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Friday, November 18, 2011

Immune Boosting Foods

Incorporate these immune-boosting and disease fighting powerfoods into your diet this season.
Garlic - has antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties. To experience the full benefits, it is recommended to eat an entire bulb of raw garlic daily! However, most of its potency will be retained even if you roast or sautee the garlic which may make this a bit more palatable.
Mushrooms - Look for the more exotic kinds such as shiitake (antiviral effects); enoki (immune-boosting effects); maitake (antiviral and immune-boosting)
Bright fruits and vegetables that are packed with immune-strengthening vitamins including vitamin A, C and E. Besides the classic oranges, try blueberries, sweet potatoes, pomegranates, carrots, spinach, etc.
Tea (Camellia sinensis)- Among other benefits tea (green, white, black, oolong) stimulates production of immune-strengthening enzymes. A 2007 study showed that adding citrus juice or vitamin C can increase the bioavailability of antioxidant compounds.
Zinc - is an important mineral in supporting the immune system. Sources include animal foods such as beef, eggs, and oysters (cooked). Plant sources are legumes (dried beans, garbanzos, black-eyed peas, lentils, peas, and whole soy products), pumpkin seeds, whole grains and nuts.

Check this out: Parent's Cough and Cold Kit for Children by Dr. Weil

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Breathing and Mood

Two recent studies show how mindful breathing practices may improve mood.
Burg and Michalak examined healthy subjects who were asked to keep continued mindful awareness of their breathing for 18 minute trials. Those who were able to sustain mindful awareness reported less negative thinking, less rumination and fewer symptoms of depression.
Yu, Fumoto, et al looked at healthy subjects practicing Zen meditation with focused abdominal breathing for 20 minutes and found that they had fewer negative feelings, increased levels of serotonin in their blood and more oxygenated hemoglobin in the prefrontal cortex, an area associated with attention and executive functioning.

The Healthy Quality of Mindful Breathing: Associations With Rumination and Depression

Authors: Burg, Jan1; Michalak, Johannes2

Source: Cognitive Therapy and Research, Volume 35, Number 2, April 2011 , pp. 179-185(7)