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Sip Your Way to a Stronger Immune System with These 6 Healthy Drinks

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As the seasons change and the months grow chillier, the desire to protect ourselves from the common cold or flu becomes more of a priority. Keeping our body’s immune defenses in top shape is essential, and a large part of that can be satisfied by what we consume. Opting for a healthy lifestyle with quality sleep, balanced nutrition, and the right beverages can do wonders for your immune system. With that in mind, let’s explore some of the best immune-boosting drinks that will help fortify your body for the winter season.

Water

We are all familiar with the importance of staying hydrated, and it becomes all the more crucial when it comes to supporting the immune system. Our bodies are roughly 60-70% water, and each bodily function requires water to function at its best.

When dehydrated, our bodies can become a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. “When your body is dehydrated, it can promote the growth of bacteria and viruses. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you drink the optimal amount of water for your body’s needs every single day,” states a study published in the journal Medical Hypotheses.

Green Tea

Moving beyond water, green tea is another great choice for bolstering your body’s natural defenses. Green tea is brimming with beneficial polyphenol flavonoids, providing a wide array of health benefits, from reducing the risk of heart disease and certain cancers to managing systemic inflammation.

A study published in the journal Molecules says, “Green tea strengthens immunity through its antioxidants that help protect cells against oxidation and reactive oxygen species.”

Kefir

Kefir, a fermented, yogurt-like beverage, is filled with beneficial probiotics that help regulate your gut’s microbiota. It offers a range of health benefits, from its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to facilitating wound healing, according to an article published in Nutrients journal.

Lemon Ginger Tea

The herbal blend of lemon and ginger can prove to be a potent immune booster in tea form. Rich in vitamin C and packed with over 100 bioactive compounds, this tea is known for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties, and many other health benefits.

Research published in the journal Antioxidants and the journal Nutrients substantiate these claims.

Orange Juice

Citrus juices, such as orange or grapefruit juice, are filled with vitamin C and folate, which help maintain the integrity of the immune barriers, protect various immune cells, and have anti-inflammatory effects. The bioactive compounds in citrus also reinforce immunity, as confirmed by a study published in Frontiers in Immunology.

Tomato Juice

Tomato juice is a great source of vitamin C and lycopene, an antioxidant carotenoid known to suppress systemic inflammation. An eight-ounce serving of tomato juice offers nearly 100% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, with no added sugar and just 50 calories.

Taking a sip from this list of immune-boosting beverages is an easy, enjoyable way to fortify your body’s natural defenses, especially during the colder seasons. Embracing a proactive approach towards your health not only enhances your body’s natural defense system but also contributes to your overall wellness. After all, there’s nothing like a warm, wholesome drink to ward off the winter chills and potential illnesses simultaneously!

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Nutrition

Unlock the Secret Perks of Echinacea From Immune Support to Skin Care

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Introducing the multifaceted supplement that’s been revered for centuries for its potential health benefits: Echinacea. Once employed as a versatile medicinal herb to fight off diseases like scarlet fever and diphtheria, echinacea is now classified as a dietary supplement meant to enhance your overall well-being, not cure ailments. Many tout echinacea as a formidable immune booster, but the benefits don’t stop there. So, let’s delve into six surprising health benefits that echinacea supplements can provide.

Potential Anti-Inflammatory Properties

“Echinacea’s potential to reduce inflammation in the body is intriguing. It could help with minor skin irritation or sore throats by calming the body’s inflammatory response,” shares Raj Dasgupta, MD, a medical reviewer for NCOA. While research is underway to confirm the extent of these benefits, the initial anecdotal evidence is promising.

Speeding Up Wound Recovery

Echinacea isn’t just potentially beneficial internally, but externally as well. A 2023 study in the Molecules journal revealed echinacea’s antimicrobial and aseptic effects, which can aid in faster wound healing by warding off infections.

“It works by stimulating the immune system to send healing cells to the injured area,” explains Dasgupta. Nonetheless, he emphasizes that further research is needed and that echinacea should not substitute proper medical treatment for wounds.

Dermatological Effects

Your skin might love echinacea, too! A 2010 study identified echinacea purpurea as beneficial for protecting skin from oxidative stress and improving its hydration.

“Studies suggest it may be helpful for chronic conditions like eczema,” Dasgupta adds. Still, a call for more research to confirm this has been echoed.

Immune System Booster

Perhaps the most well-known potential benefit of echinacea is an immune system boost. Despite traditional use, Dasgupta urges caution, saying, “While traditionally used for colds, the evidence for its effectiveness is mixed. Some studies show a slight reduction in cold duration.”

Anxiety Alleviation

Could echinacea play a role in managing anxiety? A 2021 study found anti-anxiety and anti-depressant effects in subjects who took echinacea supplements for six weeks. Chris Mohr, PhD, RD, a fitness and nutrition advisor, explains, “It has potential anti-inflammatory properties, and chronic inflammation is linked to anxiety.” He does stress that it shouldn’t be used as a first-line anxiety treatment, however.

Regulating Blood Sugar Levels

There’s preliminary research suggesting that echinacea might assist blood sugar regulation, although this data is based on animal studies and has not been replicated in humans yet.

“If data do emerge to support the animal studies, this could be beneficial for those with prediabetes or those who need to manage blood sugar as part of a larger health plan,” proposes Mohr.

Echoing what might be the golden rule of dietary supplementation, our health journey is as unique as we are. What works for one may not work for all. So always be sure to consult with a healthcare provider, especially if you have chronic diseases or autoimmune conditions, before incorporating echinacea or any new supplement into your diet. From potentially reducing inflammation to possibly boosting your immune system, the old yet new echinacea might just be the versatile dietary supplement your health routine needs.

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Nutrition

Savoring Dolly Parton’s Famous Stampede Soup: A Hearty, Healthful Dish for Cozy Autumn Evenings

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Immerse yourself in the culinary world of iconic songstress Dolly Parton, specifically her renowned Stampede Soup from Parton’s Dinner Show in Branson, Missouri. This creamy, vegetable-based soup has been making waves with its comforting and satisfying flavors, perfect for a cozy, healthful autumn meal. The tantalizing aroma and delightful taste have captured the hearts of many who attend the show, but it’s not just the experience that has fans talking; the array of ingredients used in this soup offers a medley of health benefits that are especially advantageous for seniors.

Let us glean some inspiration from Parton’s role in our lives as a beloved singer and actress, by exploring the potential health benefits of this heartwarming soup. The vegetable base offers a rich source of vitamins and minerals that are essential for maintaining good health. Not to mention, the high fiber content in vegetables can contribute to improving digestive health. The creamy texture is not only satisfying but also a good source of calcium and vitamin D, essential for bone health.

Now let’s delve into the specifics of re-creating this culinary masterpiece at home. Here are the ingredients and steps you need to follow:

Ingredients:
– Butter (for a tastier roux)
– Flour
– Onion powder
– Garlic powder
– White pepper
– Stock (choose low-sodium chicken broth for better flavor control)
– Cooked vegetables
– Heavy cream (decrease to 1 cup for a lighter option)
– Salt (to your liking)
– Parsley (for garnish)
– Lemon wedge

Preparation Method:
1. In a large pot set over medium heat, melt the butter.
2. Whisk in the flour, creating a smooth combination and cook it for at least 4 or 5 minutes to fully cook the flour, thereby building flavor.
3. Add onion powder, garlic powder, and white pepper, whisking until combined.
4. Pour your chosen stock into the mixture and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking slowly and constantly.
5. Reduce the heat to medium to maintain a simmer; cook, while occasionally whisking, until slightly thickened. This should be about 10 minutes.
6. Stir in the cooked vegetables and heavy cream.
7. Season to taste with salt.
8. Portion the completed soup into bowls, garnish with parsley, and serve with a lemon wedge to squeeze over the top. This will add a touch of zesty brightness to the creamy soup.

For an even more flavorful twist, consider replacing the onion and garlic powders with finely chopped onion and minced garlic, cooking them in the butter before making the roux.

In conclusion, Dolly Parton’s Stampede Soup not only provides a delicious meal but also offers a number of health benefits that are conducive to senior wellness. It’s indeed a testament to how Parton, on and off the stage, continues to serve up comforting experiences that resonate with people all over the world. It’s a recipe that not only warms the stomach but the heart as well.

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Nutrition

Steer Clear of These Foods to Prevent Food Poisoning, Recommends CDC

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This listicle is your handy guide to ensuring that you live your golden years in the best health possible, by avoiding certain foods that pose a risk of food poisoning. As per the CDC, here are eight foods that are most likely to cause food-borne illnesses. Let’s dive in and see which foods made the list.

1. Raw or Rare Meat

According to the CDC, “Raw or undercooked meat can contain harmful bacteria.” So, it’s recommended to avoid rare steaks or undercooked burgers.

“Harmful bacteria like Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria can live in uncooked meat and poultry.”

2. Raw Shellfish

Seafood enthusiasts, particularly those fond of raw dishes, need to remain cautious.

“Raw shellfish, including oysters, clams and mussels, can carry a risk of food poisoning,” the CDC warns.

3. Raw or Unwashed Produce

Even fruits and veggies can pose a risk if not properly cleaned or cooked.

“Raw or unwashed produce can contain E. coli or other harmful bacteria,” states the CDC.

4. Unpasteurized Milk and Cheese

When it comes to dairy, the CDC recommends opting for pasteurized products.

“Raw milk and cheese can contain E. coli or other bacteria.”

5. Raw or Lightly Cooked Eggs

Similar to meat, eggs can also harbor dangerous bacteria if not cooked thoroughly.

“Raw eggs can contain Salmonella, especially if they’re not pasteurized.”

6. Sprouts

Even healthy foods like sprouts are not without their risks.

“Sprouts can carry E. coli or Salmonella,” according to the CDC.

7. Deli Meats

Deli meats might seem safe, but the CDC says otherwise.

“Deli meats, including hot dogs, can become contaminated after processing with Listeria.”

8. Uncooked Flour

Even flour isn’t safe from potential contamination.

“Flour is typically a raw product and can contain bacteria that cause disease,” the CDC warns.

Embracing your golden years means making conscious choices about what you eat. By avoiding these eight foods that have been identified by the CDC as the most likely to cause food poisoning, you’re taking an important step towards safeguarding your health. Remember, when it comes to food, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Don’t let a potential risk of food poisoning disrupt your lively, healthy, and happy lifestyle.

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