Foods to Boost the Immune System


By Gabrielle Hungate a recent ASU nutrition student



It is clear that the world is going through a major shift and could be changed forever. We are going through something that will be in the history books. Covid-19 has taken over the world and it is hard to read about anything else, as it is consuming our world. Everyone is different and everyone gets hit differently, not just by the virus, but many of the viruses going around our planet. There is no cure for this virus and no real documented medicine to truly help. There are some things that we can do as an individual regarding diet, that may help boost our immune system.



Everyone knows that eating healthy is the right thing to do and may make our immune system better, yet many people do not know where to start or how certain foods affect us and how they can make our bodies stronger. Our immune system relies on white blood cells that produce antibodies that combat, bacteria, viruses and other foreign bodies. People that eat a high amount of fruits and vegetables have been shown to have antibodies that are more effective against these things (1).



There are many vitamins that assist in the immune system become stronger. Vitamin C and Vitamin E are very strong antioxidants that assist in the immune response. There are many foods that contain Vitamin C. While supplementing can be beneficial, nothing can replace the absorption from food. Great sources of Vitamin C are strawberries, oranges, red peppers, mangoes, and lemons. Vitamin E sources can be found in spinach and broccoli. A great way to incorporate these is in smoothies. They are quick and easy and always taste great. Juicing is another way to get a large number of nutrients as well.


Vitamin D has recently started to show in research that it can reduce the risk of infections, this can include respiratory tract infections (1). Vitamin D can reduce the production of pro-inflammatory compounds (1). Vitamin D has actually been linked to many diseases that are can help prevent, such as tuberculosis and heart disease. Some great sources are milk, plant-based milk and supplements are an option as well. Again, smoothies are a great source of this as you can have a cup of milk in the smoothie daily to increase your vitamin D.



Zinc has gained popularity with the masses when it comes to fighting off cold and flu. The supplements can sometimes cause gastrointestinal upset or heartburn. This mineral helps with boosting white blood cells (1). Instead of supplementing, throw some nuts, pumpkin seeds or sesame seeds in your smoothie. Make some tasty tacos with beans or lentils added to them as well to get the full benefit.



There is no guarantee that anything will protect against this looming virus, as it is new to us in this country. The best we can do is use the tools that we know have been around a long time and see what will help some of us in preventing the virus and keeping the numbers low. There are no side effects for these measures and will only benefit us in the long run. Hopefully everyone can do the best they can incorporate these vitamins in our daily life and stay safe in their life.



  1. Foods to Boost the Immune System. (n.d.). Retrieved from
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French Canadian Salmon Pie

By Gabrielle Hungate a recent ASU nutrition student

This recipe is a traditional holiday tradition, along with meat pie that you will see at many New England tables. To many that did not grow up on this, it does not seem like a treat that you would reach for around the holidays, but in a French-Canadian household, there is one at every table. There are variety of ways to make it, and canned salmon or fresh salmon can be used. I am attaching the most traditional recipes that was made multiple times a year in my home.




3 ½ cups warm mash potatoes (prepared without milk and butter

1 onion finely chopped

1/3 cup milk

½ tsp celery seed

½ tsp garlic salt

¼ tsp pepper

1 can of drained and deboned salmon

2 teaspoons fresh parsley

Pastry for double crust pie

1 tablespoon water



  1. In a bowl combine potatoes, onion, milk, celery seed, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste
  2. Stir in salmon and parsley
  3. Line a 9-inch pie plate with bottom pastry and trim the edges
  4. Spread salmon mixture into crust
  5. Roll the remaining pie crust on top and place over filling
  6. Trim and seal the edges and cut silts
  7. Beat egg and water and brush over pastry
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until crust is golden
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At Home Water Conservation

By Alexandra Pettit AZFB Communications intern

During this pandemic many are working from home, kids are home from school, and everyone is spending plenty of time indoors. With this, there will be a rise in the amount of water used in your homes.  There are plenty of ways your family can conserve water at home. You can even make this a challenge amongst the family on who can use the least amount of water!

Here are some ways to conserve water at home!

  1. Turn off faucets!

Turn off water faucets when… Taking a shower turn off the water when you lather you can save gallons of water this way. When doing the dishes fill the sink instead of letting the water run. Lastly, turn it off when you are brushing your teeth, this is a bad habit that I have I tend to leave it running and walk away! You would be amazed at how much water we waste when doing these simple tasks.

  1. Use every drop!

When washing your fruits, and veggies save the “Dirty” water. This leftover water is good to water our plants and garden if you have one!

  1. Take shorter showers!

On average if you take a 10-minute shower you use about 20 gallons of water! Try to cut this time in half by taking shorter showers. One way to do this is to keep a timer in the bathroom!

  1. Capture rainwater!

Another way to conserve water is to start catching rainwater to use to water plants and gardens. This might be hard to do year-round in Arizona but during the monsoon season.

  1. Only wash full loads!

This goes for the laundry and dishes! To wash a load of laundry it takes anywhere from 15-45 gallons of water! Think about that next time you wash a full load for one pair of jeans. To wash a load of dishes it takes anywhere from 4-6 gallons of water per load. You can even consider washing by hand to save some water.

  1. Eliminate food waste!

Lastly, try to eliminate food waste, because food waste = wasted water, due to the amount of water it takes to create your food.





Water Conservation Game!

Make conserving water at home a game for the family! Start by tracking each week! You will be amazed at how much water you can save!

Point System:

1 point – turning off faucets when showering, brushing teeth, and doing dishes.

2 Points- Take a 10 minute or less shower (don’t forget your timer)

3 Points- Only washing full loads of laundry and dishes

5 Points- Eating everything on your plate, eliminating food waste!

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How Our Backyard Garden Encouraged Adventurous Eating in My Toddler

By Lillian Lin-Levitan a recent ASU Nutrition student

When my son was almost 3 years old, we finally moved into a home with some outdoor space. It was early spring and – with boxes still waiting to be unpacked – we focused on getting our backyard garden going. I had big plans for that small garden. My son, a once adventurous eater, was suddenly very particular. He was no longer eating his veggies! This garden would act as an outdoor classroom to teach him the alchemy of growing food – and hopefully to get him to show some enthusiasm about the vegetables I was putting on his plate. Long story short – it was a success! The trick was to involve him in every step.


The foundation to a happy garden is healthy soil, and we needed to give ours a little life. We headed to our local nursery where my son helped by pulling the wagon, selecting seeds (with some guidance), and picking out his gardening gloves.


Once back home, my son helped shovel soil into our garden beds. We talked about how the soil was alive and that there was a whole world that was too tiny to see – but that all those little microbe bugs helped our vegetables grow.


It wasn’t long before the beds were ready, and it was time to plant the seeds. I pre-poked some holes and began handing them out one at a time to my son, who – after kissing each seed goodbye – dropped them into their new home, wished them good luck, and covered them up with dirt.


After watering our newly planted seeds, there was nothing to do but wait. Our new morning routine was to rush out back upon waking to see if anything had sprouted. As my son watched his seedlings pop through the ground like magic, his excitement grew.


We talked about how big the different plants would grow, and how long until they’d be ready for picking. We started planning how we would eat them – if we’d munch on them raw or use them as an ingredient in a meal. My picky toddler was looking forward to eating cherry tomatoes right off of the vine!


Our seedlings quickly grew into sturdy plants that began to flower. My son thought it was fascinating to watch the flowers blossom, lose their leaves, and transform into a tiny version of a familiar vegetable.


Before we knew it, it was harvests time! First the sweet peas. They’d grown taller than both of us – climbing up high on the DIY trellis we’d built for them. I let my son take the lead, only helping as needed. Quickly our basket filled, and I stood back as my toddler – who had recently decided he didn’t like anything green – munched away on the fresh peas.


Next up was the carrots. My son discovered that pulling veggies out of the ground was even more fun than taking them from the vine. He was so excited to try them that I barely managed to wash the dirt off before they were in his mouth.


As we got further into the season, the rest of the garden was ready to harvest. The novelty never wore off and my son spent hours picking tomatoes, peppers, and squash. And he was enthusiastic to eat everything we grew! The tomatoes became sauce; the peppers got stuffed with beans and whole grains; the squash became a casserole. All of which my son helped prepare and chowed down without complaint.


That summer taught me to take it slow and to be patient with children’s food preferences. I learned that while I might not be able to control how many greens my kid eats – I can control the food experiences that I give him and the options that I provide. The years I’ve spent feeding kids has shown me that getting them involved in the meal – whether that means growing the veggies they’re eating or helping out in the kitchen – often leads to more adventurous eating. And I think that, as parents, that is a great gift to give to our children!

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French Canadian Chop Suey

By Gabrielle Hungate a recent ASU Nutrition Student



Even though this recipe may look simple, it has an immense history in my French-Canadian culture. It has been made by great grandparents. It was considered a low cost and filling meal that would fill up everyone.  In most recent years, I have replaced the pasta with gluten-free pasta and also used tofu instead of hamburger. Most of the population does not prefer it made this way, it does not have to be, but it can be changed based on what you work better for you.



1 Green Pepper

1 Onion

2 cloves of garlic

2 6-ounce cans of tomato puree

3 cups of water

1 Tsp oregano

1 tsp sugar

1 pound of ground hamburger

1 box of macaroni


Sauté onion and green pepper in a separate pan

Cook Macaroni and set aside

Cook the hamburger until thoroughly cooked and set aside

Add remaining ingredients in a large pot and heat

Add in the macaroni, onion, green pepper and meat.


Add on serving dish and serve with rolls or a salad.

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