Upsides to Being a Supertaster: Your Immune System Rules

Upsides to Being a Supertaster: Your Immune System Rules

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

According to a new study, the same bitter receptors that make you hate Brussels sprouts also help prevent bacterial infections

Supertasters have another thing to feel superior about nowadays: research shows that people who are more susceptible to bitter tastes also have a better chance of avoiding common bacterial infections.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania discovered that bitter receptors in the sinus are also involved in activating the immune system, working as an "early detection system" for bacterial invaders.

People who think Brussels sprouts are bitter are more likely to be supertasters, meaning they have the responsive bitter receptor gene called TAS2R38. Unfortunately, nearly a third of people in the U.S. and in Europe lack the specific taste-receptor, meaning they're more susceptible to upper respiratory infections.

The research suggests that certain bitter compounds can be used to trigger the immune system, thus preventing bacterial infections. Researchers are looking into a bitter nasal spray and other tactics to ward off infections for those lacking the receptors. So all you non-tasters, you'll catch up eventually.

© Vanessa Schwenk

The ginger shots from the supermarkets are often a bit more concentrated than homemade ginger shots. The gentler variants can be easily prepared at home. My personal favorite shot from the supermarket is that of the brand Bangs. For traveling, these are perfect. For daily use, however, they are a bit expensive. With a ginger shot from the supermarket you can easily pay up to 5 euros.

Here's Exactly What to Eat to Boost Your Immune System During Cold & Flu Season

Blueberry almond pancakes? A papaya smoothie? Don't mind if we do!

Cold and flu season is in full swing. Cough drops? Check. Tissues and hot tea? All set. And of course you&rsquore washing your hands on the reg to avoid getting sick in the first place. But something else can help you ward off the sneezes or recover faster if you do get sick: what you eat. Certain foods support a healthy immune system thanks to specific nutrients, and when you combine them, their immunity-boosting powers get even stronger. Load up on these powerhouse picks to ward off those colds this winter!

Did you know that your gut houses an estimated 70% of your immune system? That&rsquos why it&rsquos important to feed it foods that keep it happy, like yogurt and fermented fare such as kefir, says Elizabeth Shaw, M.S., R.D.N., nutritionist and founder of ShawSimpleSwaps.com&mdashthe bacteria in these may help keep gut bugs in balance. Adding turmeric, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, may help boost your immunity further.

Try Savory Yogurt Dip:
Combine 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest plus 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 scallion (finely chopped), 1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint, 1/2 tsp ground turmeric, 1/4 tsp salt, and pinch pepper. Serve with cucumbers for dipping.

The tropical fruit is loaded with vitamin C, which functions as an antioxidant to help keep your immune system strong. Pair it with cinnamon, another antioxidant, for an extra infection-fighting punch, suggests Shaw.

Try Papaya Smoothie:I
n a blender, puree 4 cups papaya cubes (frozen), 1 banana (cut up and frozen), 11/2 cups light coconut milk, and 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon until smooth.

Oranges are touted as vitamin C superstars, but red bell peppers deserve that title because they&rsquove actually got more. &ldquoA medium one has nearly double your daily recommended value,&rdquo Shaw says. Vitamin C supports the production of white blood cells, which your immune system deploys to help fight sickness-causing intruders, and garlic can amp things up&mdashthis flavor enhancer has long been used in naturopathic medicine to help fight infection.

Try Garlic-Marinated Peppers:
Quarter 2 large red bell peppers lengthwise and discard seeds. Arrange, skin side up, on a baking sheet and broil until blistered and blackened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and let sit 5 minutes, then use a paper towel to remove skins. In another bowl, whisk together 1 Tbsp each sherry vinegar and olive oil, 1 garlic clove (pressed), and ½ tsp each salt and pepper. Cut red peppers into pieces and toss with vinaigrette let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Berries in the produce aisle are cultivated, not wild (and winter isn&rsquot their season), so head to the freezer for the wild kind, says Shaw. (Try Wyman's of Maine) All blueberries are antioxidant-rich, but wild ones are higher in anthocyanins, the antioxidants that give them their pretty blue hue. Pair them with almonds, another potent antioxidant, for double the boost.

Try Almond Blueberry Pancakes:
In a blender, puree 3/4 cup almond milk, 1/4 cup almond butter, 1 banana, and 1 cup just-add-water pancake mix. Fold in ½ cup wild blueberries. Heat a nonstick skillet on medium-low. In batches, cook spoonfuls until bubbling around edges and golden brown on bottom, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook 2 minutes more. Transfer to a cooling rack and repeat.

It&rsquos time we gave kale&rsquos equally nutritious cousin some love. These dark leafy greens have a peppery taste and are packed with antioxidants. Pair them with whole grains, which research suggests may support a healthy gut and immune system.

Try Mustard Greens Grilled Cheese:
Spread 1 tsp Dijon mustard on 2 slices whole-grain sourdough bread. Layer ¾ cup chopped mustard greens and 1 oz grated Gruyère on 1 slice, then top with the other, mustard side down. Place in a large skillet coated with cooking spray and cook until it&rsquos golden and crisp, cheese melts, and greens wilt (about 4 minutes on each side).

Studies suggest that pomegranate juice has antioxidant power stronger than that of green tea or red wine, and if you eat the arils (we love POM Wonderful) you get a dose of gut-happy fiber. Don't let cauliflower's bland look fool you&mdashit's actually super high in vitamin C.

Try Cauliflower Pomegranate Arugula Salad:
In a large bowl, whisk together 2 Tbsp each cider vinegar and olive oil stir in ¼ cup each golden raisins and roasted chopped almonds and 2 scallions (thinly sliced). On a rimmed baking sheet, toss 1 head cauliflower (quartered and sliced ¼ in. thick) with 2 Tbsp oil and ½ tsp each salt and pepper roast at 425°F for 25 minutes. Transfer to bowl with dressing and toss to coat. Fold in 2 cups baby arugula and 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds.

With a mild licorice-like taste, this veggie delivers a dose of immune-supporting vitamin C&mdashdouble your dose by pairing with pears.

Try Roasted Fennel and Pears:
On a rimmed baking sheet, toss 2 medium red onions, 2 Bartlett pears, and 2 fennel stalks (all cut into 1-in. wedges) with 2 Tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Roast at 400°F, stirring once, until golden brown and tender, 35 to 45 minutes.

Can Being Too Clean Weaken Your Immune System?

In the quest to avoid the 2019 novel coronavirus, we’re going through bottles of soap and tubs of disinfectant wipes faster than some stores can restock them.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Along the way, there’s been some speculation on social media that all the hand-washing and disinfecting we’re doing in the name of keeping coronavirus away could be weakening our immune systems.

Are there really downfalls to being squeaky clean?

Allergist and immunologist James Fernandez, MD, PhD, says there’s no scientific evidence to suggest that temporarily stepping up your cleaning game is dangerous to your immune health.

“For adults, in this time frame we’re talking about and the hygiene measures that we’re taking, I don’t think there’s a lot of clinical risk to our immune system,” he says.

The hygiene hypothesis

The belief that a lot of cleaning and hand-washing weakens your immune system was probably born out of something called the hygiene hypothesis. This is the idea that kids who are exposed to more viruses, bacteria and other pathogens early in life build stronger immune systems.

“This idea comes from observations that some developing countries where kids might be exposed to more pathogens tend to have lower rates of certain diseases such as allergies and asthma,” Dr. Fernandez notes.

But there’s still debate around this hypothesis – and how much of a role personal hygiene plays. “Theoretically it makes sense, but there isn’t a lot of strong science behind it,” Dr. Fernandez notes.

It’s also not meant to be interpreted as a sweeping generalization that more germs and less cleanliness is better.

Studies have repeatedly shown that keeping your hands clean is one of the best tools we have for reducing the spread of dangerous infectious diseases.

There are also many other factors that can affect your immune health that aren’t related to hygiene.

So here’s the big takeaway: There’s no evidence that a short-term boost in hand-washing and cleaning will reduce your body’s immune function.


To reduce the spread of the coronavirus and other infectious diseases, the CDC recommends washing your hands with soap and water after you’ve been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If you need to wash your hands but soap and water aren’t available, use a hand sanitizer made with at least 60% alcohol.

Washing and sanitizing your hands a lot can leave your skin dry or cracked, so you might want to add a good moisturizing lotion to your hand-washing routine.

The CDC also recommends regularly cleaning frequently touched surfaces in your household, including doorknobs, light switches, counter tops and faucets.

Proactively protect your immune health

Hygiene aside, there are many factors that play into how well-equipped your immune system is to fight infections. Some of those things are out of your control, such as age and genetics. But there are several things you can do to keep your defenses strong, including:

  • Find ways to cope with stress. Stress causes your body to make a hormone called cortisol. Over time, cortisol can lead to inflammation and reduce your body’s ability to fight of infections.
  • Fuel-up smartly. A well-rounded diet with ample amounts of fiber and healthy fats help keep inflammation at bay.
  • Keep moving. Regular exercise helps keep your immune system running smoothly.
  • Get your Zzzs. The average adult needs about seven to nine hours of sleep a night.
  • Avoid harmful substances. Smoking and excessive drinking can weaken your immune system.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

If You Don’t Get Sick After Your COVID-19 Vaccination, Does It Mean Your Immune System Isn’t Working?

Q: According to the CDC, common side effects of COVID-19 vaccinations include fever, chills, tiredness and headache, in addition to pain or swelling in the arm where the shot was administered. Some say these side effects are good because they prove that your immune system is working. But if you don’t experience any symptoms, does that mean the vaccine, or your immune system, isn’t working?

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

A: Everyone’s hearing about side effects with the COVID-19 vaccines, especially the second dose of Moderna’s and Pfizer’s vaccines. So, people are worried.

But when you actually look at the statistics from the trials, most people didn’t have side effects. A little over 50% didn’t experience any side effects at all and remember, they were still 94% protected after receiving the vaccine. So, you don’t need to worry if you don’t have any symptoms after your COVID-19 vaccinations.

Another thing that helps is knowing what’s going on in your body after you get the vaccine. When you get the messenger RNA vaccine, little lipid droplets that have mRNA in them get essentially taken up by cells in your arm muscle. The cells start making a spike protein, so your body thinks your muscle cells are massively infected with the coronavirus. Because of this, your body will try to fight off the simulated infection in the cells. That’s what causes some of the inflammation that people experience.

Then, those cells that have replicated the COVID-19 spike protein (RNA) get overtaken by immune cells that can communicate with the cells that make antibodies.

Through this exchange, antibodies specific for SARS-CoV2 are generated. This process takes place in your adaptive immune system. Your innate immune system is the one that locates an infection and attacks it. That’s what can cause sore arms, fevers or muscle aches — your innate immune system going kind of crazy.

Vaccines are so valuable because they help correct that imbalance during an actual infection. So people who have trouble making antibodies quickly enough can make them more effectively after getting the vaccine.

With so many people getting vaccinated, the medical community is very interested in why some people experience all the symptoms while others don’t. They’re still in the process of sorting this all out. Right now, we don’t understand it. But we do know that the two main vaccines that have been approved for emergency use are effective whether or not you’ve developed side effects — and you don’t have to feel terrible to prove that you’re protected from COVID-19.

Thaddeus Stappenbeck, MD, PhD, Chairman of the Department of Inflammation and Immunity at Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute.

Foodie Tuesday: The Daily Grind Need Not Grind Us Down

When I did a bit of checking on it, the name of my variant of Shepherd’s Pie seemed to be, by rights, ‘Pastel de Carne y Patatas’–but you know me, I can’t stick to proprieties very well. So I named it the more mellifluous sounding ‘Pastel al Pastor’, thinking as I do that shepherds get very short shrift in this day and age and can use a little flattering attention. What the dish is calls for it anyway, for it’s a rustic Mexican-tinged take on the comfort-food standard Shepherd’s Pie. In any event, like many longtime popular recipes, it got its start partly by using ground or minced meat, a hallmark of well-fed poor people’s diets since the cheaper cuts of most meats can become tenderer and allow much more expansive fillers and the disguise of plenteous seasonings in order to be palatable while still being relatively affordable.

Rustic and comforting it may be, but the simplicity of the end result in this recipe belies the multifaceted process by which it’s made. Don’t let that put you off, though, because it can be made in large quantities and frozen in smaller batches between times, so it can easily become a quick-fix dish after the first preparation. Shepherd’s Pie, in the vernacular, derives from the longtime concept of Cottage Pie, which in turn originated when cooks began more widely using potatoes to stretch those more expensive ingredients of the meal, the meats. Typically, these pies (and there are versions of them in an enormous number of countries, cultures and cuisines) are simply meat dishes, often made with the ‘lesser’ cuts or a mixture of leftover meats, with a potato crust. Probably the most familiar of them here in the US is the minced meat (and often, vegetable) mixture topped with mashed potatoes that is served in many a British pub and home kitchen and that we co-opted in our own American ways.

Mine, on this occasion, was to veer as I often do toward Mexican seasonings and enjoy my own little twist on the dish.Pastel al Pastor

Seasoned minced or ground meats, topped with vegetables and mushrooms and gravy and served over smashed potatoes make altogether a hearty and countrified dish, not at all difficult to make but taking a little bit of time because of its individual parts. I make this in a generously buttered baking dish both because it’s easier to clean afterward and because–you guessed it–I love butter.

The bottom layer of the dish is made by frying a mixture of equal parts ground beef, pork and lamb, seasoned freely with salt, black and cayenne peppers, chili powder, smoked paprika and lots of cumin. Those without supertaster spouses will likely want to add some garlic powder as well, though it’s not essential. A splash of rich chicken broth or a spoonful of good chicken bouillon adds a nice layer of flavor, if you have it. Next, add a heaping spoonful of tomato paste and enough good salsa to make the meat mixture very slightly saucy, and just as the meats begin to caramelize, you’re done. [My go-to, if I’m not making my salsa by hand, is Pace’s mild Chunky Salsa with a prepared chipotle en adobo blended in thoroughly–I see on their web page that they’re reintroducing their chipotle salsa, so that’s probably fine too.] Drain the fat from the meat mixture and spread it in the bottom of your baking dish.

While the meat’s cooking, you can be preparing the vegetable-mushroom layer. I mixed about equal amounts of small cut carrots, sliced celery and sliced brown mushrooms, covered them with some of my ubiquitous chicken broth and cooked them until tender. Then I pureed half of them with a stick blender, adding a heaping tablespoon each of chipotle en adobo (that’s about a half a pepper), unflavored gelatin and potato flour for flavor and texture, mixed that with the remaining vegetables, and poured it all over the meat. I topped this with a cup or so of frozen sweet kernel corn and got ready for Potato Happiness.

Today’s version of this meal, Ladies and Gentlemen, was potato-fied with leftovers. I had half a baked potato and about a cupful of good french fries in the fridge, and they worked wonderfully when warmed with some cream and a touch of salt and smashed roughly. It would have been just fine to do the typical Shepherd’s Pie treatment of spreading the potatoes over the meat-and-veg before heating the dish through in the oven, but since this was all concocted of things I had around (taco meat I’d made and frozen, salad vegetables and leftover potatoes), on this occasion we just put nice heaps of mash on our plates and spooned the rest over them like meat-and-vegetable gravy.

For the more normal approach, I’d roast, boil or bake potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and combine with cream for the mash and then top the casserole, possibly adding some nice cheese either on top before browning it in the oven (a mix of shredded cheddar and Monterey jack, for example) or as a fine garnish, a serving-time crumble (cotija on top, anyone?). But ‘normal’ is overrated, and the dish was mighty, mighty tasty even deconstructed in this way. And it’s still flexible–yes, even a dish concocted of multiple leftovers has variety left in it, my friends. Add some peas (so many tasty cottage pies have peas in them), cauliflower, green beans, or any number of other vegetables. Make it spicier. Soup it up into a stew, with potato pieces incorporated. Change the seasonings to Indian and make it a post-Colonial curried version. You get the drift.

Thing is, of course, that this is precisely how the dish was conceived: as a loose general structure into which any number of variables could successfully be introduced, depending upon what was on hand. Save time, save labor, save money. Eat delicious potatoes and whatever flavorful wonders you can afford and imagine to combine under them.

Well, get along with you now, you know how it works. And you can be pretty sure that it’s going to taste good. That’s how folklore ‘recipes’ survive–on flexibility and reliability. Oh, yeah, and great fillers.

Even chicken, which sometimes gets short shrift when it comes to minced meat dishes because it’s left too unseasoned or cooked in ways that make it too dry, can make lovely ground meat dishes with a little effort. In the latest instance, I chose to precook mine in a sort of meat loaf sous vide, keeping the juices and additions in and on it until it was fully plate-safe, but this could easily be chilled in its loaf form, sliced and pan-fried without the intervening hot bath, I’m sure. And a food processor makes the loaf prep a snap, but it can be done with a knife and a pair of hands for mixing, too. In any event, I veered more toward Italy this time with my glorified chicken meatloaf concoction.Cotolette di Pollo e Pancetta

[About 6 servings.] Mince and mix together the following and shape into a compact loaf: 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (dark meat stays moister), 3 ounces pancetta, 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon thyme, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1/8 teaspoon powdered lemon peel, 2 eggs, 4 tablespoons cold butter and 1/2 teaspoon minced dried shallot. Wrap and chill the loaf until ready to fry it, or do as I did: vacuum pack it, cook it sous vide like a confit (low and slow–I let it go overnight), and then refrigerate until ready to use.

When it’s time to fix the meal, cut the loaf into slices about 1/4 inch thick and fry them over medium heat until lightly browned. With a well seasoned iron skillet or a nonstick pan, the butter in the loaf is quite sufficient to keep the slices from sticking, and they get a nice little lightly crispy crust outside their tender middles. I served mine with slices of fried cheese (any slow-melting mild cheese would do for this after-the-fact application, or you can top the meat slices with faster-melting sorts like mozzarella or provolone as the meat cooks) and a simple sauce cooked down from jarred passata (simple tomato puree–I like the Mutti brand passata I used, pure tomatoes with a little salt) mixed with the loaf’s excess juices, salt and pepper and oregano to taste. On the side, little ramekins of rice and buttered green beans are plenty, though of course there’s always room for invention on the plate. The whole assembly, since I’d put up both cooked rice and the confited loaf in the refrigerator beforehand, took not more than fifteen or twenty minutes to prepare.

¡Buen provecho! Buon appetito! Now, stop mincing around and get eating!

In this episode you’ll discover:

  • What reflex tears are, and why cutting onions activates them.
  • The specific enzymes in onions that irritate the eyes.
  • What quercetin is, and why you should incorporate it in your diet.
  • The importance of consuming prebiotics.
  • What PYY is, and the role it plays in appetite regulation.
  • The roles and responsibilities of the hormone GLP-1.
  • How asparagus consumption can help reduce inflammation.
  • Why some people don’t like vegetables.
  • What percentage of the population are supertasters.
  • The definition of fungiform papillae.
  • How nutrient deficiencies can impact your sense of taste.
  • Simple, realistic ways to add more vegetables into your diet.
  • How changing your palate actually works.
  • What the main compound is in spicy foods.
  • Why eating spicy food can stimulate your endorphins.
  • How capsaicin can shift your body fat ratio.
  • What bromelain is, and how it can affect the immune system.
  • The definition of post-ingestive feedback.
  • How cravings have evolved over time.
  • What it means to heal your palate while still enjoying foods you love.

What Are Liquid Diets?

Smoothies are a healthy and delicious breakfast option. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

As their name implies, a liquid diet consists of eliminating solid foods from your diet for a limited period, typically between 1 and 3 days, although some people stretch liquid diets to a week or more. Instead of the solid foods that most of us eat every day, those foods are instead replaced by liquids, juices, vegetables , and meat-based broths. Some people choose to go on liquid diets for personal reasons (e.g., health and wellness), while others may go on a liquid diet due to an upcoming surgery or procedure. Specific restrictions on food and activity may be different based on your reason for going on the diet, so consulting with your doctor is highly recommended. [1]

Candida Recipe Tips

In this section, we’ve put together a fantastic range of easy (and delicious!) recipes that are ALL compatible with the anti-Candida diet.


It’s the most important meal of the day, so it should be good! A wholesome breakfast should comprise of healthy fats, protein and vegetables – such as this Avocado Baked Eggs with Vegetable Hash. These nutrients are essential for supporting hormonal signalling and improving your energy and mood.

When you wake up in the morning, your cortisol levels should be at their highest. Cortisol is a stress hormone – but it’s necessary for waking you up and keeping you alert. Eating on a regular schedule is important for keeping cortisol levels consistent and supporting early-morning energy levels.


Lunch on the Candida diet should be as nutritionally balanced and enjoyable as any meal. An easy way to help build a balanced lunch is to include the major nutrients: protein and fiber. This Asian Chicken and Cabbage Salad is perfect!

Fiber isn’t just necessary for keeping you regular, it keeps your blood sugar levels steady and even lowers cholesterol levels. That’s why naturopaths and registered dietitians recommend getting in at least five grams of fiber at each meal. Fiber keeps you satisfied throughout the rest of the day, so you don’t suffer the ‘3pm slump’ that has you reaching for the chocolate biscuits!

These fantastic lunches contain plenty of both fiber and protein to help keep you full and fueled all afternoon. And they’re so delicious, you’ll be looking forward to lunch break every day!


Dinner can be tricky. Overeating – or eating the wrong kinds of food – can upset your sleep, while a dinner that doesn’t satisfy can lead to reaching for a sugary late-night snack!

An ideal dinner features a balance of vegetables, protein, fiber and healthy fat. Nourishing dinner ideas like this Curried Chicken Bowl are bound to make you popular at home!


There’s no harm in snacking between meals – if you do it right. Healthy snacks like this Mediterranean Zucchini Dip will tide you over to your next meal without upsetting your anti-Candida protocol.


Who said desserts were off-limits? Not us!

It’s natural to crave a sweet treat every now and then. The trick is to satisfy that craving without giving in to sugar. Fortunately, there are lots of natural sweeteners that contain zero sugar and don’t affect your blood sugar, such as stevia, xylitol, and monk fruit extract.

Fabulous desserts like Coconut Ginger Clouds use these sweeteners along with nutritious foods like coconut, avocado and healthy flours that won’t ruin your good work.


Alcohol may be out of the picture, but healthy drinks are very much encouraged. Juicing can be an excellent way to supplement your body with lots of nutrients all at once, and smoothies are an easy and delicious way to eat on the go. These drinks recipes make the most of antifungal ingredients and still taste amazing – even this sugar-free eggnog!

35 things to buy if you're stuck at home thanks to coronavirus (besides toilet paper)

If you do feel like you're developing symptoms of COVID-19 and are immunocompromised, contact your doctor immediately or reach out to a medical professional through a telemedicine service. Early symptoms include fever, a dry cough or shortness of breath. Difficulty breathing, chest pain, confusion and bluish lips or face are emergency warning signs, so if these happen to you or you notice them in someone else, seek emergency help. Make sure to call the medical center you're going to before you arrive -- they may have special precautions in place to prevent the spread of the virus.

Finally, as long as you're feeling healthy you should make a plan for what to do in case of illness. Check in with your healthcare provider -- they'll be able to alert you to any specific symptoms you should be looking out for, depending on any chronic conditions you have. Stay in touch with any neighbors and family members via regular email or phone calls, and have a designated person that you know can help you if you start feeling ill. If you do have a regular caregiver, it's still a good idea to keep in contact with other people, in case your caregiver gets sick, too.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

Watch the video: Are You a Supertaster? (August 2022).