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Benefits & Sources of Beta-Carotene and Zinc

In the final blog of our series on the Immune System and ways to support and maintain it, we are discussing the benefits and sources of Beta-Carotene and Zinc.

What is Beta-Carotene?

Beta-carotene is a red-orange pigment found in plants and fruits, especially carrots and other vegetables, that gets converted into Vitamin A – an essential vitamin.

It is a powerful antioxidant that has a number of benefits. It can:

  • reduce inflammation
  • boost immune function by increasing disease-fighting cells in the body
  • improve cognitive function and reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline
  • maintain skin health and appearance
  • support eye health and prevent eye diseases

Sources of Beta-Carotene

As mentioned, this nutrient is found in colourful vegetables such as carrots with its vibrant orange colour. It can also be found in sweet potatoes, apricots, grapefruit, leafy greens like kale, onions, pumpkin, and squash.

What is Zinc?

Zinc is considered a trace mineral. It is an essential nutrient for our immune system to function and to maintain our health.

Found mostly in our diet, zinc provides a number of benefits, such as the prevention of zinc deficiencies, reducing cold symptoms, healing wounds, reducing symptoms of diarrhea, and may slow the process of age-related eye disease (macular degeneration).

Sources of Zinc

  • whole grains
  • milk products
  • red meat
  • poultry
  • legumes, such as chickpeas, lentils, and baked beans
  • nuts, such as cashews and almonds
  • shellfish
  • seeds, such as pumpkin and sesame

Remember, before adding vitamin supplements, always speak to your health care provider as many supplements may counteract with specific and prescribed medications. However, introducing small nutritious dietary changes to your daily routine will benefit your overall health and support your immune system for the prevention of certain diseases and overall functioning.

Servicing the Ottawa Community since 1998. We are now accepting clients in Smith Falls, Kemptville, Prescott, Brockville, through to Kingston, Ontario.

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Benefits of Vitamin D

In our weekly series on how to boost your Immune System for a stronger, healthier way of life, we will be focusing today’s blog on the benefits of Vitamin D – the sunshine vitamin.

In Canada, it is estimated that 32% of Canadians have insufficient Vitamin D levels in their bloodstream. This occurs more so in the winter months than during the summer and can cause the softening of bones or osteoporosis (fragile bones) in adults.

What is Vitamin D?

Known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is produced by the body in response to your skin being exposed to the ultraviolet rays found in sunlight. It also occurs naturally in foods, such as certain fish, fish liver oils, and egg yolks, and in fortified dairy and grain products. Vitamin D is a nutrient that helps the body use calcium and phosphorous to build and maintain strong bones and teeth. Some research says that Vitamin D supplementation may reduce the risk of viral infections, including respiratory tract infections, by reducing the production of pro-inflammatory compounds in the body.

Vitamin D Deficiency

Due to its importance for strengthening and maintaining healthy bones, a deficiency in Vitamin D may lead to symptoms of bone pain and muscle weakness. Vitamin D deficiency has also been associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and cognitive impairment in older adults.

This deficiency can be caused by a number of circumstances such as reduced sunlight, especially in the winter months, or by consuming more strict plant-based diets (i.e. vegan diet), as most natural sources of Vitamin D are animal-based.

What foods provide Vitamin D?

Accoding to Health Canada, the major sources of vitamin D are fortified foods. In Canada, cow’s milk and margarine must be fortified with vitamin D. Goat’s milk, fortified plant-based beverages (e.g., fortified soy beverages), and some calcium-fortified orange juices are permitted to be fortified with vitamin D. Cheese and yogurt can be made with vitamin D-fortified milk, however, the final product does not contain as much vitamin D as fluid milk alone. The only natural sources of vitamin D in the Canadian food supply are fatty fish and egg yolks. Because it is a commonly consumed food, fluid milk is a major dietary source of vitamin D.

Other examples of foods containing Vitamin D are:

  • Rainbow Trout
  • Sockeye salmon
  • Sardines
  • Eggs
  • Beef liver
  • Orange Juice
  • Mushrooms
  • Tuna


Increasing your daily Vitamin D intake using over-the-counter supplements is one way to improve your health. As of February 24, 2021, Health Canada increased the maximum amount for vitamin D supplements sold over-the-counter to 2,500 IU per dose for adults.  They recommend a dietary allowance of 600IU (15mcg) per day for children and adults under 70 years of age. For those over 70, a daily allowance of 800IU (20mcg) is recommended.

Always speak with your doctor or medical practitioner before adding certain foods and supplements to your daily routine.

For more information on how we can help you with meal preparation and assistance, visit our website or connect with us today!

Servicing the Ottawa Community since 1998. We are now accepting clients in Smith Falls, Kemptville, Prescott, Brockville, through to Kingston, Ontario.

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Orange, Carrot & Ginger Juice

This 3-ingredient recipe is not only simple and delicious, but it is also a great way to boost your immune system! Packed with vitamins and nutrients, such as 100% of your daily Vitamin C, this juice is quick and easy to add to your morning routine.

Immunity-Boosting Carrot, Orange & Ginger Juice

For the full recipe, click here.


  • 5 large Oranges, peeled
  • 5 – 6 large Carrots
  • 2-inch cube of Ginger, peeled


  1. Blend all ingredients together in a high-power blender until smooth. If mixture appears “dry”, add a splash of water or more oranges.
  2. Using a fine strainer or cheesecloth, strain the juice allowing the liquid to drip through into a large bowl. You may need to use your hand to squeeze excess liquid if using cheesecloth.
  3. Discard the pulp from the cloth or strainer and transfer the juice into a bottle to refrigerate or into your glass over ice to enjoy right away!

Servicing the Ottawa Community since 1998. We are now accepting clients in Smith Falls, Kemptville, Prescott, Brockville, through to Kingston, Ontario.

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Immunity Support

Building and maintaining our immune systems are vital during any age and season, however, as the winter season is in full effect, your immune system requires some extra protection to avoid colds and flu.

What is the Immune System?

The immune system is a complex organ system in the body comprised of white blood cells, skin, mucus and bacteria. Its central role is to seek, recruit, attack and destroy foreign invaders, such as bacteria and viruses that enter the body. There are two main levels of immunity:

1. Innate immunity system

This system provides a quick first line of defence and acts against a wide range of pathogens. The innate immunity system refers to nonspecific defence mechanisms that come into play immediately or within hours of an antigen’s appearance in the body. These mechanisms include physical barriers such as skin, chemicals in the blood, and immune system cells that attack foreign cells in the body. The chemical properties of the antigen activate the innate immune response.

2. Adaptive Immune System

This level refers to antigen-specific immune response. The adaptive immune response is more complicated than the innate one. The antigen first must be processed and recognized. Once an antigen is identified, the adaptive immune system creates an army of immune cells specifically designed to attack that antigen. Adaptive immunity also includes a “memory” that makes future responses against a specific antigen more efficient.

How to Support your Immune System

The immune system is precisely that – a system, not a single entity. For it to function well, it requires balance and harmony. Researchers are still exploring the effects of diet, exercise, age, psychological stress, and other factors on the immune response.

In general, a healthy lifestyle is the single best step you can take toward naturally keeping your immune system strong and healthy. Every system in your body, including the immune system, functions better when following balanced and healthy strategies such as these:

  • Eating a whole food diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables
  • Exercising regularly
  • Staying hydrated
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Reducing stress
  • Drinking alcohol in moderation
  • Not smoking

Speak with your health care professional for ideas on how to best support your immune system and visit our website for some healthy recipes and activities to keep you and your immune system strong and protected.

Servicing the Ottawa Community since 1998. We are now accepting clients in Smith Falls, Kemptville, Prescott, Brockville, through to Kingston, Ontario.

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