5 immunity-boosting, banana recipes that’ll change snack time forever

  • June 29, 2020

Explore the versatility of banana with these recipes. Photo credit: Lex Sirikiat/ Unsplash

We say, forget apples…a banana a day keeps the doctor away. Besides being convenient, banana is also nutritious. It has twice as many carbohydrates, 5 times as much Vitamin A and iron and 3 times as much phosphorus as apples. Apart from being an excellent base for your next smoothie, bananas can be used for making a variety of mouth-watering dishes (that also boost immunity). Here are 5 tasty and fun ways to incorporate the fruit in your diet.

Banana Bread by Karishma Sakhrani, Chef and Culinary Consultant

2-3 ripe bananas
1 tsp lemon juice
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup soft light brown sugar
100 gm butter
2 cups flour
1/3 cup walnuts chopped
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt


1. Peel and mash the bananas with a fork and squeeze a lemon over them to immediately prevent the bananas from turning black. A few lumps of banana are desirable. Do not mash to a smooth consistency.
2. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar thoroughly. To this, add the mashed bananas and milk, and combine.
3. Next, add the baking powder, baking soda, vanilla extract and mix well.
4. Sift the flour in a large bowl and add the chopped walnuts to this and toss.
5. Fold in the flour and walnuts to the wet mixture. Do not over-mix.
6. Pour the batter into a prepared cake tin and tap on the kitchen counter to even out.
7. Pre-heat the oven to 180° C and bake for 15 minutes.
8. Without opening the oven door, reduce the temperature to 160° C and bake for another 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
9. De-mould the cake after 15 minutes and cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.

Banana Bread

Banana Custard Crepes by Amit Puri, Chef, F&B Consultant and Author

3 tbsp custard powder
1 tbsp refined flour
1 1/2 tablespoon jaggery powder (or sugar)
½ sliced ripe banana
¼ cup milk
Granola, caramel sauce and assorted nuts for garnish
Corn flour for dusting


1. For crepes, whisk together custard powder, flour and jaggery and strain to get rid of any lumps.
2. Warm a non-stick pan and spoon the batter into it. Swirl the pan around to cover the pan with the batter evenly.
3. Cook the batter on a medium heat till it starts leaving the pan.
4. Dust a plate with cornflour. Carefully remove the crepe onto the dusted plate. Dust the crepe with a little more cornflour.
6. Repeat the process and make more crepes. Dust each crepe with cornflour before placing a new crepe on top. This avoids the crepes from sticking to one another.
7. To assemble, place a crepe on plate. On one quarter of the crepe, place few slices of banana. Sprinkle some granola on the bananas and fold the crepe into half. Then fold the half into a quarter, with the filling of banana and granola.
8. Sprinkle some more granola, assorted nuts and drizzle some caramel or chocolate sauce.

Custard Crepes

Eggless Banana Pancakes by Juliano Rodrigues, Executive Chef at Out Of The Blue

1 ripe banana
2 tsp baking powder
240 gm refined flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tsp butter
90 ml milk
20 ml water
Cardamon powder
Butter for cooking and tossing the pancake


1. In a bowl sieve together flour, baking powder and salt.
2. Mix all the ingredients together except butter for cooking. Ensure a smooth mixture without lumps.
3. Heat a griddle pan and smear butter on the pan. Ensure the pan is not overheated.
4. Put a ladle of mixture and spread evenly. Cook on medium flame, and as one side is cooked, flip it over.
5. Cook till the pancakes are golden brown and slight crisp.
6. Serve hot with maple syrup.

Eggless Banana Pancakes

Kolar Bora (Bengali Banana Fritters) by Debjani Chatterjee Alam, Food writer & Recipe Curator

2 ripe bananas
1 cup scrapped coconut
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup jaggery (grated)
1/4 tsp salt
Oil for deep frying


1. Mash bananas using a masher and add the scrapped coconut, whole wheat flour, rice flour and salt to make a lump-free banana mash.
2. Add jaggery to the mixture and make a thick batter. If the batter turns out to be slimy add some more wheat flour to adjust the consistency.
3. Heat oil in a pan. Now pour a dollop of the batter and fry on low flame. Fry the Bora from both sides until it is crisp and deep brown in colour.
4. Strain from the oil and place over tissue paper to soak excess oil.
5. Enjoy the fritters hot or store in an airtight container for 3-4 days.

Bengali Banana Fritters

Banana Paniyaram by Rajshri Gupta, Founder, Beyond Dinning Co.

4 ripe bananas, mashed
150 gms maida flour (white flour)
150 gms wheat flour
150 gms sugar or jaggery
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1/2 cup ghee
Salt as per taste
Honey to drizzle (optional)


1. Mix everything except ghee and honey and leave for 30 minutes.
2. Heat the paniyaram pan. Add 1 tsp ghee in each mould.
3. Once heated, pour 1 1/2 tbsp of batter in each mould. Cover with lid. Cook for almost 3-4 minutes.
4. Remove the lid and turn it around. Cover the lid again for 2 minutes.
5. Remove and drizzle honey on the top before serving.

Banana Paniyaram


6 citrus-fruit-based recipes to build immunity


Egypt- Keep your child’s immune system strong against COVID-19

  • June 28, 2020

(MENAFN – Daily News Egypt) Eating healthy food can help you boost your immune system. It is a message that has been pushed forward as the global fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues.

What we eat and drink can affect our body’s ability to prevent, fight, and recover from virus infections, as healthy food is important for supporting and boosting immunity. This is a message that concerns many parents looking to keep their children’s immune systems strong against the virus.

Food production company, Danone, has conducted a live online discussion to address the important topics in children’s health and how to boost their immune systems. The discussions featured paediatrician and nutrition expert Nabil Fawzy, influencer and nutrition expert Nourhan Kandil, and actress and nutrition enthusiast Kinda Alloush. 

The online discussion follows the initiative kicked off by Danone and film star Alloush, with the participation of paediatricians and experts in the field of children nutrition. It aims to provide mothers with the advice they need to keep their children healthy. 

Nabil Fawzy stressed the importance of the child’s psychological wellbeing and how it could impact the child’s immune system.

‘Daily exercise along with a balanced diet, including fresh fruit and vegetables, and fortified with a lot of vitamins, is also recommended,’ Fawzy said.

During the live discussion, Alloush highlighted the challenges of preparing healthy meals on a daily basis, and how kids often resist eating healthy food.

In response to that, Kandil explained how mothers can try to change the foods their children normally like to eat, and replace them with healthier options. 

‘They need to be involved in the preparation and cooking process,’ she said, ‘Mothers teach children how to enjoy healthy food by constantly showing them fun ways to prepare it and offering them a good variety of colours and textures to develop their palate.’

Parents should also give their children a range of natural herbs and spices, including ginger, turmeric, honey, cinnamon, to ensure they stay healthy. Kandil clarified, however, that ‘there is no magic herb or spice that will turn our children into supermen or superwomen’. 

Kandil added that the immune system comprises of many parts, with a healthy, balanced diet not the only part. She noted that good quality sleep is also one of the main contributors to a healthy immune system. 

‘As for herbs and spices that have beneficial effects on general health but may not be very palatable, they can simply be hidden and incorporated into daily food and drink,’ Kandil explained.

Fawzy also brought attention to a fundamental point during the time of the pandemic, and that is the major bug-bear of ‘screen time’.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents should practice ‘no screen use before the age of 18 months’. Parents can then monitor and stay with their children as they use screen-based technologies between the ages of 18 and 24 months. Following the child reaching the 24 month mark, parents should ‘limit the screen time…to just one hour a day of high-quality programming’. 

Nabil added, ‘Excessive screen time and exposure to radiation may have adverse reactions on children, such as poor vision, anxiety, and even psychologically autistic behaviour.’ 

‘Danone will continue to bring together key opinion leaders and experts in the childcare and nutrition field, to answer the questions and concerns that mothers might be asking themselves to raise their children ready for tomorrow,’ said Hanan Nayel, Danone’s General Secretary Director. ‘This is one among many initiatives carried out by Danone to transfer knowledge to consumers and the public at large, with nutritional information relevant to children and the whole family.’ 


Joseon kings practiced food treatment to overcome diseases : The DONG-A ILBO

Joseon kings practiced food treatment to overcome diseases : The DONG-A ILBO

  • June 26, 2020

Food treatment can help fight infectious diseases such as COVID-19,” said Shin Seong-mi, director of the National Traditional Korean Food Experience Center at its Food Treatment Center in Yeongju on June 19. Food treatment refers to a way dating back to the Joseon Dynasty that keeps you healthy using food.

“Food doctors in the Joseon Dynasty were responsible for ensuring good health and long life for the King. Instead of using medications, food doctors used food to prevent and cure diseases. The key was to boost the King’s immune system using food. This food culture of the royal family spread to scholars and then to the working class.”

Food treatment is a preventive medicine. The key is to eat foods made from healthy ingredients to boost immunity. “Food doctors studied the diseases previous kings suffered and customized foods that suit King’s constitution in order to prevent diseases,” said Shin. Food treatment is about boosting one’s energy with foods that are more bland and natural than typical royal cuisine.

“Basically, scholars sought to live a long and healthy life. That is what food treatment is about and is the basic desire of human beings. Unfortunately, this virtue disappeared during the Japanese colonial rule and the Korean War,” said Shin. “If we follow suit after our ancestors and practice food treatment, we’ll be able to overcome any infectious disease, including COVID-19.”

Jong-Koo Yang

Foods That Boost Immunity | HungryForever Food Blog

Foods That Boost Immunity | HungryForever Food Blog

  • June 26, 2020

Immunity is very important and much-needed function of the body. Specially now in the present situation, where we need to boost our immunity to care of ourselves and be healthy. Following are the foods which help us to boost the immune system.

1. BSD Organics Kabasura Kudineer Chooranam Herbal Tea Masala Chai 

BSD Organics Kabasura Kudineer Chooranam Herbal Tea Masala Chai

The Kabasura Kudineer concoction is a / herbal tea / masala tea. Take 5 grams of powder. Mix it with 300 ml of water. Boil and reduce to 50 ml. Add honey, jaggery or sugar (according to taste) to the boiled mixure. Have it twice daily. All the masalas are made from natural herbs. It can also be used in curries, fries, sambar, rasam, soups.

2. DAARZEL 70% Intense Dark Chocolate – Indian Origin Vegan and Gluten Free 

Foods That Boost Immunity

DAARZEL 70% Intense Dark Chocolate - Indian Origin Vegan and Gluten Free

This is a vegetarian product. Made up of high quality fresh cocoa and fermented in a clean environment before further processing. The dark chocolate contains 70% dark chocolate content which makes this more special and much more healthier than the other chocolate bars out there. Our chocolate is 100% vegetarian. Ingredients include intense dark chocolate and by products of cocoa. Gluten is a glue type protein found in wheat, rye, and barley which provides a sticky feel. Inclusion of dark chocolates makes our chocolate much more healthier than the ones available in local stores.

3. The Divine Foods | Turmeric Powder | Organic | High Curcumin

Foods That Boost Immunity

The Divine Foods | Turmeric Powder | Organic | High Curcumin (250 gm)Foods That Boost Immunity

Turmeric is a yellow spice that is used in cooking. It is also present in some alternative medicines.  Including tumeric daily in one’s food will improve a person’s immunity. It is mainly due to the qualities of curcumin, a compound in turmeric which has antioxidant and anti inflammatory effect.

4. Tetley Green Tea – Pure & Original, 100 tea bags

Tetley Green Tea - Pure & Original, 100 tea bags

It contains five times more antioxidants than fruit and vegetables, a cup of Tetley Natural Green Tea helps cleanse from within, from all those pollutants and toxins that our bodies are exposed to on a daily basis. Rejuvenate yourself every day with a cup of Tetley Natural Green Tea.

Preparation: Bring fresh water to boil. Green tea is best made with water at 85 degree. Pour water into cup. Place one teabag and allow it to brew for about 2 mins. Remove the teabag. Sweeten with honey or sugar as desired. Green Tea is best had without milk

5. Devbhoomi Naturals Pure and Natural Garlic / Lehsun Whole, harvested from Uttarakhand. 100% Pesticides

Foods That Boost Immunity

Devbhoomi Naturals Pure and Natural Garlic/Lehsun Whole, harvested from Uttarakhand. 100% Pesticides

Garlic has antibacterial, antiviral, immune boosting, anti fungal properties. The product is 100% pure and natural. Harvested from Uttarakhand. It is processed  without any chemical and pesticides.

6. Dryfruit Mart Organic Premium Ginger Powder

Foods That Boost Immunity

Strong Ginger Powder Bottle. You can add this deliciousness to your tea brews and to your foods. Storage instructions: Store in a cool and dry place. Store in cool and dry place, avoid using wet spoon to handle this product. Comes in a jar, easy to handle convenient to store.

7. Organic India Wheat Grass – 100 g

Organic India Wheat Grass - 100 g

Helps maintaining healthy body weight. Helps detoxification of the body. Helps in cleansing the liver. Helps support healthy breathing and supports proper blood flow. Helps in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels

8. Wonderland Foods Whole Black Pepper (Kali Mirch) 250 Grams (Whole Spices)

Wonderland Foods Whole Black Pepper (Kali Mirch) 250 Grams (Whole Spices)

It is Natural, No Preservatives and No added Colors. Handpicked and Manually Sorted Black Pepper is one of the most commonly used seasoning ingredients, and good for your health in many ways. Black Pepper has antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which make it an amazing medicinal spice. Black pepper is one of the most versatile spices used in virtually in all kinds of savoury cooking. In order to keep their fragrance and flavor intact, they are generally ground just before preparing dishes and added at the last minutes in the recipes. Since, ground pepper only stays fresh for about three months, but peppercorns will last indefinitely. They are used to marinate chicken, fish, and meat. Can be used in the preparation of soups etc.

9. Minimal Whole Organic Cumin Seed / Jeera,  500 g

Foods That Boost Immunity

Foods That Boost Immunity

Cumin is a rich source of iron which helps in increasing hemoglobin levels.  This jeera has a powerful spicy-sweet aroma that certainly adds taste to your food and provides a culinary bliss. It’s preparation in candies, beverages, appetizers and bakery is delightfully irresistible. Come’s in Stand-Up Zipper Pouches.

10. Merlion Naturals Organic Raw Honey, Wild Forest / Multiflora Honey (300 gm)

Foods That Boost Immunity

Merlion Naturals Organic Raw Honey, Wild Forest / Multiflora Honey (300 gm)Foods That Boost Immunity

The Honey is prebiotic. Promotes digestive health. Raw Honey contains all 22 amino acids. It supports immune health. Quick and vital source of Energy


Eating ‘the rainbow’ and other food tips for uncertain times

Eating ‘the rainbow’ and other food tips for uncertain times

  • June 26, 2020

A picture of delicious homemade salsa and ingredients

Eating mostly plants will help to support your immune system which, in turn, helps fight infection and disease.
Fred Hutch file photo

Schedules are screwy, the news is extra stressful. Flour, toilet paper and normalcy are in short supply and there’s a deadly virus going around that might do nothing or just might kill you. We’re living a different reality these days. It’s scary and uncertain.

Who doesn’t feel like stress-eating an entire loaf of garlic cheese bread or quart of Chocolate Pandemacadamia Crunch?

That’s not the healthiest route, as you likely know. But what is? Are there foods that keep the immune system strong? Is it OK to bake (and eat) all those starchy carbs? How do we eat healthy when we can’t get to the store and we’re down to our last can of quarantine beans?

We turned to the nutrition and health experts at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center for practical tips on how to eat through the current pandemic — or any time of upheaval — without losing any of the important nutrients needed to fight disease or prevent gaining “the COVID-19” (pounds).

Dietitian Kate Ueland counsels patients at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance on what to eat during and after treatment. She also develops cancer-fighting recipes for Cook For Your Life, a healthy-cooking website acquired last year by Fred Hutch. As a member of the Hutch’s Greenlee Lab, she conducts cancer prevention research through the CFYL site, which offers hundreds of healthy recipes — along with cooking demos — for people touched by cancer.

We sat down at the virtual table with Ueland to discuss food, nutrition, disease and our disjointed eating habits during this uncertain time.


First and foremost, she said it’s important to acknowledge we’re going through an incredibly difficult — and stressful — time.

“Be kind to yourself and give yourself a little bit of grace during these times, or any time really that’s problematic or troubling,” she said. “Remember this is not forever. It’s a moment in time.”  

She also shared practical and scientific insights on how to keep your immune system healthy by eating lots of fiber to support the gastrointestinal tract, where much of our body’s health-promoting microbiome is housed. Eating mostly plants — vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes — is what will support immunity, she said.

“You don’t have to be a vegan, but three quarters of your plate should be plant-based foods,” she said.

Her favorite tip? Eat the rainbow, i.e., pack your meals with a variety of colorful fruits and veggies, including skins and peels, which are loaded with fiber and an array of important phytonutrients that help keep your immune system strong.  

Processed foods — though convenient — are full of empty calories that don’t give you much in return, she said. By relying too heavily on processed foods, we miss out on a “multitude of nutrients and fiber that help to keep our immune system healthy and robust.”

“Processed foods can have their place at the table, but I encourage people to focus on consuming whole foods the majority of the time,” she said.

Choosing brown rice over white, rolled oats over instant and always eating grains and cereals in the most “whole form possible” is a much better choice if you’re trying to keep your body healthy and strong, she said.

Bake with whole, not processed, ingredients

Ueland offered tips on how to prep for mealtime success, how to use canned foods without feeling guilty and how to pack pasta dishes, one-bowl meals and baked goods with whole-food ingredients that strengthen immunity.

She even validated the country’s current obsession with baking.

“I support people baking at home,” she said. “It’s a lovely way to control what’s going into the foods that we’re consuming. Start with 100% whole wheat flour and use sliced or shredded apples, carrots or different kinds of berries in lieu of refined sugars.”

Folding fruits, berries and other healthy ingredients (like nuts, seeds or even finely chopped kale!) into baked goods increases the phytonutrient content of the food, she said. And that, in turn, helps your body and immune system fend off disease-causing invaders like bacteria, fungi, toxins and viruses, including this new coronavirus.

Her favorite science-based secret ingredient?

“I always add ground flaxseed into whatever I’m cooking,” she said. “It helps increase the fiber content and it provides that extra little boost of omega 3 fatty acids which we know help to support a healthy immune system.”

Watch the full interview here, then check out these easy CFYL recipes for two healthy breakfast muffins, one with sweet potato and the other with zucchini, cheddar and quinoa. Are we making you hungry? You’ll find hundreds of other cancer-fighting recipes on the Cook for Your Life website.

Coronavirus: FSSAI urged to promote plant-based food as immunity builder

Coronavirus: FSSAI urged to promote plant-based food as immunity builder

  • June 22, 2020
CHENNAI: The Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) has urged Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to promote plant-based food as an immunity builder and to seek food hygiene and safety guidelines for meat shops and slaughterhouses during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The FSSAI recently released guidelines under the ambit of Eat Right India (Eat Right during Covid-19) and food hygiene and safety guidelines for food businesses during the pandemic.
“Green foods are vital against novel coronavirus by improving the immunity of all age groups and hence should be promoted by FSSAI. It is also pertinent that all the slaughterhouses and meat shops should follow all the rules notified by FSSAI under food hygiene and safety guidelines for food businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic or should be banned to operate,” says Varda Mehrotra, executive director, FIAPO.
Covid-19 poses a serious threat to people with low immunity and one of the major ways to deal with it is by boosting immunity. One of the most important components of the immune system is the T-cells, which play an essential role in supporting our immune system and are responsible for defending our body against invading pathogens that could cause diseases and illnesses.
Fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants like carotenoids and flavonoids. Flavonoids are found in fruits, vegetables and grains. They possess antiviral capabilities. They can also stimulate the activities of certain immune cells, including T- cells.
In the wake of the pandemic, FIAPO feels it is important that we consume healthy foods and strengthen our immune system to give a strong immune response to fight infections and ward off diseases.
People following vegetarian diets tend to have lower levels of white blood cells, our natural defender cells. This is the case for vegetarian diets, including vegan diets.
Increased number of WBC’s activates the innate carcinogens which are responsible for cancer in the body. Having very low levels of these cells is not ideal as it can affect the body’s ability to fight infection. However, having just the right number of white cells within a healthy range may reduce chances of getting sick.
Benefits of Elderberry Syrup | US News

Benefits of Elderberry Syrup | US News

  • June 19, 2020

Elderberry syrup is one of those old-fashioned remedies your great-great-grandmother might have used to fight a cold or flu. But the potential immune health benefits of elderberry syrup are still embraced by many in today’s world of modern medicine. “There’s wisdom in the natural world, and my preference is using plant medicine in lieu of pharmaceuticals when there’s little or no risk. Elderberry is one I feel good about because it’s been used for so long and in so many different cultures,” says Dr. Julia Getzelman, a San Francisco pediatrician.

(Getty Images)

The benefits of elderberry syrup aren’t just for kids. The supplement is used by people of all ages.

What Is Elderberry Syrup?

Elderberry syrup comes from the dried flowers and berries of the European elder tree (Sambucus nigra). The flowers and berries are also made into extracts, teas, pills and even gummies.

Like our ancestors, some people make elderberry syrup at home. The recipe typically includes:

  • Dried elderberry flowers or berries.
  • Water.
  • Raw honey.
  • Spices (such as cinnamon and ginger).
  • Alcohol (such as vodka or brandy) to extend shelf life.

Making elderberry syrup requires simmering the berries, water and spices on the stove, steeping the mixture for an hour and then pouring it through a strainer. The strained liquid is then combined with honey and alcohol to create a thick syrup.

Some people prefer buying prepared elderberry syrup. It’s available just about anywhere supplements are sold, such as a drugstore, grocery store or health food store. But remember that elderberry syrup, like any supplement, isn’t stringently regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. “That means it could contain less (if any) of the beneficial nutrients you’re hoping to take,” says Dr. Thomas Holland, a physician scientist at Rush University Medical Center.

Holland also points out that prepared syrups contain additional ingredients such as preservatives and added sugars. That may not be a big concern if you’re considering the benefits of elderberry syrup when sick family members need symptom relief. But it’s an important factor to weigh when debating the health risks and benefits of elderberry syrup.

Immune System Supporter

Like other berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries), elderberries are rich in compounds that support immune health.

  • Vitamin C, which helps several important cells in the immune system (such as T cells) perform their jobs.
  • Vitamin A, which helps regulate immune responses.
  • Powerful plant chemicals (phytochemicals) called flavonoids that appear to help health in many ways. For example, flavonoids may help fight inflammation and cancer.

Vitamins and phytochemicals are also powerful antioxidants – compounds that fight free radicals (molecules that damage cells).

“That means that they can support the immune system in the removal of harmful reactive oxygen species,” Holland says.

Germ Fighter?

One of the health benefits of elderberry syrup may be an ability to fight harmful viruses (such as a cold or flu virus).

“Elderberry is thought to have neuraminidase inhibiting activity. What this means is that it will block the viral neuraminidase – (an enzyme) which allows the virus to be released from an infected cell after replicating – of influenza viruses specifically,” Holland says. “Essentially, if elderberry does contain this property, it may prevent viral reproduction by blocking the release from an already infected cell.”

Elderberry might shorten the severity and duration of symptoms. For example:

  • “Studies have looked at people on an airplane exposed to a cold virus, and those who used elderberry had less severe and shorter duration of symptoms,” Getzelman says.
  • A small, randomized trial in Norway found that people with flu symptoms who took elderberry syrup four times a day for five days experienced symptom relief an average of four days earlier than people in the study who took a placebo.

But most studies on elderberry are inconclusive, and many studies are done in petri dishes or in lab animals – not humans. In other words, there’s not enough evidence yet to say that elderberry is proven effective.

Pandemic Fighter?

Some people are hoping the potential antiviral health benefits of elderberry syrup can also help ward off the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) causing the COVID-19 pandemic. Sales of elderberry syrup have reportedly been brisk since the pandemic began.

But it’s crucial to note that we simply don’t know if the benefits of elderberry syrup include preventing COVID-19, although there are potential signs:

  • Some evidence hints that elderberry may have a role in preventing other types of coronaviruses. For example, one study found that a component in elderberry called caffeic acid appeared to keep a coronavirus known as HCoV-NL63 from replicating in a petri dish.
  • And some research has suggested that elderberry, in addition to having antiviral properties, appears to activate healthy immune systems by increasing the body’s production of inflammatory cytokines – signaling molecules that trigger the body’s inflammatory response. Such action may potentially be helpful to people with weakened immune systems, such as people with cancer or AIDS.

In the case of the current pandemic’s coronavirus, boosting inflammatory cytokines could be risky. Once SARS-CoV-2 takes hold and causes COVID-19, it can sometimes trigger an uncontrolled release of cytokines (a “cytokine storm”), and cause an immune system overreaction that destroys tissue.

For that reason, some groups, such as the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, recommend that people stop taking elderberry syrup if they develop COVID-19 symptoms or test positive for the illness.

Known Elderberry Syrup Risks

Generally speaking, elderberry syrup has few side effects, but there are some.

“Raw or unripe elderberries contain toxic compounds. This includes elderberry leaves and stems. Consumption may lead to poisoning and hospitalization. You will want to make sure you are consuming elderberry syrup from cooked elderberries to avoid this potentially harmful complication,” says Alicia Romano, a clinical registered dietitian at the Frances Stern Nutrition Center at Tufts Medical Center. “Additionally, reports of GI distress (nausea, vomiting), and allergic reactions have been reported as potential side effects.”

Romano says elderberry syrup may also interfere with a number of medications. “Potential drug interactions can include antidiabetic medications, diuretic medication and laxatives,” Romano says.

Elderberry syrup can also interfere with medications needed to tamp down the immune response in autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. “Individuals who are taking immune-dampening drugs, like steroids and monoclonal antibodies for disease processes, should avoid elderberry, as elderberry may support a return to action of your immune system,” Holland says.

Should You Take Elderberry Syrup?

While the health benefits of elderberry syrup are inconclusive, Getzelman says there’s enough history behind the supplement to make her feel confident about recommending it to her generally healthy patients who develop signs of an upper respiratory condition. “But it needs to be taken at the very first sign of a sniffle or sore throat,” she says. “Otherwise, it won’t have an impact.”

And despite theories about elderberry syrup’s potential health benefits of warding off coronavirus, Getzelman says that until more research emerges, she’ll be cautious about advising her patients to take the supplement as a preventive strategy.

For now, she’s still going to recommend elderberry syrup as one option for treatment of cold or flu symptoms that aren’t coronavirus-related.

If you’re interested in trying elderberry syrup, speak with your own physician first. Remember: Taking any kind of medication, including a supplement or an herb, must be tailored to your individual health.

10 Tasty Wild Berries to Try (and 8 Poisonous Ones to Avoid)

10 Tasty Wild Berries to Try (and 8 Poisonous Ones to Avoid)

  • June 18, 2020

By Ryan Raman

Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are commonly available in grocery stores, but many equally delicious berries are abundant in the wild.

Wild berries thrive in many climates, and they’re packed with nutrients and powerful plant compounds. Though wild berries can be tart, they’re quite versatile and can be enjoyed in a wide variety of ways.

However, some wild berries contain toxic compounds. If eaten in high amounts, they may cause uncomfortable symptoms or even be fatal.

Here are 10 delicious and safe wild berries you can eat — and 8 poisonous ones to avoid.

1. Elderberries

Elderberries are the fruit of various species of the Sambucus plant.

They thrive in mild to subtropical regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The fruit tends to grow in small clusters and is black, bluish-black, or purple.

Though the berries of most Sambucus varieties are edible, the Sambucus nigra L. ssp. canadensis variety is the most commonly consumed type.

It’s important to note that elderberries need to be cooked to inactivate alkaloid compounds that can cause nausea if the berries are eaten raw (1).

Elderberries have a tart, tangy taste, which is why they’re typically cooked and sweetened to make juices, jams, chutneys, or elderberry wine.

These berries are a great source of vitamin C, with 1 cup (145 grams) providing 58% of your daily needs. Vitamin C plays many vital roles in your body but is particularly important for your immune system.

Elderberries are also rich in vitamin B6, which supports immune function.

The nutrient composition of elderberries and elderberry products makes them particularly effective at boosting immune health.

For example, a study in 312 adults found that taking 300 mg of an elderberry extract supplement both before and after traveling significantly reduced the duration and severity of colds, compared with a placebo.


Elderberries have a tart, tangy taste when raw, so they’re best enjoyed cooked. They’re loaded with vitamin C and vitamin B6, both of which support immune health.

2. Cloudberries

Cloudberries are berries of the plant Rubus chamaemorus, which grows in higher elevations in cool, boggy areas in the Northern Hemisphere.

The cloudberry plant has white flowers, and the yellow-to-orange fruit resembles a raspberry.

Fresh cloudberries are soft, juicy, and fairly tart. Their taste is best described as a mix between raspberries and red currants — with a hint of floral sweetness. They are safe to eat raw.

Cloudberries are high in vitamin C, providing 176% of your daily needs in 3.5 ounces (100 grams).

They’re also high in ellagitannins, which are powerful antioxidants that can help protect your cells from free radical damage.

What’s more, according to animal and test-tube studies, ellagitannins may have anticancer effects, boost your immune system, and fight inflammation.


Cloudberries have a slightly tart, sweet taste. They contain powerful antioxidants known as ellagitannins that may protect against free radical damage and offer other health benefits.

3. Huckleberry

Huckleberry is the North American name for the berries of several plant species in the Vaccinium and Gaylussacia genera.

Wild huckleberries grow in mountainous regions, forests, bogs, and lake basins in Northwestern America and Western Canada. The berries are small and either red, blue, or black.

Ripe huckleberries are fairly sweet with a little tartness. Though they can be eaten fresh, they’re often made into tasty beverages, jams, puddings, candies, syrups, and other foods.

Huckleberries are rich in powerful antioxidants, including anthocyanins and polyphenols. In fact, they contain more of these beneficial compounds than antioxidant-rich fruits like blueberries.

Diets rich in anthocyanins and polyphenols have been linked to impressive health benefits, including reduced inflammation, a lower risk of heart disease, and anticancer effects.


Huckleberries are fairly sweet with a little tartness and can be enjoyed fresh or cooked. They’re rich in powerful antioxidants, including anthocyanins and polyphenols.

4. Gooseberries

Gooseberries belong to two major groups — European gooseberries (Ribes grossularia var. uva-crispa) and American gooseberries (Ribes hirtellum).

They’re native to Europe, Asia, and North America and grow on a bush approximately 3–6 feet (1–1.8 meters) high. The berries are small, round, and vary from green to red or purple in color.

Gooseberries can be very tart or very sweet. They’re eaten fresh or used as an ingredient in pies, wines, jams, and syrups.

They’re high in vitamin C, with 1 cup (150 grams) providing 46% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI).

In addition, the same serving packs a whopping 6.5 grams of dietary fiber, which is 26% of the daily value. Dietary fiber is a type of indigestible carb that’s essential for healthy digestion.

They also contain the antioxidant protocatechuic acid, which has been shown to have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer effects in animal and test-tube studies.

Although these results are promising, more human research is needed to confirm these potential benefits.


Gooseberries can be tart or sweet and enjoyed fresh or cooked. They’re high in fiber, vitamin C, and the antioxidant protocatechuic acid.

5. Chokeberries

Chokeberries (Aronia) grow on a shrub that’s native to eastern North America.

They have a semisweet yet tart taste and can be eaten fresh, although they’re more commonly made into wines, jams, spreads, juices, teas, and ice cream.

Chokeberries typically grow in wet woods and swamps. There are three main species of chokeberry — the red chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia), black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa), and purple chokeberry (Aronia prunifolia).

Chokeberries are particularly high in vitamin K, a nutrient that supports bone health and is needed for important bodily functions, such as proper blood clotting.

They’re also high in antioxidants, such as phenolic acids, anthocyanins, flavonols, and proanthocyanidins. These powerful plant compounds give chokeberries one of the highest antioxidant capacities of all fruits.


Chokeberries have a semisweet yet tart taste and can be enjoyed fresh or cooked. They’re high in vitamin K and numerous antioxidants.

6. Mulberries

Mulberries (Morus) are a group of flowering plants that belong to the Moraceae family.

They grow in mild to subtropical regions in the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Mulberries are multiple fruits, which means they grow in clusters.

The berries are approximately 3/4 to 1 1/4 inches (2–3 cm) in length and typically dark purple to black in color. Some species can be red or white.

Mulberries are juicy and sweet and can be enjoyed fresh or in pies, cordials, and herbal teas. They’re packed with vitamin C and provide good amounts of B vitamins, magnesium, and potassium.

Additionally, 1 cup (140 grams) of mulberries offers an impressive 14% of your daily iron needs. This mineral is necessary for important processes in your body, such as growth, development, and blood cell production.

What’s more, mulberries are packed with anthocyanins, which are plant pigments that are strong antioxidants.

Test-tube and animal studies show that mulberry extract may help lower blood sugar levels, aid weight loss, fight cancer, and protect your brain from damage.

All of these benefits may be due to its high concentration of antioxidants, which include anthocyanins.


Mulberries are juicy, sweet berries that are delicious fresh or cooked. They’re high in iron and anthocyanin antioxidants.

7. Salmonberry

Salmonberries are the fruit of the Rubus spectabilis plant, which belongs to the rose family.

The plants are native to North America, where they can grow up to 6.6–13 feet (2–4 meters) tall in moist coastal forests and along shorelines.

Salmonberries are yellow to orange-red and look like blackberries. They’re fairly tasteless and can be eaten raw.

However, they’re commonly combined with other ingredients and made into jam, candy, jelly, and alcoholic drinks.

Salmonberries are a good source of manganese, providing 55% of the RDI in 3.5 ounces (100 grams). Manganese is essential for nutrient metabolism and bone health, and it has powerful antioxidant effects.

The berries also contain good amounts of vitamins K and C, offering 18% and 15% of the RDI in a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving, respectively.


Salmonberries are fairy tasteless when fresh, so they’re commonly made into jams, wines, and other foods. They’re a good source of manganese and vitamins C and K.

8. Saskatoon Berries

Amelanchier alnifolia is a shrub that’s native to North America.

It grows 3–26 feet (1–8 meters) high and produces edible fruit known as saskatoon berries. These purple berries are approximately 1/4–1 inch (5–15 mm) in diameter.

They have a sweet, nutty flavor and can be eaten fresh or dried. They’re used in pies, wines, jams, beer, cider, and sometimes cereals and trail mixes.

Saskatoon berries are one of the best sources of riboflavin (vitamin B2), containing nearly 3 times your daily needs in 3.5 ounces (100 grams).

Riboflavin — like other B vitamins — plays an essential role in energy production. It’s needed to turn your food into energy and may protect your nervous system against disorders like Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.


Saskatoon berries have a sweet, nutty flavor and can be enjoyed both fresh and dried. They’re incredibly high in riboflavin, a very important nutrient.

9. Muscadine

Muscadine (Vitis rotundifolia) is a grapevine species native to the United States.

Muscadines have a thick skin that ranges from bronze to dark purple to black. They have a very sweet yet musky taste, and their flesh’s texture is similar to that of plums.

Muscadines are bursting with riboflavin (vitamin B2), with a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving providing 115% of the RDI. They’re also high in dietary fiber — containing 4 grams per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving, or 16% of the daily value.

Dietary fiber may help reduce blood cholesterol levels, promote healthy digestion, and increase weight loss and feelings of fullness.

These grape-like fruits are not only high in riboflavin and dietary fiber but also contain resveratrol.

This antioxidant is found in the skin of grapes. Human and animal studies show that resveratrol promotes healthy blood sugar levels and may protect against heart disease and certain cancers.


Muscadine berries have a sweet yet musky taste. They’re high in fiber, riboflavin, and resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant.

10. Buffaloberries

Buffaloberries (Shepherdia) are the fruit of small shrubs in the Elaeagnaceae family.

The plants are native to North America and 3–13 feet (1–4 meters) in height. Silver buffaloberry (Shepherdia argentea) is the most common species. It has green leaves covered with fine silvery hairs and pale-yellow flowers that lack petals.

Buffaloberries have a rough, dark red skin with little white dots. Fresh berries are quite bitter, so they’re often cooked and made into delicious jams, jellies, and syrups. Eating too many of these berries in any form can cause diarrhea.

These berries are bursting with antioxidants, including lycopene.

Lycopene is a powerful pigment that gives red, orange, and pink fruits their characteristic color. It has been linked to a number of health benefits.

For example, studies have associated lycopene with a reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and eye conditions, such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (ARMD).


Buffaloberries are fairly bitter but can be made into delicious jams and syrups. They’re high in lycopene, an antioxidant linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, eye conditions, and certain cancers.

8 Poisonous Wild Berries to Avoid

While many wild berries are delicious and safe to eat, some you should avoid.

Certain berries contain toxic compounds that may cause uncomfortable or fatal side effects.

Here are 8 poisonous wild berries to avoid:

  1. Holly berries. These tiny berries contain the toxic compound saponin, which may cause nausea, vomiting, and stomach cramps.
  2. Mistletoe. This popular Christmas plant has white berries that contain the toxic compound phoratoxin. It can cause stomach issues and a slow heartbeat (bradycardia), as well as brain, kidney, and adrenal gland toxicity.
  3. Jerusalem cherries. Also known as Christmas orange, this plant has yellow-red berries that contain solanine, a compound that can cause gastrointestinal infections, stomach cramping, and an irregular heartbeat (tachycardia).
  4. Bittersweet. Also called woody nightshade, berries from this plant contain solanine. They’re similar to Jerusalem cherries and can cause similar side effects.
  5. Pokeweed berries. These purple berries look like grapes but contain toxic compounds in the roots, leaves, stem, and fruit. This plant tends to get more toxic as it matures, and eating the berries is potentially fatal.
  6. Ivy berries. Purple-black to orange-yellow in color, these berries contain the toxin saponin. They may cause nausea, vomiting, and stomach cramps.
  7. Yew berries. These bright red berries contain potentially toxic seeds. One study showed that eating too many yew seeds caused seizures.
  8. Virginia creeper berries. These climbing vine berries contain toxic amounts of calcium oxalate. Consuming too much of this compound can have toxic effects on your kidneys.

This list is not exhaustive, and many other poisonous berries grow in the wild. Some toxic berries even look similar to edible ones.

For this reason, the utmost caution must be taken when harvesting wild berries. If you’re ever unsure whether a wild berry is safe, it’s best to avoid it.


Many wild berries contain toxic compounds. Be extremely cautious when picking wild berries for consumption.

Bottom Line

Many wild berries are delicious and safe to eat.

They’re often packed with nutrients and powerful antioxidants that can provide various health benefits, such as boosting immunity, protecting your brain and heart, and reducing cellular damage.

However, some wild berries are poisonous and potentially fatal. If you’re unsure about a species of wild berry, it’s best to avoid eating it, as it’s not worth the risk.

Reposted with permission from Healthline. For detailed source information, please view the original article on Healthline.

How to Boost Your Immune System With Food

How to Boost Your Immune System With Food

  • June 17, 2020

Focus On What You Add To Your Diet—Not Subtract From It.

We’ve become obsessed with something I call “nutritional absolutism.” Basically the idea that there’s only one “right” way to eat for everyone, be it paleo, vegan, Whole30, or any other diet that tells you that its way of eating is the only way. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Different ways of eating work differently for everyone. Instead I’d argue we need to quit framing how we eat around weight loss. Our obsession with diets is so powerful that even in a country driven by consumption, when it comes to eating, we’re concerned solely with restriction. I need to lose weight. Or: I’m cutting out meat. That’s how you get someone who wants to live “healthier” eating a bunch of packaged bars or meat substitutes—processed foods that aren’t even foods!

Base your choices on what you want to add into your life, not what you want to cut out of it. I want to gain energy. Or: I’m choosing to eat these delicious beets. We begrudgingly eat the things that are good for us. Let’s end that. My plant-based diet isn’t about me cutting out fish, meat, or eggs. It’s about me actively choosing to eat whole plants. That said, I’ll probably have to start eating meat when I get older, since as you age, it’s harder for your body to integrate protein. Again, it’s all about deliberate choices.

Joe’s Smoothie
Want to sneak in a few more nutrients? Try our columnist’s go-to recipe.

1 cup dark leafy greens
1/2 banana
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup blackberries
3 Tbsp. hemp seeds
1 tsp. nut butter

Blend with water or the nondairy milk of your choice.

You Don’t Need To Become A Chef—Just A Veggie Whisperer.

Here’s one easy tip for incorporating more nutrition-dense plants into your diet: Learn how to cook your own vegetables. Veggies on most restaurant menus are overpriced, and they’re just as easy to prepare at home. Learn the art of plant food. You want to order pizza? Order pizza. That’s cool. But maybe eat it with a side of Swiss chard or broccolini you make yourself. If you’re able to cook your vegetables yourself, life instantly becomes easier, healthier, and cheaper.

Want an easy way to protect your immune system (and your wallet)? Cook your veggies at home.

Keep Track Of How The Food Makes You Feel.

One easy strategy that I suggest for my clients is to keep a food diary. Every week, pick a couple of foods. Research what their benefits are and what they can do for you (a simple Google search will suffice). Pay attention to how you feel after eating whatever it is and write that down. Like, okay, I know kale is good for me, but what is it actually doing? Oh, it’s a good source of iron. But what does iron do for me? Iron helps deliver oxygen to the body. But it also says plant sources of iron are a bit harder to digest. How do I improve my digestion? Well, vitamin C might be able to help increase my absorption of iron, and broccoli and sweet potatoes are a rich source of vitamin C. And so on and so forth. That’s how you learn.

Here are some foods that are absolutely refreshing to consume during the summer heat, and they come with the added benefit of being healthy for your body.

Healthy summer foods to beat the heat and boost health – fitness

  • June 17, 2020

Come summer and most places in India turn into a working oven for most part of the day. People are constantly hydrating, washing their faces or eating cold treats and snacks in order to beat the painful heat. However, in summer, one also gets to enjoy the abundance of nature, with access to several seasonal fruits and vegetables including mangoes, melons, and berries being very easy. The produce section in super markets overflows with all sorts of fresh produce. And if you opt for organic choices, especially since the produce is mainly seasonal, one may also be lucky to find produce with no additives or chemicals. So every time you crave for something cool, go for a glass of juice instead of that ice lolly, you won’t only be making a healthier choice but also cutting down a lot of empty calories from your daily quota. Here are some foods that are absolutely refreshing to consume during the summer heat, and they come with the added benefit of being healthy for your body.

Iced Coffee and Tea –


There is nothing as refreshing as sitting by the water on a sunny day, sipping on ice cold beverages. A simple cup of coffee with heaps of ice can go a long way in kick-starting your morning. A recent study shows a cup of caffeinated coffee a day helps to reduce the risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancer by about 10%. Home made iced tea can also help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and diabetes as it is rich in a class of antioxidants called flavonoids. A squirt of lemon juice in the tea helps preserve the antioxidants and makes for a perfect summer drink.

Melons –


We know for sure that we cannot go without that watermelon sugar high. Dehydration can lead to several additional problems, especially during summer. Watermelons and muskmelons are so high in water content that it helps regulate body temperatures. Staying properly hydrated helps in keeping your memory sharp and having a clear skin. Melons also help with weight loss when coupled with exercise as the high-water content keeps you satisfied on very few calories.

Mangoes –


If you don’t believe in counting calories, mangoes are the perfect summer treat. The high iron content in mangoes can help people increase the calcium content in their bodies. As a summer fruit, it is very refreshing and can help prevent heat strokes. It is also high on vitamins A and C which help build the immune system. Mango ice cream made with almond milk also provides for a delicious summer treat without the worry of extra sugar calories, and is totally vegan friendly.

Salads –


The health benefits of replacing a normal mean with a salad are immeasurable. From kale and lettuce to sprouts – leafy greens are rich in carotenoids which the body converts into vitamin A. This helps in protecting the skin from the harmful UV rays. It also helps in mending dry skin by strengthening the skins defences against the Sun. The best part about salads is that they can be mixed with almost anything from fruits to fish and still taste delicious.

Berries –


Summer is the juicy season of all sorts of berries that are filled with flavonoids which help the body fight many serious illnesses. Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are also known to increase the blood flow throughout the body, regenerating skin and decreasing sensitivity to light, making the skin look brighter and improving texture. This can be critical during the harsh summer months. Berries are also high on fibre, approximately 8 gram per cup.

Corn –


There is nothing like the taste of fresh corn on the cob on a peaceful summer evening. This handy snack is not just delicious but also rich on starch. It helps in providing the body with lutein and zeaxanthin which are helpful for eye health and the antioxidants present also help in lowering the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration which causes blindness in older people.

Fresh Juice –


Freshly squeezed juice is characteristic of a well-rounded summer breakfast. Most fruits available during the summer season work brilliantly as juice. Whether it is the citrus taste from oranges and sweet limes or the sugary taste of watermelons, there is nothing more tropical than a chilled glass of freshly squeezed juice.

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