Follow by Email

Mar 3, 2017

Lifestyle Factors and Immunity

Bastyr alumni Kelly Morrow MS, RD, CD shares some lifestyle and nutrition facts to maximize your immune health

  • Stress
    • Chronic stress and chronic exposure to stress hormones can weaken the immune system by reducing the activity of essential immune cells
  • Sleep
    • According to the CDC, 50 - 70 million adults in the US suffer from sleep disorders and do not get enough sleep. Multiples studies show that sleep deprivation causes a dip in immune cell numbers which can increase the likelihood of contracting a virus or an infection.
  • Alcohol
    • A high level of alcohol intake can also weaken the immune system in a similar way to stress and sleep deprivation.
  • Physical Activity 
    • Physical activity helps support immune function in multiple ways. Increased circulation helps flush out bacteria from mucous passages and helps white blood cells become more efficient. The rise in body temperature that comes from physical activity also helps to slow the growth of bacteria.
  • Vitamin A
    • Vitamin A helps support the protective mucosal barriers that line the digestive tract and nasal passage and is important or the creation of immune cells. Foods rich in vitamin A include green, yellow and orange vegetables.
  • Vitamin C
    • Vitamin C concentrates in the cells of the immune system and is an essential nutrient. Food sources of vitamin C includes oranges and citrus fruits, peppers, broccoli, kiwi fruit and rose hip teas.
  • Vitamin D
    • Vitamin D helps coordinate the immune response and is important for preventing infections. It is known as the sunshine vitamin because we can make vitamin D with exposure to sun - but only in the summer months. There are not many meaningful food sources apart from fortified milk and fish, so it is best to take a supplement.
  • Zinc
    • Zinc is a mineral that helps white blood cells work efficiently and also keeps the gut barrier strong and intact. Food sources of zinc include pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, meats, fish and legumes (especially lentils).
  • Plant Medicine
    • Some plants, including garlic and elderberry have antimicrobial and anti-viral properties. Add garlic liberally to your meals, sauces, marinades, and condiments. Black elderberry has a natural hemagglutinin inhibitor which prevents viruses from entering a cell and becoming ineffective. Typical dose is 1-2 teaspoons per day for prevention and 3-4 tablespoons a day for treatment.
  • The Probiotic Connection
    • Good gut health is essential for immune health, as roughly 60% of the immune system resides in the gut. Probiotic bacteria help regulate the immune response by communicating with the cells and nervous system of the gastrointestinal tract. Fermented foods such a yogurt, sauerkraut and kombucha support a healthy bacteria balance. Eating a variety of high fiber plant-based foods is also supportive.

Comparing Thorne and Riverwalk Mutliple Vitamin

The vitamins and minerals highlighted are those that the optimal health multiple vitamin contain more of, both of these vitamins are the same price.

Thorne Basic Nutrients III (Citrate) [w/o cu and fe]
Serving Size: 6 capsules
Price: $42.00

Amount Per Serving:
Vitamin A ... 15, 000IU
(12, 500 IU from Beta Carotene and 2, 500 IU as Palmitate)

Vitamin C ... 850mg- Optimal health contains 1,000mg 
(as Ascorbic Acid)

Vitamin D ... 1, 000IU- Optimal health contains 2,000 IU 
(as Vitamin D3)

Vitamin E ... 400IU
(as d-Alpha Tocopheryl)

Thiamin ... 40mg (B1)- Optimal health contains 50mg 
(as Thiamin HCl)

Riboflavin ... 11mg (B2)- Optimal health contains 50mg
(as Riboflavin 5-Phosphate Sodium)

Niacin ... 160mg
(130 mg as Niacinamide and 30 mg as Niacin)

Vitamin B6 ... 10mg- Optimal health contains 50mg
(as Pyridoxal 5-Phosphate)

Folate ... 1mg
(500 mcg as Calcium Folinate and 500 mcg as L-5-Methyltetrahydrofolate from L-5-Methyltetrahydrofolic Acid, Glucosamine Salt)

Vitamin B12 ... 450mcg
(225 mcg as Adenosylcobalamin and 225 mcg as Methylcobalamin)

Biotin ... 400mcg

Pantothenic Acid ... 413mg
(as Calcium Pantothenate)

Calcium ... 240mg- Optimal health contains 1,000mg
(as Calcium Citrate)

Iodine ... 225mcg
(as Potassium Iodide)

Magnesium ... 180mg- Optimal health contains 500mg
(as Magnesium Citrate)

Zinc ... 15mg- Optimal health contains 30mg
(as Zinc Picolinate)

Selenium ... 200mcg
(as L-Selenomethionine)

Manganese ... 6mg
(as Manganese Picolinate)

Chromium ... 200mcg
(as TRAACS® Chromium Nicotinate Glycinate Chelate)

Molybdenum ... 100mcg
(as Molybdenum Picolinate)

Potassium ... 60mg
(as Potassium Citrate)

Choline Citrate ... 100mg

Boron ... 3mg
(as Boron Picolinate)

Lutein ... 144mcg
(from Aztec Marigold extract (flower) (Tagetes erecta))

Vanadium ... 100mcg
(as Vanadium Picolinate)

Optimel Health Multiple Vitamin
Serving size: 6 Capsules
Price: $42.00

Amount Per Serving:
1,000 mg of calcium citrate

2,000 IU of Vitamin D3

400 IU of Vitamin E

1,000 mg of Vitamin C

15,000 IU of Vitamin A

100 mcg Selenium

30 mg of Zinc

50 mg of all the B Vitamins.

Vitamin K2 150 mcg

Vitamin B12 100 mcg

Biotin 300 mcg

Pantothenic acid 70 mg

Magnesium citrate 500 mg

Copper 1 mg

Manganese 15 mg

Chromium 100 mcg

Potassium 50 mg

Boron 2 mg

Molybdenum 50 mcg

Vanadium 20 mcg

Choline 70 mg

Inositol 70 mg

Methylfolate 800 mcg

Feb 22, 2017

Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Ingredients  (2 servings)

  • 1/2 cup of quinoa cooked in almond or coconut milk (instead of water)
  • 1 banana 
  • Coconut oil
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon nut butter of choice
  • Coconut flakes, strawberries, pomegranate seeds, mango, blueberries (optional)

  • Saute sliced banana in coconut oil and cinnamon 
  • Add to cooked quinoa
  • Add nut butter 
  • Top off with coconut flakes or other fruit and chia seeds

Feb 21, 2017

Thai Salmon Vegetable Salad

  • 1 lb sockeye salmon
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ginger

  • Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 4 tbsp coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salad:
  • 1 zucchini, spiralized
  • 1 cucumber, spiralized
  • 1 carrot, spiralized or sliced with a vegetable peeler
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned

  1. Mix together the marinade for the salmon in a shallow dish. Place salmon, flesh side down in the dish. Let marinade for about an hour.
  2. Meanwhile, grind up the cashews in a food processor until finely ground, almost a paste. Add in the rest of the dressing ingredients and blend until smooth.
  3. Set the oven to broil on high. Place the rack about 6 inches below the broiler. Place salmon steaks skin side down on a oiled baking sheet. Broil for about 8 minutes, or until fully cooked.
  4. Portion out about 2 cups of the spiralized vegetables into a bowl. Top with salmon and dressing.

Feb 10, 2017

A Handful of Nuts a Day Cuts the Risk of a Wide Range of Diseases

A large analysis of current research shows that people who eat at least 20 g of nuts a day have a lower risk of heart disease, cancer and other diseases. The analysis of all current studies on nut consumption and disease risk has revealed that 20 g a day-equivalent to a handful-can cut people's risk of coronary heart disease by nearly 30%, their risk of cancer by 15%, and their risk of premature death by 22%.
An average of at least 20 g of nut consumption was also associated with a reduced risk of dying from respiratory disease by about half, and diabetes by nearly 40%, although the researchers note that there is less data about these diseases in relation to nut consumption.
The study, led by researchers from Imperial College London and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, is published in the journal BMC Medicine.
The research team analyzed 29 published studies from around the world that involved up to 819,000 participants, including more than 12,000 cases of coronary heart disease, 9,000 cases of stroke, 18,000 cases of cardiovascular disease and cancer, and more than 85,000 deaths.
While there was some variation between the populations that were studied, such as between men and women, people living in different regions, or people with different risk factors, the researchers found that nut consumption was associated with a reduction in disease risk across most of them.
Study co-author Dagfinn Aune from the School of Public Health at Imperial said, "In nutritional studies, so far much of the research has been on the big killers such as heart diseases, stroke and cancer, but now we're starting to see data for other diseases."
"We found a consistent reduction in risk across many different diseases, which is a strong indication that there is a real underlying relationship between nut consumption and different health outcomes. It's quite a substantial effect for such a small amount of food."
The study included all kinds of tree nuts, such as hazel nuts and walnuts, and also peanuts-which are actually legumes. The results were in general similar whether total nut intake, tree nuts or peanuts were analyzed.
What makes nuts so potentially beneficial, said Aune, is their nutritional value: "Nuts and peanuts are high in fiber, magnesium, and polyunsaturated fats-nutrients that are beneficial for cutting cardiovascular disease risk and which can reduce cholesterol levels.
"Some nuts, particularly walnuts and pecan nuts are also high antioxidants, which can fight oxidative stress and possibly reduce cancer risk. Even though nuts are quite high in fat, they are also high in fiber and protein, and there is some evidence that suggests nuts might actually reduce your risk of obesity over time."
The study also found that if people consumed on average more than 20 g of nuts per day, there was little evidence of further improvement in health outcomes.
(Source: BMC Medicine- December 2016)

Chocolate Fondue


1C unsweetened cashew milk
2tbsp coconut oil
1tsp vanilla
Pinch of fine sea salt
12oz of dark chocolate chips (about 1¾ C)
Serve with banana slices, pineapple, kiwi, and strawberries


In a small saucepan, heat cashew milk over medium low heat. Do not allow to come to a boil. Milk should just be very warm.
Add coconut oil, vanilla, salt, & chocolate chips. Let warm, then whisk together. Continue to whisk until chocolate is fully melted.
Remove from heat when chocolate is fully melted & smooth. Serve immediately if desired. Help keep fondue warm by serving in a fondue pot see over a small flame.

Store in the refrigerator if not using right away. Reheat in 30 second increments in the microwave or in a small sauce pan over low heat.

Jan 27, 2017

Vindaloo Roasted Cauliflower with Chickpeas


  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry
  • 2 tablespoons Vindaloo Curry powder
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil or ghee, melted 

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Toss cauliflower and chickpeas with Vindaloo Curry powder and melted ghee in large bowl.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange cauliflower and chickpeas in a single layer on baking sheet.
  • Roast for 15 minutes, then  rotate cauliflower and chickpeas. Bring temperature to 375 degrees and roast an additional 10 minutes, or until cauliflower is brown and tender.