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Breathe! - Nutrients reduce colds, flu, and boost lung function

Elderberry for cold and flu

This review of five studies covered 936 participants, aged five to 70 years, who exhibited cold, flu, and flu-like symptoms, and who took a placebo or any one of several forms of elderberry, including liquid extract, lozenges, and hot beverages, at doses of 175 to 240 mg, up to five times per day, for four to 10 days at the onset of symptoms.

All studies reported elderberry reduced severity of symptoms, including fever, head and muscle ache, nasal congestion, mucus discharge, and cough; and up to a 50 percent decrease in duration of symptoms compared to placebo.

Reference: Advances in Integrative Medicine; 2020, Vol. 7, No. 4, 240-6

Fiber, vitamins A, B1, B6, C, and folic acid aid lung function

Long-term exposure to airborne irritants like gases from cigarette smoke and pollution can obstruct airflow from the lungs, leading to several conditions including emphysema and bronchitis, together considered chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Doctors in this study hypothesized that diet could improve airflow.

To measure diet, at the start of the study, and during the five-year follow-up, trained dieticians administered a 117-question survey to 1,439 men and women, average age 53, with normal airflow. Some had never smoked, others were current or former smokers.

After five years, those that developed an airflow limitation were more likely to be older, male, and have a history of smoking. Compared to healthy participants, men and women with limited airflow had reduced the amounts of fiber, vitamins A, B1, B6, C, and folic acid in the diet compared to those with healthy airflow.

Reference: Nutrients; 2021, Vol. 13, No. 2, 580


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