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Mike’s Hot Spicy Food Recipes

Hold the flu, pass the garlic

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Flu fighting foods boost immune system

A vaccination isn't the only weapon you have against the flu. Your grocery store is stocked with ammunition. "There are a whole bunch of various components called phytochemicals in food which keep you healthy," says Ara DerMarderosian, a pharmacognosist.

Plants produce the chemicals to protect themselves. But our expert in natural medicine says they also protect humans from disease by boosting the immune system.

Garlic and onion are at the top of the list. And though you may think they cause bad breath, the smelly compounds in garlic and onions can help ward off bacteria and viruses. "It's shown in many studies where they consume considerable amounts of garlic or onions, they have a lower incidence of upper respiratory tract infections," says Dr. DerMarderosian.

Mushrooms are also high on the must-have list. They contain compounds that stimulate the production of so-called 'natural killer' cells that fight infection.

"Articles in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition show that this is very, very effective in helping stave off the flu," says Dr. DerMarderosian.

About 20 percent of Americans get the flu during the average flu season, so this is one thing you can do to keep yourself out of that statistic. Other supplements that might keep flu symptoms at bay include zinc, ginseng and vitamin D.

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Immune-boosting foods for cold and flu season We’re all more aware of the fact that its cold and flu season, and many people are worried about the H1N1 flu and other illnesses and are more mindful of trying not to get sick this year.

While the traditional prevention techniques are all great — getting flu shots, washing your hands regularly, staying away from sick people and staying home if you’re sick — it certainly couldn’t hurt to add some immune-boosting foods to your diet.

Eating for prevention

There’s no shortage of advice when it comes to foods that may offer a boost to the immune system. Following are some healthy suggestions from Dr. Oz and Prevention magazine.

Yogurt: probiotics in yogurt help boost healthy bacteria in the gut, and a specific strain, Lactobacillus reuteri, may be helpful in boosting white blood cells (Stonyfield Farm is the only brand sold in America that contains that specific strain).

Oats and barley: these grains have beta-glucan, which is an antimicrobial and antioxidant. Sardines and other fish: the little fish help increase the aggressiveness of white blood cells for immune support and also are a good source of vitamin D. Shellfish also has selenium, which may be helpful for ridding the body of flu, and other fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, which cut inflammation in the body.

Papaya/carrot juice: when you juice carrots, you actually get more beta carotene from them than if you ate them whole. Both papaya and carrot are good for boosting the white blood cells and ramping up the immune system.

Miso soup helps boost antibodies in the body that attach to the white blood cells and has antibacterial properties.

Chicken soup: it sounds like an old wives tale, but chicken soup can help prevent inflammatory white blood cells from moving into the bronchial tubes, meaning it can help prevent colds and bronchitis. And any kind of thin soup clears mucus.

Elderberry juice has antiviral properties, which can help keep you from catching the flu.

Garlic: allicin helps the white blood cells function better, and if you have garlic breath people will stay away from you.

Tea: drinking tea regularly can boost levels of virus-blasting interferon in the bloodstream, helping to prevent illness.

Mushrooms: in particular, shiitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms boost the immune system by making white blood cells more aggressive.

(By Sarah E. White for CalorieLab Calorie Counter News)

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You've gotten your flu shot, you're getting ready to stand in line for your swine flu vaccine, and you're using hand sanitizer like it's going out of style.

Is there anything more you can do to be ready for the flu season? Actually, yes.

Try getting your immune system ready by bolstering it's ability to fight viruses, including the swine flu, by adding certain foods to your diet.

Bonnie Taub-Dix, R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, gave AOL Health a list of foods that may help you fight the swine flu.

She says variety is the key. No one food will do the trick. Here is the list:

Garlic

When you chop garlic, you release a compound called allicin. Allicin contains a potent antioxidant, which helps protect cells from dangerous free radicals.

Taub-Dix recommends adding fresh garlic to your sauteed vegetables.

Yogurt and Kefir

Certain kinds of bacteria are helpful to your immune system.

Yogurt with live, active cultures contains probiotics, the "good" bacteria. So does kefir, a fermented milk drink made with kefir grains.

A recent study found that probiotics helped increase the body's immune response to viruses.

Taub-Diz also says yogurt is high in Vitamin D. A separate study showed that low levels of vitamin D were associated with a higher risk of respiratory infections.

Tea

Tea is rich in polyphenols, which are found in plant foods. These chemicals act like antioxidants to protect cells.

Taub-Rix says that white and green teas are the most potent, but all teas will have some benefit.

Citrus Fruits

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, so eat fruits like oranges, mangoes, and pink grapefruits.

All are rich in Vitamin C, which our bodies can't produce or store on their own.

Brazil Nuts

Brazil nuts are rich in zinc, which is known to increase the number of T-cells that fight infections.

Zinc deficiency has been linked to a decreased response to vaccination as well as impaired immune cell function, especially in the elderly.

Taub-Dix warns not to overdo it. A few brazil nuts provide enough zinc to last through the day.

Lean Protein

Taub-Dix recommends white meat chicken and low-fat-cheese or cottage cheese, saying "protein is important for tissue repair."

Low amounts of protein have been found to have negative effects on T-cells and impair the immune system.

Taub-Dix reminds that these foods are not a substitute for medical care. If you feel symptoms of the flu, make an appointment with your doctor.

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Time to start consuming flu-buster foods

Oct 14, 2009

By Catharine L. Kaufman

This time of year movie theaters, supermarkets, offices and schools are filled with the cacophonous chorus of people with colds and the flu. Those wet sneezes, deep respiratory "horking" sounds and barking coughs seem more canine than human, and make you want to run to the hills and hibernate till spring.

Anti-bacterial wipes, air kisses and a moratorium on hand-shaking are a good first-line of defense, but not enough. These bugs are hearty and once they attack, the antibiotic arsenals are about as helpful against them as a pair of Jimmy Choo stilettos in an ice storm. That is why you must stop the pandemic in its tracks and prevent catching it by turning to food, drink and supplements to boost your weapons of immunity during flu season.

It is important to crank up your consumption of foods packed with vitamins C, D and E. Oranges, pineapple and kiwi are high in vitamin C, but if citruses are too acidic for your liking, try broccoli, bell peppers and cabbage. Leafy greens give you a shot of vitamin D, while sunflower seeds and almonds are loaded with immune and energy boosting vitamin E.

Still one of the best heavy-hitters against disease is garlic, bursting with phytochemicals and nutrients including beta-carotene, oleanolic acid, vitamins B and C, zinc and selenium.

Also, the organic strains tout an extra boost of sulphur. Garlic is a first cousin to the onion, and has been part of the healthful and fortifying diet of ancient peoples, including the Israelites in Egypt and the Greek and Roman soldiers. Garlic has been revered throughout history for its antimicrobial (more recently anti-viral) properties. An added boon is garlic's odiferous power to ward off sneezers, coughers, werewolves and vampires. A recent British report championed garlic as a common cold buster - so knock yourself out and dig into a thick chunk of garlic toast.

Pomegranates, blueberries and green tea are dual-purpose weapons protecting cells from oxidation, as well as boosting your immune system from the flu and colds. Make a powerhouse brew by tossing a chunk of ginger, a splash of lemon juice, some raw organic honey and a smashed garlic clove into your pot of green tea. While before going to sleep, steep a pot of chamomile tea - a soporific drink that'll give you some healing zzz's.

Also, if you're feeling a little phlegmy, try laying off the dairy. Immunology gurus claim that when another animal's protein is consumed, the immune system responds to this foreign body by creating a flow of mucus to protect the delicate nasal and throat linings. If you must have dairy-esque drinks, simply substitute rice or almond beverages for moo-milk.

Mushrooms are the new super fungus, especially the Brazilian native, Agaricus Blaxel Murrill, aka "The Mushroom of God," which has been found to be a disease buster around the world. Other wild varieties that boost immune functions are the Shiitake, which is known for building resistance against viruses; the Maitake packed with vitamins B-2, C, D, Niacin, Magnesium, Potassium and beta-16 glucan, a natural immune system stimulant; the Reishi is anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-viral; and Cordyceps Oglossoides, like many of its siblings contain complex sugars and other nutrients to bolster the immune system.

Chicken soup has been a miracle cure for all that ails you since Biblical times. The Ancient Egyptians prescribed the broth as a cure for the common cold, while the 10th century Persian doctor Avicenna wrote about its curative powers. My Grandma used to call it "Jewish penicillin," as a bowl of homemade chicken soup will ease a ticklish throat, open those sinuses, and replenish lost fluids from all that sneezing. Truly, it wouldn't hurt.

Homemade Chicken Soup

(Use organic ingredients where possible)

- 1 chicken (5 pounds), cut into pieces
- 2 whole yellow onions, peeled
- 3 quarts of spring water
- 1/2 pound of carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 6 celery stalks cut into 2-inch chunks
- 1 whole, peeled celery root, quartered
- 4 parsnips peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 8 fresh parsley sprigs, coarsely chopped
- 4 whole garlic cloves
- Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, combine all the ingredients and bring to a boil. Skim off the foam that rises to the top. Cover and simmer for about 1 hour. Uncover and simmer for another half-hour.

Strain out the chicken and veggies (except the carrots) from the soup. Remove the meat from the bones and return to the soup.

This soup will keep for at least a week in the refrigerator. If fat hardens at the top, remove and discard. Serve steamy with egg noodles or homemade matzo balls.

For the matzo ball or other recipes, e-mail me at kitchenshrink@san.rr.com or visit the Kitchen Shrink and Company's gourmet healthy eating blog at www.FreeRangeClub.com.

 
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Mike’s Hot Spicy Food Recipes