Tips to help your family fight the flu this season

fight the fluWith each day the weather gets colder, and thoughts turn to bundling up and hunkering down. But as the temperature drops, we are reminded that flu season is right around the corner.

“There are some really simple ways to help your family fight the flu this winter,” explains Laura Weyland, a pharmacist with Shoppers Drug Mart. “People don’t have to wait it out and hope for the best. There are three easy tips to help keep you healthy this year: eat well, wash your hands frequently, and get the flu shot.”

“While it’s important to make healthy food choices all year, it’s also a good idea to look at what you eat during flu season to ensure you’re getting the nutrients your body needs,” says Laura McCann, a registered dietitian with Loblaws. “Vitamins C and E are antioxidants for the maintenance of good health while zinc supplements have been proven to help maintain immune function. Foods that contain an abundance of these are good to look for during your grocery shop.”

Below are a few foods that will help you maintain a healthy diet:

• Citrus Fruit – Not only are citrus fruits a good source of vitamin C, they’re naturally delicious. If fresh fruit is not an option, look for fresh or frozen 100% fruit juice.

• Beans and Legumes – Boost your zinc intake by including a variety of beans and legumes in your diet.

Nuts and Seeds – A variety of nuts and seeds during cold and flu season help you benefit from vitamin E – a dietary antioxidant that helps in the maintenance of good health.

Garlic – Raw garlic has been traditionally used in herbal medicine for hundreds of years to help relieve the symptoms associated with upper respiratory tract infections and catarrhal conditions.

To help protect your family, make sure everyone gets a flu shot. Flu shots are available at Shoppers Drug Mart or at your local grocery store pharmacy.

5 surprising superfoods for baby boomers

5 surprising superfoods for baby boomers(BPT) – An estimated 77 million baby boomers represent the largest generation of Americans born in U.S. history. Many are embracing their golden years and taking a proactive approach to their well-being. If you are a boomer, you understand nutrition is fundamental to maintaining your health. But do you know some foods are particularly powerful in helping you age well?

“Certain foods provide nutrients that are extremely beneficial for baby boomers,” says Kristen Johnson, registered dietician, nutrition expert at On Target Living, and author of the newly released cookbook “Target To Table: Healthy and Delicious Meals One Superfood at a Time.” “Eating these superfoods regularly is one of the easiest yet most impactful things boomers can do for their health.”

Johnson’s top five superfoods for baby boomers include:

Fresh cold water fish

“On top of being a delicious lean protein, fish is loaded with omegas-3s that keep our brains healthy as we age,” says Johnson. “EPA and DHA are the type of omega-3 fat found in fish and are especially important for a healthy heart, hormonal balance, energy and mood.”

Since most of us don’t have access to fresh, wild-caught or cold-water fish on a daily basis, she suggests taking a high-quality cod liver oil daily, like Nordic Naturals Orange-Flavored Cod Liver Oil. “There’s no fishy smell and a quality you can taste,” says Johnson. “Also, cod liver oil naturally contains vitamin D, which is needed to absorb calcium.”

Super seeds

Certain seeds, like flax, chia and hemp seeds, have extensive health benefits and more boomers are incorporating them into their daily meals and snacks.

“Flaxseeds and chia seeds are high in omega-3s and fiber and contain antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties,” says Johnson. “Hemp seeds are high in healthy omega-6s, along with being high in protein. These super seeds help balance hormones and can also help with digestion.”

Easy ways to start incorporating seeds into your daily routine is to add them to smoothies or sprinkle on yogurt or oatmeal.

Super vegetables

“Vegetables provide many nutrients, including potassium, fiber, folate, vitamins A, E, C and are alkalizing, meaning they neutralize acids in the body and help your body thrive and stay mineralized,” says Johnson.

Try to get a variety of super vegetables into your daily diet including leafy greens, bok choy, broccoli, mushrooms, beets, celery, carrots, onions and garlic. Leafy greens and broccoli are especially high in calcium and vitamin C needed to keep your immune system healthy and prevent sickness. Beets and celery are extremely detoxifying. Garlic is part of the onion family and contributes to a healthy immune system while helping to lower inflammation.

Super fruits

“Fruits are packed with flavor and are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, cancer-fighting antioxidants, and are extremely alkalizing,” says Johnson.

Strive to get a variety of super fruits in your daily diet including strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, lemons, limes, apples and bananas. Dried fruits like figs, dates, goji berries and raisins are high in the calming mineral magnesium which helps to relax the mind and body and aid in digestion.

Organic virgin coconut oil

Lately there has been a lot of buzz about coconut oil and for good reason, explains Johnson. “Coconut oil is a healthy saturated fat high in lauric, capric and caprylic acids which have antiviral and antifungal properties contributing to a healthy digestion,” she says. “Coconut oil also contains medium-chain fatty acids that can aid in a healthy metabolism.”

Try using coconut oil in baked goods or to replace other oils when sautéing or stir-frying. It’s also a fantastic butter substitute on toast and other foods.

Start the day on the right foot with this easy-to-make smoothie that features several of Johnson’s recommended superfoods. This recipe can be found on Johnson’s blog at

Rise and Shine Smoothie
Serves 3

2 cups carrot juice
1 cup kale or spinach
1 banana
2 cups frozen or fresh berries
2 tablespoons chia or flaxseeds
2 tablespoons hemp seeds
1 tablespoon Nordic Naturals Orange Flavored Cod Liver Oil

Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth.

Five tips for natural autumn wellness

Autumn girlMuch like the environment, our bodies respond to the changes in the seasons. It is important, therefore, help our bodies cope with these seasonal fluctuations by making changes to our routine, diet and supplement regime. The Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) has the following five tips to help you prepare for the shorter, colder days ahead so you will continue to thrive and feel great throughout the fall:

1. Eat in season

With the arrival of autumn, it’s always a good idea to change your diet, adding the delicious foods that the season offers. Fresh pumpkins, yams, squash, sweet potatoes, turnips, apples, pears and figs are all rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals. Pumpkins, squash and root vegetables are abundant in vitamin A and carotenoids, which give them their rich orange colour. Vitamin A and carotenoids are powerful anti-oxidants, which can help prevent premature aging and a number of serious illnesses. Make sure to consult the “The Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15” to know which fruits and vegetables are the most and least contaminated by pesticides.

2. Detox in season

We think of spring as the perfect season for cleansing and spring cleaning, but it’s just as important in the fall. A fall detox cleanse will help to stave off seasonal colds, keep your immune system healthy, and prepare you for the colder months ahead. Visit your local health food retailer, where you can find a number of detox solutions, including teas and supplements, as well as several fall detoxifying foods, such as organic apples and beets.

3. Supplement in season

With the changing season, now is the perfect time to boost your immune system. As we start spending more time indoors, cold and flu bugs spread with more ease. Garlic pills, probiotics, vitamins B, C and D, E3 and Zinc are all powerful supplements that will help boost your immune system and help you fight off the nasty bugs that spread in autumn and winter.

4. Boost your mood this season

As many as 20 percent of Canadians are affected by seasonal affective disorder (SAD); commonly known as the winter blues. This is a physiological mood disorder that causes depressive symptoms during fall and winter, impacting people that have normal mental health throughout the rest of the year. To cope with the blues, make sure you are getting enough vitamin D, which is known to boost mood. In fall and winter, we can’t produce this vitamin because of the lack of exposure to UV rays from the sun. It’s a good idea to talk to your healthcare practitioner about the benefits of taking a vitamin D supplement.

5. Embrace the season

In between the rainy and windy days of autumn, the sun peeks through just as often. Fall days are made more beautiful with changing leaves and the warm sun. Autumn is filled with beauty. Embrace it and enjoy it before the long cold weather takes over. Take part in fall activities with your family, such as apple picking or local fall fairs.

You can locate your nearest natural health food store, where you can find fresh seasonal foods and learn more about beneficial natural health products for the fall online at

How to Make Peppermint Herbal Honey For Cold and Flu Symptoms


Fresh Mint Tea

Fresh Mint Tea

Peppermint is a cooling herb to cool down a fever or sore throat and aids in healing you from other symptoms of the cold and flu. Peppermint herbal honey is a tasty and delicious way to add this herb to your cold and flu herbal remedy arsenal.

Peppermint honey has been used by traditions around the world for thousands of years to relieve the symptoms of colds and flu like sore throat, congestion, headaches, coughs and pneumonia. Peppermint is well known for settling stomach nausea and spasms also. Menthol is one of peppermints volatile oils and is antibacterial. It fights infections, kills germs and relieves infections in the nose, sinus and chest. It loosens up the congestion and gets the mucous flowing, taking the virus out of your body with it.

Peppermint is rich in magnesium, phosphorus, riboflavin, calcium, iron, niacin, potassium and vitamins A and C. All of these minerals and vitamins aid your immune system to fight the infections.

To make peppermint herbal honey:

  • Just fill a small canning jar with the leaves torn into bits.
  • Pour raw honey over the leaves and stir gently to soak them.
  • Fill the jar with raw honey
  • Cap it tightly and set it on your counter to infuse for 2-6 weeks.
  • Stir or turn the jar over every day.

You can start using it within a day or two, but as it infuses over time it will become more medicinal. To use it, just put 1 tablespoon of the honey in a cup and pour boiling water over to make a delicious tea.

©2009 Shanna Ohmes

Want to know more about how to boost your immune system? Traditional diets and how to prepare them, healthy fats, herbal remedies and debunking health myths are some of the subjects covered in The Natural Living Site Newsletter at

Check out the articles below for more awesome peppermint uses!

Stroke can happen at any age

coupleWhen most people think of stroke, they do not think of it as a disease that affects young people. Although most common in people over the age of 70, stroke can indeed strike at any age. Learn to manage your risk factors and help create more survivors.

Some risk factors like age, gender, family history, and ethnicity are out of your control, but you can learn to manage many of the other factors, such as these:

Keep your blood pressure in check. High blood pressure is often called the silent killer because it has no symptoms. The first step to controlling high blood pressure is seeing a healthcare provider regularly in order to know and track your numbers.

Breathe easy. It’s never too late to quit smoking. Once you become smoke-free and avoid exposure to secondhand smoke, you immediately reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Get active and stay active. Physical activity can help you handle stress, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and maintain a healthy weight.

Eat smart. To help improve your cholesterol levels limit foods high in saturated fat and avoid trans fat.

Watch your weight. Excess weight around the waist can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Consult a healthcare provider to reduce your weight safely.

Limit alcohol. Consuming more than two alcoholic drinks a day may raise blood pressure levels and contribute to excess weight, which are risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Women should limit themselves to two drinks a day to a weekly maximum of 10 and men should not exceed three drinks a day to a weekly maximum of 15.

De-stress. If your life is full of stress it can be difficult to lead a healthy lifestyle. Identify the source of your stress, talk to friends and family and take time for yourself.

More information plus the opportunity to donate is available online at

Healthy Red Cherry Smoothie Recipe

Red Cherry Smoothie

Red Cherry Smoothie

4 small diet changes that can make a big difference

(BPT) – The new year is a great time to start fresh. Many people commit to exercise more, stress less or make healthier food choices. Incorporating small, sustainable changes, versus dramatic, large-scale lifestyle shifts, can make it much easier to stick to your resolutions. This year, instead of overhauling your entire diet, resolve to improve your health with simple tweaks to your everyday meal and snacking routine.

Eat the rainbow

Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet is an effortless way to boost your intake of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Try to eat one produce item from each color in the rainbow every day. For example, have blueberries in your breakfast oatmeal, a red apple for a snack, a spinach and radicchio salad with yellow peppers for lunch and sweet potatoes as part of dinner. You could also pack red bell peppers and carrots with creamy garlic hummus or a banana for a convenient pick-me-up between meals.

Adopt a smoothie regimen

Another easy way to consume more fruits and vegetables – as well as other healthy ingredients like nut and soy milk, yogurt, chia or flax seeds – is to start your day with a nutrient-packed smoothie. Smoothies can be a convenient, on-the-go, energy-boosting breakfast for adults and kids alike. Create personalized flavor combinations for every member of the family with the new Vitamix S30, which features a portable blend-and-go container that becomes an instant travel cup. If you have a sweet tooth, try a red cherry smoothie, bursting with the flavors of cherry, strawberry and grapes. Or, blend in antioxidant-rich kale or other dark leafy greens for an extra serving of vegetables.

Choose healthy fats

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend getting most of the fat in your diet from unsaturated fats, which can be found in foods such as fish, nuts, seeds and certain types of oils. Monounsaturated fats, from sunflower oil, canola oil and avocado, and polyunsaturated fats, like soybean oil, walnuts and flax seed, are sometimes called “good fats” because they are heart-healthy and can help lower cholesterol. Add these healthy fats into your meals: use avocado to cool spicy entrees; top salads with walnuts, sunflower or pumpkin seeds for an extra crunch; and cook with canola or olive oil. Fats are essential for your body to function properly, so choose ones that taste great and provide energy and nutrients.

Make smart substitutions

Another simple way to change your diet is to sub in healthier options. There are many ways to adapt recipes that will increase their nutritional content without sacrificing taste. Replace the typical carbohydrates with vegetables: try crispy, baked zucchini sticks in place of french fries or spaghetti squash instead of traditional pasta. Secretly swap ingredients for more wholesome alternatives in your favorite recipes: substitute Greek yogurt in place of full-fat sour cream in dips and sauces or make a cauliflower-based pizza crust, instead of a flour one, for a more nutritious version of a favorite comfort food. With the right preparation and seasonings, your family will never notice the difference.

When it comes to incorporating changes into your lifestyle, it’s important to start slowly and make realistic choices. Don’t be discouraged if you have minor setbacks. With just a few modifications to your daily meals, you can achieve better health in the new year.

Red Cherry Smoothie


1/2 cup (60 g) low-fat cherry yogurt

1 cup (76 g) fresh strawberries, quartered

2/3 cup (50 g) red grapes

1 cup (70 g) fresh cherries, pitted

1/2 cup (60 ml) cherry juice


Place all ingredients into the Vitamix S30 40-ounce container in the order listed and secure lid. Turn the dial to 1 and slowly increase speed to 10. Blend for 35 seconds or until desired consistency is reached.

The sweet truth for your sweet tooth

sugarLosing weight is the most common resolution for Canadians year after year – and many of us believe that omitting sugar will be the silver bullet for trimming the pounds. The truth, however, may surprise you. Here are three things to know about this sweet ingredient, according to registered dietitian, Lisa Rutledge of

Truth: Sugar is not another word for obesity

As most health professionals point out, if sugar is consumed in moderation, there is nothing bad about it. It is not the sole cause of obesity, which is a complex disease with many factors. Weight gain, in the vast majority of cases, is a result of an imbalance between energy intake from all foods and beverages, and energy output from physical activity.

Truth: All sugars are equal

Just as completely cutting sugar out of the diet is not a useful tactic, considering one form of sugar as better than the rest is not scientifically substantiated either.  No matter what type of sugar you consume, there is no evidence that humans store those calories differently. Nor is there evidence that added sugars are stored differently than naturally-occurring sugars.

Truth: Sugar is part of a balanced diet

Sugar can be part of a balanced diet, as it’s a source of energy for the brain and working muscles. Also, allowing yourself to have your favourites from time to time can actually help you stay on track with your diet. For that reason, Rutledge often recommends her clients enjoy their favourites, like chocolate or soda pop, in moderation.

Natural health trends for 2015

Natural health trends for 2015A new year brings new beginnings, a time when many of us make resolutions to be healthier. To help you get there, the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) surveyed industry experts to identify the top five natural health trends for this year:

1. Pumpkin: Primed to be the kale of 2015, we are going to see an increase in the use of pumpkin across the country. From oils to seeds, this unique squash has many health benefits and has been linked to heightened prostate and urinary tract health. Pumpkin seeds are also rich in B vitamins, vitamin E, zinc and essential fatty acids.

2. The Gut: Digestive health is poised to reign supreme amongst natural health trends in 2015.  Increasingly, natural health products that support digestion, including a diversifying probiotic category, are being linked to benefits beyond digestive health, such as mental health, skin health, and weight maintenance, among others.

3. Fermentation: The trend of supporting digestion also extends to fermented foods, which are no longer limited to kimchi, tempeh and sauerkraut. Fermentation can liberate nutrients in foods which helps our body better absorb them. For 2015, natural health lovers are taking fermentation outside of the mason jar. Canadians will see a plethora of new fermented foods in different forms including bars and powders popping up in stores across the country.

4. GMO labeling: In more than 60 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs. Food labeling activism is on the rise in Canada. We are seeing an increase in consumers demanding to know where their food comes from and whether it has been genetically modified.

5. Fancy Fats: In 2014 coconut oil was all the rage, and while it has many health benefits, we are seeing more and more people using new oils, each offering their own unique health advantages. Some of those that will be trending this year include:• Avocado Oil – Rich in monounsaturated fats and vitamin E and with a high smoke point which makes it better for use in cooking than olive oil. • Camelina Oil – Rich in mono- and poly-unsaturated fats with a high proportion of omega-3s for cardiovascular health.• Flax Seed Oil – Rich in alpha-linolenic omega-3 fats.

If you would like some help for locating a health food store in your neighbourhood, this information is available online at

3 clever steps to a much warmer winter

warmer winterLayer upon layer of bulky winter gear helps Canadians to ward off the season’s bite for a time, but there are other ways to keep the persistent cold at bay for the long term. The Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) recommends a winter regime of exercise, a hearty and healthy diet, and natural health support to keep you warm, even through the worst of the season.


Regular exercise gets the blood pumping and blood vessels dilating, helping to distribute warmth to our extremities. A good workout also burns calories, a process that produces lasting heat, so keep moving. The rush of endorphins we get from exercising is another important benefit, especially in winter, because they help to balance our mood and combat the “winter blues”, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). If the gym is not your thing, try Ashtanga yoga, an activity that teaches special breathing techniques to promote internal body heat, as well as mindfulness to combat stress.

Hearty Diet

What we eat and drink has a lasting effect on our ability to keep warm. In particular, spicy foods help to raise our metabolism, which allows our bodies to produce heat faster. Try using ginger, cayenne pepper, and more garlic when you prepare hearty meals, as well as other nutrient-rich ingredients like tomatoes, leafy greens, and beans. In addition, water is great at retaining heat, so drinking eight to 10 cups of water a day, will keep you hydrated and warm. Drinking herbal teas or infusing your water with seasonal fruits adds nutritional benefits and flavour.

Natural Health Support

Despite our best efforts, it is rare that we are able to get all the nutrients we need from our food alone. Supplementation is a convenient way to fill those nutritional gaps, especially in winter. To start, make sure you get the recommended daily dose of all B vitamins, which helps to increase blood flow and maintain our body’s internal temperature. A vitamin D supplement, essential for disease prevention and many of the body’s vital functions, is universally recommended for Canadians during the winter months. And, adding a quality omega-3 supplement to your regime not only contributes to heart health, but it has also been associated with reducing the risk of a number of chronic diseases, and helps to keep skin moisturized from the inside out through the cold, dry winter.

It is always a good idea to consult your healthcare provider for more personalized health advice, including the specific supplements and dosages that are right for you. Assistance to find a health food store in your neighbourhood is available online at

How to win the battle with cold and flu

cold and fluDespite our best efforts to stay healthy during the winter, we can’t always get through the cold and flu season without a nasty bout of runny nose, ceaseless coughing, fever, and a pounding headache. If you suffer from some of these symptoms, it’s quite possible a nasty bug snuck past your best defenses. The Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) has some simple suggestions to minimize all the aches and pains and get you back to feeling healthy sooner:


Taking a zinc supplement is a great way to speed up recovery from a cold. This essential nutrient has been shown to prevent rhinovirus (the most common cause of a cold) from reproducing, stopping the affliction in its tracks. For best results, and even to help prevent catching a cold at all, try including a zinc supplement as part of your regular regime.

Vitamin C

This nutrient, readily available in many foods, helps to prevent immune deficiencies so getting enough throughout the year is an effective preventative measure. Consuming plenty of vitamin C-rich foods like bell peppers, dark leafy greens and citrus fruits is an important way to get your daily recommended dose. Higher concentrations of vitamin C, found in natural supplements, can also help to minimize the duration of a cold that has already afflicted you.


This helpful herb comes in many forms, including teas, juices, tinctures, and a wide variety of solid tablets. Time is of the essence however. It is important to begin using echinacea as soon as cold or flu symptoms appear.

There are many natural ways to stay healthy and happy throughout the winter and all year long. Additional tips about natural health are available online at and speak to your health care provider about the products and dosages that are right for you.