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Super Foods to Boost Immunity System

Posted in Healthy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2010 by rizkymygift

Yep… the weather lately just made us easily getting some common cold viruses and even influenza. Actually, it all depends on our immunity system and we do need supplements and vitamins to boost ours. But wait, you may put these foods below into your consideration before you buy such expensive supplements or vitamins. Check this out pal ūüôā

1. Elderberry

Sambucus Nigra

An old folk remedy, elderberry is worldwide used as anti-oxidant, to lower cholesterol, improve vision, boost the immune system, improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsilitis. Elderberry juice was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995. The extract from these dark berries appears to block flu viruses in test tube studies based on WebMD reports. And a few small studies done in people show it may help you recover more quickly from flu. But scientists caution that further study is needed. The fruit itself is rich in antioxidants and may also have the ability to fight inflammation.

Elderberries contain organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, sugar, rutin, viburnic acid, vitaman A and B and a large amount of vitamin C. They are also mildly laxative, a diuretic, and diaphoretic. Flavonoids, including quercetin, are believed to account for the therapeutic actions of the elderberry flowers and berries. According to test tube studies these flavonoids include anthocyanins that are powerful antioxidants and protect cells against damage.

Tip : Consume elderberry juice to supply vitamin C in the prevention and treatment of colds. Elderberry juice also acts as a demulcent to soothe the chest. So It acts to induce sweating (a property described as sudorific) which has been commonly held to be beneficial in the early stages of a feverish cold. Elderberry juice also has mild laxative and diuretic (the promotion of water loss) properties. For variety, try mixing elderberry juice with apple juice, blackberry juice or rhubarb juice.

2. Button Mushrooms

Agaricus Bisporus

Button Mushrooms,  better known as a white mushroom (Agaricus Bisporus) and also called champignon mushrooms. This fungus has a protein content and very low fat, rich in vitamin B complex (riboflavin, niacin and panthotenat), sodium (Na), potassium (K), selenium (Se). Button mushrooms is believed efficacious for patients with diabetes and hypertension, as well as to prevent and treat disease today, such as cancer. For children, this fungus is very useful to maintain and improve fitness and health, in addition to helping the regeneration of body cells, especially after illness. Mushroom can also be used as protective foods as vitamin B-complex which includes the complete riboflavin and amino acids essential to have a fairly complete. Besides that mushroom also useful for people with diabetes, anemia, to cancer.

You may not dismiss this one coz it has the mineral selenium and antioxidants. Low levels of selenium have been linked to increased risk of developing more severe flu. And the B vitamins riboflavin and niacin, found in these mushrooms, play a role in a healthy immune system. Animal studies have also shown mushrooms to have antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-tumor effects.

Tip: Add this fungus to your menu as a substitution of meat. Mushrooms contain about 80 to 90 percent water, and are very low in calories (only 100 cal/oz). They have very little sodium and fat, and 8 to 10 percent of the dry weight is fiber. Hence, they are an ideal food for persons following a weight management program or a diet for hypertensives.

3. Acai Berry

Claimed as a “super food” along with produce like blueberries, the little acai berry’s dark color signals that it is high in antioxidants called anthocyanins. While the acai is not scientifically linked to specific disease- or illness-fighting ability, antioxidants may help your body fight aging and disease.¬†Acai berry also known as a weight loss supplement, although they have a number of other benefits such as reducing the aging process and helping cell recovery. The weight loss properties of acai berry can be largely explained by the increased metabolic rate it causes. This happens because of the very large amount of antioxidants (substances, which prevent oxidative stress and cell damage) it contains. This leads to faster fat breakdown, increases energy levels and fights fatigue. Combined, these effects make the process of losing weight faster and easier without any side effects usually associated with synthetic chemicals. Many research papers suggest that eating a diet high in antioxidants is the key to successful weight loss. So, you can boost your immune system while still keeping your shape ūüôā

Tip : Acai berries can be consumed most often in juice or smoothie form, or dried and mixed with granola.

4. Oysters

Oysters contains many things that would make us love it. Yes, it works as an aphrodisiac and also immune booster coz the mineral zinc that’s found in oysters. Low zinc levels have been associated with male infertility and zinc appears to have some antiviral effect, although researchers can’t explain why. However, they do know it is important to several immune system tasks including healing wounds.

Tip: Oysters natural are best served simply with crushed ice and seaweed. Fresh lemon juice or Worcestershire sauces are both good accompaniments. There are also two classic sauces to be served with raw oysters. The first is a mignonette sauce with shallots and vinegar and the second is a chili sauce. Oysters may also be cooked in many ways, such as poaching, marinating, frying, grilling or baked.

5. Watermelon

Yes, watermelon keeps us hydrating and refreshing, but ripe watermelon also has plenty of a powerful antioxidant, glutathione. It’s known to help strengthen the immune system so it can fight infection, glutathione is found in the red pulpy flesh near the rind.¬†Watermelon is not only great on a hot summer day, this delectable thirst-quencher may also help quench the inflammation that contributes to conditions like asthma, atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer, and arthritis.

Watermelon is an excellent source of vitamin C and a very good source of vitamin A, notably through its concentration of beta-carotene. As a matter of fact, high intakes of vitamin C and beta-carotene have been shown in a number of scientific studies to reduce the risk of heart disease, reduce the airway spasm that occurs in asthma, reduce the risk of colon cancer, and alleviate some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. A cup of watermelon provides 24.3% of the daily value for vitamin C, and, through its beta-carotene, 11.1% of the DV for vitamin A.

Tip: For a great summer thirst-quencher, blend chunks of watermelon with a few ice cubes and a splash of lime juice. Serve with a fresh mint leaf.

6. Cabbage

Cabbage is another source of immune-strengthening glutathione. Besides that, It also contains vitamin C and folic acid. Cabbage protects against stress, infection and heart disease, as well as many types of cancers, according to the American Association for Cancer Research.

Tip : There are numerous ways to get¬†cabbage into your diet; toss it in a salad instead of lettuce, use cabbage in place of lettuce wraps, stir fry it in your favorite Asian dish, make some classic cabbage soup or juice it. To avoid gas after eating cabbage, add a few fennel, caraway or cumin seeds before cooking. Cabbage is also a good source of blood-sugar-stabilizing fiber, and the raw juice of cabbage is a known cure for stomach ulcers. Cabbage is easy and inexpensive to find during the winter months when it’s in season. Try adding cabbages of any variety (white, red, Chinese) to soups and stews to sneak in extra antioxidants and boost your meal’s nutritional value.

7. Almonds

A handful of almonds may shore up your immune system from the effects of stress. A recommended 1/4 cup serving carries nearly 50% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin E, which helps boost the immune system. And they have riboflavin and niacin, B vitamins that may help you bounce back from the effects of stress. Almonds are also a good source of magnesium, copper and phosphorus. Fortunately, although one-quarter cup of almonds contains about 18 grams of fat, most of it (11 grams) is heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.

Tip:¬†Spread some nut butter on your morning toast or bagel. Remember how many great childhood lunches involved a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Upgrade that lunchbox favorite by spreading organic peanut butter and concord grape jelly on whole wheat bread. Fill a celery stick with nut butter for an afternoon pick-me-up. Sprinkle a handful of nuts over your morning cereal, lunchtime salad, dinner’s steamed vegetables. Or just enjoy a handful of lightly roasted nuts as a healthy snack.

8. Grapefruit

Grapefruits have a good amount of vitamin C. But science has yet to prove that you can easily get enough vitamin C¬†through foods alone, without supplementation, to help treat cold and flu. However, grapefruit is packed with flavonoids — natural chemical compounds that have been found to increase immune system activation. Vitamin C-rich foods like grapefruit may help reduce cold symptoms or severity of cold symptoms; over 20 scientific studies have suggested that vitamin C is a cold-fighter. Vitamin C also prevents the free radical damage that triggers the inflammatory cascade, and is therefore also associated with reduced severity of inflammatory conditions, such as asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. As free radicals can oxidize cholesterol and lead to plaques that may rupture causing heart attacks or stroke, vitamin C is beneficial to promoting cardiovascular health.

Tip:  Instead of your morning glass of OJ, have a glass of grapefruit juice. Or try to combine diced grapefruit with cilantro and chili peppers to make a unique salsa.Then, to enjoy a salad with a tropical flair, combine chopped grapefruit pieces, cooked shrimp and avocadoes and serve on a bed of romaine lettuce.

9. Wheat Germ

Wheat germ is the part of a wheat seed that feeds a baby wheat plant, so it is full of nutrients. Wheat germ is considered as one of the most healthiest food in the world.  It has zinc, antioxidants, and B vitamins among other vital vitamins and minerals. Wheat germ contains phytosterols which have been shown to lower cholesterol and promote heart health. In addition, wheat germ contains high amounts of vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps protect the body from damaging free radicals. Wheat germ is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids promote heart health by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, are important for nervous system functioning, and help elevate mood. Wheat germ is also a good source of fiber which has many benefits including improved bowel function and may reduce the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes and prevent weight gain.

Tip: Substitute wheat germ for part of the regular flour called for in baked goods and other recipes. Wheat germ is inexpensive and can be easily incorporated into the diet. Toasted wheat germ, because of its texture and nutty, slightly sweet flavor is usually preferred over raw wheat germ for use in recipes or sprinkling on food.

10. Low-fat Yogurt

Low-fat yoghurt as a very good source of calcium, phosphorus, riboflavin, vitamin B2 and iodine. Yogurt also emerged from WHFoods analysis as a good source of vitamin B12, pantothenic acid-vitamin B5, zinc, potassium, protein and molybdenum. These 10 nutrients would make yogurt a health-supportive food. But some of the most interesting health information about yogurt comes from a different context-its potential inclusion of live bacteria. Lactobacillus casei, a strain of friendly bacteria found in cultured foods like yogurt and kefir, significantly improved the immune response and ability to fight off pneumonia in an animal study published in the Journal of Nutrition.

A daily cup may reduce your chances of getting a cold.¬† Look for labels listing “live and active cultures.” Some researchers believe they may stimulate your immune system to fight disease. Also look for vitamin D. Recent studies have found a link between low vitamin D levels and an increased risk of cold and flu.

Tip: Top your daily cup of yogurt with a quarter-cup of granola, a handful of nuts, and some frozen berries or dried fruit for a quick, delicious and sustaining breakfast. For a creamy salad dressing or vegetable dip, just mix a cup of yogurt with a quarter cup of extra virgin olive oil and your favorite herbs and spices.

11. Garlic

Garlic offers several antioxidants that battle immune system invaders. Among garlic’s targets are¬†H. pylori, the bacteria associated with some ulcers and stomach cancer. Garlic is also an excellent source of¬†manganese. It is also a very good source of¬†vitamin B6 and¬†vitamin C. and . In addition, garlic is a good source of protein and thiamin (vitamin B1) as well as the minerals phosphorus,¬†selenium,¬†calcium, potassium,¬†iron and copper.

Tip: Peel, chop and let sit 15 to 20 minutes before cooking to activate immune-boosting enzymes.¬†Chopping or crushing stimulates the enzymatic process that converts the phytonutrient alliin into allicin, a compound to which many of garlic’s health benefits are attributed. In order to allow for maximal allicin production, wait several minutes before eating or cooking the garlic.

12. Spinach

Known as a “super food,” spinach is nutrient-rich.¬† It has folate, which helps your body produce new cells and repair DNA. And it¬†boasts fiber, antioxidants, such as vitamin C. Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, magnesium, iron, vitamin B2, calcium, potassium, and vitamin B6. It is a very good source of copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc and vitamin E. In addition, it is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, niacin and selenium.¬†The nutrients in spinach can also help with conditions in which inflammation plays a role. For example, asthma, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis are all conditions that involve inflammation. Since beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin K all have anti-inflammatory properties, they can be helpful for reducing symptoms in some patients. In addition, the magnesium and¬†riboflavin in spinach, two nutrients of which it is an excellent source, may help to reduce the frequency of migraine attacks in people who suffer from them.

Tip: Eat spinach raw or lightly cooked to get the most benefit. For example Toss steamed spinach with pressed garlic, fresh lemon juice and olive oil. Sprinkle with a little Parmesan cheese.

13. Tea

Tea, whether green or black… Both are loaded with disease-fighting polyphenols and flavonoids. These antioxidants seek out cell-damaging free radicals and destroy them.¬†A study, published online in the journal¬†Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveals how substances found in tea may help prime the body’s immune system to fight off infection. Another report shows how substances in green tea may be linked to skin-cell rejuvenation. The findings “add to the enormous body of evidence that tea can make a contribution to a healthy lifestyle,” commented Bill Gorman executive director of The Tea Council, an independent tea-promotion body based in London, England.

Other studies have shown that antioxidant chemicals in tea‚ÄĒproduced from the aromatic plant¬†Camellia sinensis‚ÄĒcan help minimize the risk of developing stomach and other types of cancer. One study showed that drinking one cup of tea a day could also reduce heart attack risk by up to 50 percent.

Tip: Tea will fight flu and cold coz it contains antigens that prepare us for bacterial invasion. A study on black tea drinkers found that 5 small cups of black tea a day increases immunity. So, you can probably substitute your coffee with tea.

14. Sweet Potato

Just like carrots, sweet potatoes have the antioxidant beta-carotene, which mops up damaging free radicals. Sweet potatoes also boast vitamin A, which is linked to slowing the aging process and may reduce the risk of some cancers. In addition, sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin C,  vitamin B6, which is needed to convert homocysteine, an interim product created during an important chemical process in cells called methylation, into other benign molecules. Since high homocysteine levels are associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, having a little extra vitamin B6 on hand is a good idea.

Tip: For a few quick serving, you can try to bake the sweet potato or making sweet potato pie, breads, muffin or pudding.

15. Brocolli

Broccoli is an immune-boosting basic. One study reported a chemical in broccoli helped stimulate the immune systems of mice. Plus, it’s full of nutrients that protect your body from damage.¬† It has vitamins A, vitamin C, and glutathione.¬†Not only does a cup of broccoli contain the RDA for vitamin C, it also fortifies your immune system with a hefty 1359 mcg of beta-carotene, and small but useful amounts of zinc and selenium, two trace minerals that act as cofactors in numerous immune defensive actions.

Tip:  You can try healthy sauté broccoli and onion, then add to your favorite breakfast omelet and serve with grilled tomatoes. You probably like to add some low-fat cheese to round out a side dish with immune-enhancing B vitamins and vitamin D.

Have a nice try! Let’s Boost our immune system…

As taken separately from various source, you can click the link for in-depth nutritional information ūüôā

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5 Foods That Help Fighting Fatigue

Posted in Healthy with tags , , , , , on July 14, 2010 by rizkymygift

Feeling fatigue is not all about after doing such emotional overexertion but you may feel it when you’ve got wrong food. The trick is simple you have to choose foods that release energy more slowly and give you a gradual boost of long-lasting energy — and to stay away from high-glycemic foods that deliver an immediate, short-lived boost but leave you feeling sluggish and tired.

Eating the right foods is important if you’re already feeling fatigued due to the stress of a hectic lifestyle, whether it stems from physical, mental, or emotional activity. After all, fatigue isn’t just a nuisance; if ignored, it can become chronic and put you at increased risk for disease.

Then, the tip is: You can fight fatigue, and you can do it with every bite you eat. These five foods fit the bill and also easily digested and rich in nutrients that are essential to helping your body convert food into energy. Give it a try!

Oatmeal

Although oatmeal isn’t particularly low on the glycemic index, it outranks almost every other breakfast cereal and most whole-grain breakfast products. Oatmeal is also regarded as a super food when it comes to supporting digestive health. For those reasons, many medical practitioners and nutritionists not only allow their diabetic patients to eat oatmeal but actually encourage it, especially since oatmeal helps maintain normal blood sugar levels.

Why : Carbohydrates spend the least amount of time in the stomach, which means you get a quick boost of energy. But unlike processed, sugary cereals, whole oats don’t result in a sugar crash. The high dietary fiber content in oats helps you feel full longer, preventing overeating throughout the day, which can lead to weight gain, sluggishness, and fatigue. Fiber is also crucial to healthy digestion; the soluble fiber in oats feeds the beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract and prevents energy-draining constipation.

In addition to its high fiber content, oatmeal provides magnesium, protein, and phosphorus, three nutrients that significantly and directly affect energy levels, making it an ideal food for fighting fatigue. It’s also a good source of vitamin B1 (thiamin), which is crucial for producing energy. Symptoms of too little B1 include a lack of energy and loss of appetite. Along with other nutrients, vitamin B1 helps support the breakdown and conversion to energy of the food we eat.

When : Eat oatmeal first thing in the morning for instant energy. Breakfast is especially important because it replenishes energy reserves and sets the tone for your day.

Yogurt

Yogurt is so creamy and flavorful, it can seem like a dessert masquerading as a health food. But the truth is, it’s really good for you, thanks to a power play of protein and gut-healthy probiotics.

Why : Because it’s soft, your body processes yogurt more quickly than a solid food, making it a great source of quick energy. But while you get a rapid result, it’s also long-lasting, thanks to a good ratio of protein to carbohydrates. Protein stays in the stomach longer than carbohydrates, which translates into a steady source of energy.

Yogurt also contains probiotics, beneficial bacteria that help maintain a healthy gut ecosystem by protecting against pathogens and helping your body eliminate harmful bacteria. Like fiber, probiotics are a powerful digestive aid. Recent research from the University of Toronto suggests that probiotics can help ease symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome; in the study, probiotic supplementation appeared to boost levels of the amino acid tryptophan in the brain. Tryptophan is famously known as the component in turkey that makes you sleepy, but it’s also a precursor of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps induce sleep and promote feelings of calm and tranquility, helping to combat both physical and emotional fatigue.

When : Absolutely any time. Aside from its health benefits, one of the best things about yogurt is its versatility. It’s a great afternoon or preworkout snack because it will give you a quick hit of energy. But you can also add healthy toppings like oats, ground flaxseed, nuts, and fruit to make a hearty breakfast. The plain variety works well at the dinner table in place of sour cream or as a salad dressing base, and you can doctor it up with frozen berries for dessert.

Spinach

Spinach is chock-full of nutrients that are essential for battling fatigue and helping our bodies perform at their peak. Not only is spinach one of the most iron-dense food sources on earth, it’s also extremely rich in magnesium and potassium and is an excellent source of energy-supporting B-vitamins.

Why : Iron plays a direct and important role in fighting fatigue. It’s a known energy booster, helping the body produce energy by delivering oxygen to the cells and enabling them to perform optimally. Without sufficient oxygen, our cells slow down and can even shut down altogether. Low iron levels can cause both physical and mental fatigue, as well as anemia. Symptoms of anemia include tiredness, lack of energy, weakness, trouble concentrating, apathy, insomnia, and loss of appetite. Spinach and other leafy greens offer a high rate of iron for an extremely low caloric intake. Spinach also happens to be an excellent source of vitamin C, which boosts iron absorption. Magnesium is another mineral that plays a vital role in the production of energy. In fact, it’s involved in hundreds of enzymatic reactions throughout the body and directly affects our cardiovascular, digestive, and nervous systems; muscles; kidneys; liver; and brain.

Magnesium is necessary for the production of energy, proper digestion, and the regulation of nerve and muscle tone. It’s no wonder that a lack of magnesium can cause our brains and bodies to slow. Unfortunately, magnesium deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the U.S. Even a slight deficiency can result in reduced energy levels, which causes your body to work harder and can lead to exhaustion. Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include imbalanced blood sugar levels, depression, muscle weakness, muscle cramps, muscle spasms, muscle soreness, body tension, low energy, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, confusion, and lack of appetite.

Like magnesium, potassium also helps muscles and nerves function properly. Physical overexertion is a common cause of potassium deficiency, but it can also occur if you become dehydrated due to illness or for any other reason. Symptoms of potassium deficiency include muscle weakness, confusion, and fatigue.

When : For the amount — and array — of nutrients packed into these leafy greens, we’d all be better off if spinach made an appearance at every meal, every day. But let’s be practical. Incorporate spinach into your diet as much as you can, as often as possible. Try steamed spinach and organic, farm-fresh eggs for breakfast; tuck spinach into your sandwich at lunch; layer it in your lasagna at dinner. You get the idea.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are nutrient-dense foods packed with high-quality protein and healthy omega-3 fats. Depending on the type you choose, you’ll also get decent amounts of manganese; magnesium; phosphorus; iron; copper; riboflavin; vitamins B1, B2, B5, and B6; and tryptophan — all of which are involved in the production of energy.

Why : Pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews, and hazelnuts are all good sources of magnesium, which helps fight muscle fatigue. The tryptophan found in sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cashews, walnuts, and almonds battles emotional fatigue and promotes sleep, which can ease physical weariness. And all nuts and seeds are excellent sources of high-quality protein that our bodies can convert into lasting energy.¬†But what makes nuts and seeds such potent weapons in the war against fatigue is that they’re a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are known as essential fats because they’re the only fats our bodies actually require. These healthy fats not only lower the glycemic index of foods but are also a superior energy source. Fats stay in the stomach longer than carbohydrates and proteins; the result is a slow-burning fuel that provides long-lasting energy. Omega-3s help maintain healthy cells and are found naturally in almost all nuts and seeds. Flaxseeds and walnuts are particularly rich in these healthy fats. Omega-3s (and frequent consumption of nuts in particular) have been found to reduce the risk of becoming obese and aid in weight loss by slowing digestion, which results in a prolonged feeling of fullness, preventing extra snacking that can lead to weight gain, a common contributor to fatigue. Finally, these essential fatty acids boost mood, helping to win the fight against emotional fatigue.

When : A daily dose of nuts is the way to go. Regular, moderate consumption is the key to reaping the health benefits of nuts and seeds. Prepack single servings to take with you during the day, and stash servings in the car as well as your desk, purse, or briefcase so you always have a healthy snack on hand. A serving is one ounce (about a small palmful).

Beans

Beans have been called a miracle food, and with good reason. Along with the numerous other health benefits they provide, beans are on the frontlines when it comes to fighting fatigue. Beans are a concentrated source of stable, slow-burning energy due to their unique nutritional composition: All types are low in fat, high in fiber, and provide a good balance of carbohydrates and protein. Take your pick of beans; they have a low glycemic rating (to help you avoid blood sugar spikes) and are loaded with a rich array of minerals including potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and iron, all essential to producing energy. Additionally, super-performing beans — especially soybeans — are a good source of tryptophan.

Why : The protein and high fiber content in beans work together to help balance blood sugar and prevent spikes and dips in energy. The fiber also promotes digestive health, encourages bowel regularity, and helps prevent constipation and weight gain. Thanks to the protein in beans, you get a gradual source of lasting energy.

Beans make a terrific replacement for red meat, another rich source of protein and iron, but beans are lower in calories and are nearly fat-free. In addition, beans place a lesser burden on the digestive system than red meat, requiring less energy to be assimilated into the body. In other words, you’re a lot more likely to feel tired and heavy after eating a steak than you are after eating a serving of beans.

The manganese and copper in beans protect the mitochondria in our cells that are responsible for energy production, while magnesium relaxes nerves and muscles and keeps blood circulating smoothly, keeping physical and mental fatigue at bay. Vitamin B1 (thiamin) contributes to energy production, and, along with potassium, supports proper muscle and nerve function. And last — but not least — there’s iron. Iron not only helps produce energy, it also boosts oxygen distribution throughout body, easing mental fatigue. Iron provides immune system support as well — and a healthy immune system makes you less susceptible to fatigue in all its forms.

When : Beans can work at any meal. Try some simple combinations for different times of day.

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