week.

CASSIE: You're good at that. You do good like doubling up.

JOANN: I do. And plan ahead.

CASSIE: And then eating off of that because boy, you have busy weeks lady. I know this, I know that, but a little planning ahead and it can make that week go so much smoother.

JOANN: That's right.

CASSIE: Maybe we should just kind of bring together the high points of the show here today, talking about foods and vitamins to support your immune system, which again is so applicable during this coronavirus pandemic. You chime in JoAnn, if you think different, but to me, the high points are that it's food first.


JOANN: Absolutely.


CASSIE: Like you said, at the start of the show, right? You can't out supplement a poor diet. So food first means protein, vegetable carbohydrates, healthy fat. Those three things about every three hours. That will balance your blood sugar and we need that blood sugar balanced to support a strong immune system. And then the other thing we talked about a lot is that if you're not digesting your nutrients well, if you're not digesting your food well, I should say, you're not absorbing the key nutrients. And so you're probably not supporting your immune system. So if you have digestive symptoms, which I've struggled with for many years so I speak from experience, it's really important to take a bifido supplement, a good quality probiotic like bifido. You can find more about that on our website, and then click on vitamins. And then also this Key Digestive Enzymes. This is a new product I'm really excited about. And I just started it a couple of days ago.

JOANN: I have used it as well. It's a great product.

CASSIE: I'm going to have more to talk about there too. Oh, we both will.


CASSIE: So we do hope this show and this podcast have given you a deeper look into how you can support your immune function. As you heard over this past hour, supporting your immune system is so much more than just taking a little extra vitamin C. It's so much more than taking any given immune boosting supplement for that matter. And even though we didn't have the time in this short hour to go into it deeper, there is a lot of danger with consuming, a lot of high sugar foods and processed carbs that will wreak havoc on your immune function. Today, though, we spent a lot of time focusing on the power of real food and how that can help support your immune system and support your overall health. And I hope you don't think I'm hogging the mic here, JoAnn, but as the show wraps up here…

JOANN: It's time to close.

CASSIE: Yeah, I just want to be sure that we remind our listeners that our goal here at Nutritional Weight & Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. Yes, it's a simple message, but it's a powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. Thank you for joining us today. Be safe and be well.

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