Real Food to Boost Immunity

January 30, 2021

Under these very stressful and unfamiliar circumstances, what are you doing to boost your own immune system? Are you now eating better, drinking less and sleeping more … or are you unsure of what to do and how to actually make changes? You’re not alone! Listen in as two nutritionists share their recommendations for how to boost immunity, starting in the kitchen.

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CASSIE: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. This show is brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. And all of you listening are in for a great show today. First of all, we have a great topic, but we also have a special surprise coming up in oh, about 10 or 12 minutes. And I'm not going to give you any more information on that surprise than that. So you'll just have to stay tuned, but I will tell you that our topic today is “how eating real food boosts your immune system”. So let me ask you, are you worried about how your own immune system is working? If you're shaking your head yes to that question, you're certainly not alone. In a recent survey of over 2,000 Americans, two-thirds of them admitted that the health of their immune system has been a constant source of concern since the outbreak of COVID-19 almost a year ago. In fact, four out of five adults polled in this survey reported that since the onset of COVID-19, they've completely rethought their health goals. I mean, these are stressful times. These are unfamiliar circumstances. So what are you doing to boost your own immune system? Maybe you're trying to eat more vegetables and less bread and pasta. Maybe you're striving for at least seven and a half hours of sleep a night, if not eight or nine, or maybe you've stopped drinking beer or wine, or at least cut back. Or are you one of the many who are a bit unsure of what you're supposed to be doing in order to strengthen your immune system? I was reading a study this last week as I was preparing for today's topic. This was a government funded study. And it showed that over 30% of Americans have added immune supporting supplements since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. So over 30%: they're at least thinking that, “Wow, I need to be thinking about strengthening my immune system.” And so they added, you know, maybe vitamin C, vitamin D. But what I found really sad is that this survey also found that only about 3% of Americans have changed or upgraded their diet. And I get it. It's easy to pop a supplement or two. It's a bit harder to get in the kitchen and cook, but that's what we want you to do. We want you to cook real food. And today my co-host and I are going to give you a lot of great information and useful tips to help you in the kitchen so you can start feeding yourself and your family real food. If you haven't recognized my voice by now, I'm Cassie Weness. I'm a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. And the long time listeners know I love talking about the power of real food. And as I said right at the top of the hour, we have a great show planned for you this morning. So sit back, relax, enjoy your breakfast as you listen, because you're going to want to really soak up all the great information we have. And you also don't want to miss out on that special surprise that's coming up soon.

KARA: That's quite the teaser. I don't think we're going to lose anybody at this point, Cassie.


KARA: And I love that you are also reminding our listeners that they need to sit back and relax; that keyword relax while they're tuning in. And it's, it's especially important to relax when eating. And there is actually a science behind that. Can you explain that?

CASSIE: There is, isn't there? You know, it's so important to relax and enjoy your food to have your best digestion. And we want good digestion, right? Because you can be eating really healthy food, but if you're not digesting it and absorbing the nutrients, it's probably not doing you all that good. So relaxing helps our digestion to work better. A lot of people report having less bloating when they sit down and relax at a meal, having less heartburn, having less constipation. Even kids have better digestion when dinnertime conversations are calm and friendly.

KARA: That's right. I have a nine-year-old at home and we, you know, we try to sit down for dinner and just kind of keep dinner conversation, peaceful and positive because that helps overall digestion. And it might sound kind of silly, but when people hear that term “rest and digest”, there is a science behind that because if we're stressed, we're not properly digesting. Right? So I should introduce myself. My name is Kara Carper. I'm co-hosting with Cassie this morning. I'm a Licensed Nutritionist and Certified Nutrition Specialist. And we are going to jump right in to looking at some foods that support immunity.

CASSIE: Let’s do that. And first I just have to say, I'm so happy to be hosting the show with you this morning. It's been a long time since we’ve been…

KARA: I know, we haven't been each other in a couple years, probably since a nutrition conference.

CASSIE: Isn't that crazy? Well, it's good to be back together, but yeah, let's get back to looking at some foods that support our immune system. And to lead us into that, I want to go back to that survey that I was mentioning earlier. That survey was actually conducted in September of 2020. So we were well into the pandemic by then. As I mentioned earlier, the survey looked at over 2,000 people. This survey found that about 63% of those polled said that they would try to eat more fruits and vegetables to boost their immune system.

KARA: You know, one silver lining that may be coming from the COVID-19 pandemic is that it has really, kick-started a lot of people into developing new habits; new, healthier habits. And improving nutrition not only will boost immunity, but it can also improve overall health. And here's more from that 2020 study that was done: seven in 10 people plan to improve their diet. Four and five people plan to incorporate immune boosting foods and supplements into their daily routine. And the study kind of goes on. Despite the best of intentions, many confessed to having some challenges staying on the straight and narrow. And we know people are only human. I mean, Cassie, you and I are not doing this a hundred percent of the time either.

CASSIE: No. And I always say I could never leave Nutritional Weight and Wellness because talking about nutrition and teaching it helps me to stay on track. It’s hard otherwise.

KARA: I mean, everybody falls off. So it's completely understandable, especially during stressful times. And during stressful times, it might be even harder for some to avoid favorite treats; some other fallback comfort foods. So the folks in the study, just to kind of sum it up, they all tried, maybe not perfectly, but in the end, everyone felt that they were eating better and they felt healthier overall. So that is a positive spin.

CASSIE: That's encouraging.

KARA: …from the challenges we've been experiencing this past 10 months.

CASSIE: Right; like you said, a little bit of a silver lining. No, I find that data encouraging because it, it points to the fact that more and more Americans are interested, it seems, in leading healthier lives. And we know, Kara, that those of you out there that listen to Dishing Up Nutrition regularly, those of you that are tuning in every week, most all of you have improved your eating habits, and tuning in to this Dishing Up Nutrition program helps you to stay on track. And we've heard it time and again from clients and from regular Dishing Up Nutrition listeners, when you make better food choices, you feel better. And I know one thing that I've heard over again… I bet you have too, Kara, is we'll have a, a client that we've seen, or maybe somebody that's been listening to the radio show for a while, they'll come up and say, “Oh, since listening to you. I have switched from margarine, and now I only eat real butter.” Have you ever heard that one?

KARA: Yeah. Yeah.

CASSIE: A lot.

KARA: We love that one because margarine is, is not a healthy fat.

CASSIE: No, not really a real food. You know, and whenever I hear that: somebody says they've switched from margarine to eating real butter, it never fails. I always think, well, my grandma was right all along; because I think back to the early seventies when my mom switched over to margarine and she did it because the doctors were saying that was healthier. Grandma never switched. She stuck with real butter. So her intuition was…

KARA: She knew.

CASSIE: Yeah, she knew something. And a lot of our listeners have told us too, that after making better food choices they feel stronger and they feel sort of a heightened sense of wellbeing because they know that choosing real food is helping to keep them overall healthy and helping to boost their immune system, right, versus, we should explain what the processed foods do. Processed foods like the cold breakfast cereal, the bread, the boxed mac and cheese, those foods actually work to suppress or slow down our immune system.

KARA: Exactly. So let's, I'll tell the official topic for today. And we're going to get to our surprise pretty quickly after our first break, but the topic is “eating real food to boost immunity”. So we have invited chef and culinary food educator, Marianne Jurayj, and she is going to join us by phone to share some simple recipes that you can cook even this weekend to boost your immunity. So she'll be calling in soon. We're super excited. And as you can see, that will be our surprise.

CASSIE: That is a great surprise! No, we’re not giving away money, but Marianne is a great surprise. She's a wealth of information. It's time to take a quick commercial break, though. If you're just tuning in I'm Cassie Weness. I'm a Registered Dietitian. I'm in studio with Kara Carper, a Licensed Nutritionist, and you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. Before we go to break, I want to give you an interesting nutrition fact to ponder while the commercial runs. The conventional strawberries that you are very likely buying at your local grocery store are the single most heavily contaminated fruit or vegetable in the United States. In fact, 70% of all the strawberries that were tested contained at least one pesticide. What's just as alarming is that about 36% of the strawberries contain several pesticides. So if organic food is in your budget, put those strawberries at the top of your list when it comes to where you'll be spending your organic dollars. Stay with us. We'll be right back.


KARA: Welcome back. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. And our topic today is how eating real food helps to boost immunity. There's no better time than now during the pandemic to work on giving up processed foods and switch over to eating real foods. You know, avoiding the boxes, the cans, if at all possible, the processed, the frozen meals, the fast food, and just kind of getting back to basics, you know, animal protein, vegetables, healthy fats, like butter we mentioned earlier. So if you did miss what I said or what Cassie and I were saying right before break, we are going to have chef, Marianne, calling in in just a few minutes. And she is going to be walking us through immune boosting foods that are easy and simple to prepare and cook. Now don't worry. You don't have to be a chef like Marianne is to wow your family with these immune boosting foods. So just stay tuned because you don't want to miss any of this great information.

CASSIE: Yeah, I love to get those new ideas for the kitchen. But before we get into the kitchen, so to speak with Marianne, I want to share some important information about a couple of key nutrients needed for a strong immune system. And some of you are thinking, “Oh, she's going to talk about vitamin C.” Well, I'm not, but I will say vitamin C is important, but I'm going to start with vitamin A. Vitamin A might be even more important. Here's an interesting fact: vitamin A is very protective for the lungs. And I'm sure most all of you have heard that for a lot of people, COVID-19 targets the lungs. So that begs the question, what food, or what foods are high in vitamin A? Does anyone know the answer?

KARA: I do.

CASSIE: I know Kara does. Whether you like it or not, Kara, you know the answer. The answer is liver, liver and more liver. And that makes me think of grandma. Again, my grandma was born on a farm, lived on a farm, all her life on a ranch, actually back in North Dakota, she would make liver a lot; liver and onions. And it was one of her favorite dinners. And of course, grandma always fried it in a lot of butter with a lot of onions. In fact, I remember stopping over to visit her one time and walked in the house sort of unannounced when I was back visiting my mom and dad and, and right behind me in walked my cousin, Doug. I didn't realize he was coming over. Of course, grandma was in the kitchen, which is where I usually found her when I'd stop over to visit. And my cousin Doug was coming over because they had made plans to make liver and onions and eat them for dinner that night. And Doug went down in the basement to the pantry to get onions. And he brought up a whole bag. I remembered my jaw just dropping like you and grandma are going to eat the whole bag of onions. And he said, “Yes, we are.”

KARA: Well talk about immune boosting.

CASSIE: I know. And maybe that's why grandma lived to be 99.

KARA: Oh wow.

CASSIE: Liver and onions.

KARA: Great story.

CASSIE: Yeah, with, with a lot of butter. So I want to repeat that vitamin A is very protective for the lungs and we find a lot of it in liver. Again, we know COVID-19 very often affects the lungs. And it doesn't just have to be beef liver like my grandma would prepare back on the cattle ranch. It could be chicken liver. Do you remember Wendy, the Registered Nurse that used to work for us?

KARA: Yeah, of course.

CASSIE: She would make her famous liver pâté at Christmas that was made from chicken livers. So whether it's liver from a chicken or whether it's beef liver, both have vitamin A and both have vitamin D.

KARA: I also have a little information about vitamin D to share. Research tells us that vitamin D is very supportive for your immune function. However, a lot of people don't know that in order for vitamin D to be really effective for the immune system, we also should be including vitamin A, which Cassie just talked about. The great thing about cod liver oil is that it contains both vitamins D and A. So the liver of cod has vitamin A and D that work, these two key nutrients really work together.

CASSIE: So this is a good choice for people like me that don't like to eat liver. Sorry, grandma.

KARA: I know. I mean, I even had Wendy's liver pâté and it was good, but I can't say that it's something that I just run back to on a regular basis.

CASSIE: Right.

KARA: Eating and cooking liver. But cod liver oil is great. Some of you may have taken that when you were a child. Maybe your mom gave it to you for immune system growing up. And it's a great way to get in the vitamins A and D. And two teaspoons of cod liver oil is a perfect amount. We have a great one at our office that has kind of a lemon flavor. So it's not an obvious, fishy flavor. And I recommend, I mean, whenever I take the two teaspoons of cod liver oil, I do take a separate vitamin D supplement because the total amount of vitamin D in our cod liver oil would total about 400 international units, which is a little on the low end, if somebody is deficient. And we're going to talk more about vitamin D and deficiency a little bit later in the show.

CASSIE: Yes, but I, I like that. And I just did that this morning before I left the house; my big spoonful of cod liver oil tastes like a lemon drop. And then I also took my vitamin D. And I know my mom's listening. Mom, the cod liver oil of today is so different than what your mom, my grandma, used to make you take. Mom has told me stories about how the cod liver oil she had to take as a little girl smelled like dead fish and tasted horrible. But these days it's deodorized. It's flavored. It's quite tasty. All right, so now I would like to welcome our special guest, our special surprise, chef, Marianne, to our real food discussion. I'm willing to bet all of you listening today will appreciate some new recipes and new ideas that will boost your immune system with real food. And Marianne has more delicious ideas for us than we'll be able to fit in this short hour. But with that welcome Marianne. We're so excited that you were able to make time to join us this morning.

MARIANNE: Good morning, ladies. Thank you so much for having me. I'm really excited. I'm here in my kitchen and we're going to talk about my favorite subject. And I just want to swing back to that liver story. I, I was, I'm a farm girl. I grew up on a cattle farm and we had liver more often than I can mention. And you know what? It wasn't my favorite thing either. But now, I have learned to take a little bit of liver and I mix it in with like, if I'm making meatballs or something with ground meat, I just put a little bit of liver in there. It's hidden. I did it with my kids. They had no idea. And it, it just boosts those, the nutrients of those meatballs. And, so there there's a little trick for anybody who wants to sort of sneak a little liver into their, into their world.

CASSIE: I love that. I love that idea. I am going, oh, my kids are listening. I'm not going to say I'm if I’m going to do that or not. Oh. I know a lot... Yeah, go ahead, Marianne.

MARIANNE: I was going to say vegetables. I love liver, but, but vegetables are for sure at the top of my list. I love vegetables. I belong to a winter CSA, which I love. So they're giving me all those onions. And so let's talk about some ways that we can add in vegetables to meals along with really good quality protein and some healthy fats like that butter you were talking about. And by the way, my grandmother also did the same thing. She kept the butter and didn't go for the margarine.

CASSIE: Yeah. Real food.

MARIANNE: Yeah, real food. So a great combination for this time of year is Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes.

CASSIE: Ok, Marianne, you have me, you had me at Brussels sprouts: love, love, but we're going to take a quick commercial break and we're going to keep everybody listening because Marianne has a delicious recipe. Grab your pen and paper cause she's going to give us the details when we come back. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Today, Kara and I, and Marianne are talking about how eating real food supports your immune function. Before we go to commercial, I want to let you know that Marianne, the chef that we have on the line with us this morning, will be sharing and showcasing her cooking skills in an upcoming class presented by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. The class is this Tuesday, February 2nd, at 6:00 PM. It's called Slow Cooker Savvy. And Marianne is going to teach it via a Zoom format, which I think is great because you'll be able to be in the comfort of your own home, but yet you'll be able to learn how you can use your slow cooker to make eating real food and make some immune boosting recipes for you and your family. If you want to learn more, or if you want to sign up for this class, you can call the office at (651) 699-3438. Or you can sign up on our website at We'll be right back.


KARA: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. We are now offering the Weight and Wellness series virtually. Now this series of classes starts Wednesday, February 17th at 6:00 PM. So save your spot. Call (651) 699-3438. You can also sign up online at In the past, people have taken this series in person several times. You know, there's life-changing information in that class in that series. And people have come from other states to learn about eating the Weight and Wellness way. Well, now, I mean, that's not, we're not doing it in person anyway, but you can enjoy this life-changing information in the comfort of your own home. So it's very convenient. So if you are just tuning in, or maybe you have been kind of popping in and out, chef, Marianne just joined us a few minutes ago before break. And I really can't wait for her to let us know what that recipe was with the Brussels sprouts and the sweet potatoes. Are you still there, Marianne?

MARIANNE: I am still here; absolutely. So, so this is a nice winter combination. And not only are you balancing the slight bitterness of the brussels with the sweetness of the potatoes, but you are also eating the Weight and Wellness way. So, so Brussels sprouts are a cruciferous vegetable and they're in the brassica family, sort of like cauliflower, broccoli, and they're low in carbs. They're high in fiber and they're high in vitamin C. And they all produce sulforaphane, which is a cancer fighting compound. So we are pairing them with sweet potatoes, which are delicious, but they're a little more starchy. And so I think there's a limit on those, right, Cassie?

CASSIE: Correct. There is a limit. For most people an appropriate serving size for a starchy vegetable, like a sweet potato, would be about half of a cup. And yeah, so you want to watch your serving sizes, but sweet potatoes contain a lot of beta carotene. So I do want you to eat them. Beta carotene is an antioxidant that supports our immune system.

MARIANNE: Fantastic. Yeah, absolutely. So, so here is how I pull this really simple side dish together. And I hope you're all going to try this at home. So first of all, we're going to chop four or five cloves of garlic and we're going to set them aside. And we do this because garlic needs to release an enzyme. It needs a little time to release an enzyme which produces a compound called allicin. And that makes garlic really heart-healthy. So you never want to just chop up your garlic and throw it right into the heat. So give it a minute to, to let it do its magic. And while that's happening, we're going to remove the outer leaves of the Brussels sprouts. We are going to cut off the ends and then cut them in half. So you should have about four cups and then we're going to scrub the skins of those sweet potatoes. And whenever possible, we want to keep the peel on our vegetable when it's edible: on your squash, your carrots, and certainly here with your sweet potatoes. And, and there's a lot of nutrients that hide right under that skin. So we're going to cube those up and we're going to, we're going to cube them about the size of your Brussels sprouts so all your vegetables are about the same size. So they're going to cook at the same rate and you're going to measure out about two cups. So we've got twice as many Brussels sprouts as we have sweet potatoes. We're going to mix them together, and you can do that on a parchment lined sheet pan or in a baking dish. There's no reason to dirty another bowl. And we're going to take out that, the super-charged garlic and pour about a quarter cup of olive oil over that mixture, season it with a little salt and pepper. And now we do not want to damage that olive oil, which has a low smoke point, and we certainly don't want to burn that beautiful garlic. So we are going to cook this sort of low and slow at 325 for about 25 minutes.

KARA: All right. I am taking notes on that.

CASSIE: Me too and I am hungry.

KARA: And I am going to make that tonight. That sounds delicious.

CASSIE: Oh, that's such a great combination. And I love that trick with the garlic. I knew we should be eating fresh garlic, not the garlic powder for the immune boosting properties, but I never knew to let it sit for 15 minutes.

KARA: I knew that. Oh, sorry to interrupt Cassie. But the only reason I knew that is from Marianne when she was on a previous radio show. I listened to a podcast that she did last year with Leah. I encourage listeners to check that out. I think it's called Cooking the Weight and Wellness Way if I remember correctly.

CASSIE: I'm going to check that one out.

KARA: Yeah, that was a great one. That's where I learned that trick about fresh garlic. It does seem that most chefs do add fresh garlic to special dishes in order to enhance the flavor. And another great benefit of the garlic is that it does support our viral immunity. Research from the Journal of Immunology reports that “garlic stimulates certain cell types for our immune system, such as lymphocytes, macrophages, and natural killer cells.” You may have heard of those as NK cells. And those all help to manage viral diseases. So now back to Marianne. I know we have a little bit of the science behind that garlic.

MARIANNE: Yes, we're food nerds here. I love it: another reason to love garlic. But let's be honest. Most cooks are adding that garlic for the flavor, and this is a really great tasting dish and it's just a win-win that it also is an immune booster. So, and you know what? I forgot to mention the benefits of the olive oil. So olive oil is an anti-inflammatory fatty acid and it activates a variety of immune cells, unlike that canola oil and the soybean oil, which block the anti-inflammatory message.

CASSIE: And just to add my 2 cents as a registered dietitian, be sure to buy the extra virgin olive oil to get those anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties. If you're just buying them the bottle that just says plain olive oil on it, it's not extra-virgin, then it's been processed a bit more and it, it no longer has those same anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties. And I'm wondering Marianne, what you think of our Spicy Coconut Stew that's up on our website? That's a delicious recipe. And I just wanted to throw that one out there because it's due season. It's, it's a blustery day today. So if you're looking for a great recipe, go to, click on recipes, and you'll find that Spicy Coconut Stew, which is not only delicious, but it has a lot of immune building ingredients. When I glance at it… I have it printed off here in front of me. And let me say too, it's dairy-free and gluten-free, which I love because our family eats dairy and gluten-free, but of course, this recipe has chicken. Chicken is an immune builder. It might not surprise many of you that my mom still will make chicken soup if dad is under the weather. You know, there is some science behind why the good cooks make chicken soup when somebody is sick. The chicken has protein. It has zinc. It has glutamine. Those all support our immune system. This particular recipe also has coconut milk and coconut milk contains something called lauric acid. Lauric acid gets converted in our body to monolauric acid and monolauric acid helps to fight off viruses. And then the spinach in this recipe: the spinach is great because it's high in vitamin C and other antioxidants. So, so it's a good virus fighter. And I bet you could pick out some other ingredients in this stew recipe that are our great supporters of our immune system too Marianne.

MARIANNE: Yes, absolutely. I love, first of all, I love curries and, and this is a delicious recipe. And there, there is something, and it almost swings us back to the liver and onions thing, but the lowly onion is in this recipe and it's often the basis for most dishes. It's sort of the, the, the thing you start with is sautéing those onions. And they are loaded with immune boosting nutrients. Onions contain selenium. They contain sulfur compounds, zinc, and of course, vitamin C. And this chicken curry dish starts with onions. So what other fabulous spices do we have in there? One that you probably all know and that's turmeric, and it gives curry that beautiful rich color. And it is, it has a polyphenol compound called curcumin, which is anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antifungal. And when it is paired with black pepper, we are actually able to absorb that curcumin even more, so it's that little combination of turmeric and black pepper that's sort of the magic here. And whenever you have spices, I always encourage you to buy them in small quantities because boy, you know, time can fly by. And next thing you know, your curry won't taste like it did when you first bought it. So, so try and buy your spices in, in small quantities. And, but I hope you'll try this curry recipe. It is fantastic. And the Brussels sprout and sweet potatoes and, and I'm also hoping that you will all join me for these cooking classes that we are offering. I've got, we've got the cooking, the Slow Cooker on Tuesday, next Tuesday, but we also have Healthy Comfort Foods. We're going to do an Instant Pot class, some batch cooking. So I hope you will join me for those. I would look forward to seeing everybody virtually, and I also want to thank Kara and Cassie for letting me hop onto the show today and kind of hang out with you guys.

KARA: It's been a pleasure, Marianne. We really appreciate you calling in and sharing your wisdom with us and with our listeners. And I hope that people really take you up on that offer. I have to watch the replay. I don’t know if I can I sign up. I don't want to take someone else's spot.

CASSIE: That's true. I better ask the boss first, but I'm thinking I'm signing up for that Tuesday class, Marianne. Thank you so much. And we are going to take one more quick break. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Before I go, though, I do want to encourage you to join Mel and Britni next Saturday when they host Dishing Up Nutrition. They're going to share ways to avoid weight gain during the stress and the extra at home time that many of us have experienced during this COVID-19 pandemic. Now I truly don't have the inside scoop on the exact content of next Saturday's show, but my guess is getting a good night's sleep will be one of their first recommendations.

So for more information on that, and for many more tips on maintaining a healthy weight, tune in next Saturday at 8:00 AM. And we'll be right back after this short commercial.


KARA: Welcome back from break. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Changing eating habits or changing lifestyle habits is not easy. Most people need ongoing support to make these changes. Nutritional counseling is so much more than just telling you what you can and what you cannot eat. It's more than counting carbs. It's certainly more than counting fats, right?

CASSIE: Right. Gone are those days.

KARA: It’s not a low-fat diet for sure. But it's, what it is, is it's addressing your health goals and working together to achieve those goals. Many insurance companies see the value of helping with the cost of nutrition counseling. If you have any insurance questions, or you're still wondering what to do about making an appointment, just call our office. The front desk staff is super helpful. You can call (651) 699-3438 if you have any questions.

CASSIE: And one question that a caller had, on that note, when, when we were at break a caller called in and was wondering if the minced garlic that you find… I know exactly what she's talking about. I can't think of the brand name, but it's that minced garlic that's in a little bit of a solution that you can buy in the produce section, and then you have to refrigerate it once it's open. She was wondering if that has the same healthy immune boosting properties as fresh garlic. And Kara and I have been discussing that over break. And our, our real answer is we're not sure, but we would like that caller to call the office: (651) 699-3438. There are registered dietitians working today. It could be that somebody is just going to know off the top of their head, or they could do the research, because that is a great question.

KARA: And we would, we don't have the label in front of us to see: are there preservatives?

CASSIE: The ingredients: that's the other thing too. Yeah. We're wondering if it's loaded with some preservatives that might negate any healthy parts of it. So that was so fun to have Marianne on, and I am totally putting liver in my meatballs next time. Hopefully the kids didn't hear me say that. And, and now I think we need to switch it up, Kara, and talk a little bit about supplements.

KARA: Yeah. So start with food is always our motto, right? That's why we talked about the immune boosting properties of different foods so far in the show.

CASSIE: Right. And let's remember what our boss always says, right? You can't supplement your way out of a poor diet. So we really stress food first.

KARA: But especially during times like this pandemic, we also believe it's important to be looking at some key immune supporting supplements. And I believe this supplement is found to be the most helpful. And the one that has the most supportive research to back its effectiveness is vitamin D3. That probably is not a surprise that you're hearing us talk about vitamin D three. After reading several studies, the takeaway from all of these studies is that it's important to have adequate vitamin D levels in our blood. Because a vitamin D deficiency, just that alone, having low vitamin D is a risk factor, especially during the pandemic; a risk factor for acquiring illness, you know?

CASSIE: For yeah, that virus or that bacteria getting a hold of you. And I know we've mentioned the pandemic a lot, but maybe some of you listening have gotten your vaccine already, or maybe for whatever other reason, you're not really concerned too much right now about COVID-19, but there are so many other reasons why you should want to strengthen your immune system, because we are always going to come up against viruses and bacteria, let alone cancer, you know, those things that a strong immune system can really fight against.

KARA: That’s a good point. It's pertinent information, even aside from the pandemic.

CASSIE: Even outside of the pandemic, right. And another great vitamin… so you just mentioned vitamin D3. Vitamin C is another supplement highly recommended right now to support the immune system; and for good reason. Vitamin C supports the production and the function of our white blood cells, and our white blood cells are a huge part of our immune system. And I think some people think it's easy to get enough vitamin C because it is found in so many fruits and vegetables, unlike that vitamin A that we were talking about earlier. But get this: the most recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that out of the 7,277 people they tested, 7% of them had a vitamin C deficiency. And for many of these people, the deficiency was enough or was bad enough that they had scurvy-like symptoms. Can you imagine? I mean, I always think of scurvy as a disease of, you know, days, way, way past back when there were pirates and sailors. And, but even in today's world, there are people that get scurvy from a severe vitamin C deficiency. So we suggest first and foremost, getting your vitamin C from fruits and vegetables; things like red bell peppers, the Brussels sprouts Marianne mentioned, strawberries, blueberries. But then also, especially during the fall and winter, especially during a pandemic, supplement with at least a thousand milligrams of vitamin C a day is what we would recommend just for added extra insurance. We've even had some clients during this pandemic go as high as 4,000 to 5,000 milligrams of vitamin C a day. Now I will say, personally, I wouldn't recommend that you do that unless you're working with a health professional, but we do have some people taking that much.

KARA: Well, and the good thing about vitamin C is it is water soluble. It's not stored in our fat tissues.

CASSIE: So you can't reach toxic levels.

KARA: Right. I mean, you may get loose stool. I would say that could be a side effect. In fact, some people, including myself, take vitamin C for constipation.

CASSIE: Right.

KARA: Because it, it, it can be a stool softener. So yeah; so vitamins A we talked about earlier in the show, vitamin D, vitamin C is super important. I think another supplement that is equally or even more important really is a probiotic. So that's good bacteria. And the specific one that we want to talk about is bifidobacteria. Now this is found in the small intestinal tract and it helps to digest food. In fact, it supports the digestion of proteins and helps the conversion into amino acids; like amino acids, such as tryptophan, tyrosine. Those are used for energy and moods, even memory. Bifidobacteria helps digest fruits and veggies so that our body can knows what to do and can utilize all those great B and C vitamins and other nutrients that we really need for our immune system. And so it doesn't stop there. You know, this good bacteria helps us to break down and digest our fats. And that helps us to have a healthy cell membrane. And we need a healthy cell membrane so that disease isn't as likely to penetrate our cells because our cells are covered in fatty, fatty tissue.

CASSIE: They're made up of yeah, the fats that we eat.

KARA: Exactly. So we suggest adding Bifido Balance. That's the name of the supplement for overall digestion. And just kind of an interesting side note is that breast milk contains this good beneficial bacteria. And another side note: breastfeed contains protein, fat and carbohydrate. So I guess that really is sort of the perfect food.

CASSIE: Which, which makes sense. Mother nature knew what she was doing there. So as we come up against the end of the hour here, I just want to sort of bring it all together and summarize. Kara and I have been talking today, and Marianne, about how eating real food can and will boost your immunity, but let's not forget that the opposite is true as well. If the majority of your diet consists of high sugar foods and processed foods, items like granola bars and rice cakes, popcorn and cold breakfast cereal, then you're slowing the response time of your immune system down to a crawl. And before we close out the show, I want to remind you that if you are truly interested in strengthening your own immune system, but maybe you're still a bit unsure of what to do or where to start, we can help. Give us a call at (651) 699-3438. And we can set up an appointment to meet with one of our nutritionists or registered dietitians. Currently we are meeting clients either by phone or by a Zoom appointment, which I think is great. As you all know, what's really nice about phone and Zoom appointments is that you can pick a day and time that works for you, and you don't have to fight traffic to get to your appointment. And of course, it's great for people who live out of state or even out of the country for that matter. And remember our goal at Nutritional Weight and 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 healthy.

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