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The countries with the highest amount of centenarians eat very large portions of vegetables and consume almost none of our modern packaged foods.
The countries with the highest amount of centenarians eat very large portions of vegetables and consume almost none of our modern packaged foods.

Health, Seven Days, Dr. Mao, Santa Monica, Food

Natural Tips And Tricks To Avoid The Cold/Flu: Dr. Mao's Wellness Living

Dr. Mao Shing Ni
Courtesy Photo
Dr. Mao Shing Ni

Posted Mar. 10, 2013, 9:10 am

Dr. Mao Shing Ni / Mirror Columnist

This time of year it feels like everyone you come in contact with is sick! Here are some natural ways to keep you healthy and well through this cold and flu season.

Chestnuts Bolster Immunity

Chestnuts have been popular for centuries in both Asia and the Mediterranean regions. Chestnuts differ from other nuts by having low fat content and high fiber. They have a mild, sweet taste and a crumbly consistency. An excellent source of potassium, folate, vitamins B6 and C, chestnuts strengthen the kidney-adrenal system and bolster the immune system to fight off the flu and combat infections. This flu season, introduce more chestnuts into your cooking; they are good roasted in the oven, cooked with chicken, lamb, beef, or pork, or in any dish with beans and legumes.

Beta-Carotene Builds Immunity

Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that improves immune function and promotes mucous membrane health. In fact, a 1997 study conducted by the Institute of Food Research in the United Kingdom suggested that dietary intake of beta-carotene can enhance cell-mediated immune responses. How to get these beta-benefits this flu season? Eat more orange-colored vegetables, including carrots, winter squash, butternut squash, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and yams. Additionally, these are all excellent sources of Vitamin C, a famous immune support.

Eat Healthy Daily

Get five to nine fruit and vegetable servings every day. Here’s why: By now, you have probably heard that the new USDA recommendation for optimal health is to fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables of all colors. The countries with the highest amount of centenarians eat very large portions of vegetables and consume almost none of our modern packaged foods. These centenarians live to a ripe old age in surprisingly good health, suffer from very little heart and liver disease and show limited instances of cancer and degenerative diseases.

A few tips: Eat foods of all colors – red, yellow, green, white, and dark green – to get a variety of vitamins and nutrients and optimize your body’s immunity. Also, go organic when possible and always clean your vegetables well. Buy what’s in season for the best taste, best nutrition, and the best price.

Top immunity food picks: broccoli, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, dark leafy greens, cauliflower, cabbage, squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, bell peppers, mushrooms, chives, garlic, leeks, daikon radishes, citrus fruits, and berries.

Treat Your Body Right

Encourage your body to fight flu and other infections by giving it the care it needs.

• Get at least seven hours of quality sleep every night. Studies show that your immune system function drops by an average of 60 percent after just three nights of poor sleep.

• Keep your stress level low with meditation, Tai Chi, or yoga.

• Dry body brushing daily can activate lymph circulation that is important to clear out toxic debris and stimulate immunity.

• If you feel your immune system has already been compromised and illness is on the way, consider my Cold/ Flu formula, which supports recovery as it boosts your immune system. It will stop the illness in its tracks!

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine and board certified anti-aging expert. He has recently appeared on “The Ricki Lake Show,” “Dr. Oz,” and contributes to Yahoo Health and The Huffington Post.  Dr. Mao practices acupuncture, nutrition, and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica, Newport Beach, and Pasadena. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni, founded the Tao of Wellness more than 25 years ago in addition to founding Yo San University in Marina del Rey.  To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment please call 310.917.2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at To subscribe to his tip-filled newsletter please visit

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