“Sho, sho sho!” yelled Annie as she raced over to the orange trees waving a towel. The woodpeckers were feasting on an upcoming harvest again. After picking the damaged fruit, she dumped them in the compost heap and stomped into the house.

LJ handed her a glass of water, “drink this before you say anything.”

She quickly drank and refilled her glass, “Thanks, sweetheart. I needed that. I don’t mind woodpeckers, but they are destroying our fruit by drilling holes in them. Now our donation to the food bank is getting drilled.” She shook her head in frustration. “You know Mother Earth helps us by making many fruits and veggies loaded with vitamin C, which increases the production of white blood cells and other antioxidants ready for harvest during late fall and early winter. Just in time to help ward off colds, and flu, especially the ones that proliferate during the coldest season, and now the woodpeckers are ruining it.”

“I will figure out the answer to the birds, Annie, and you’re right. Since our bodies don’t produce or store vitamin C, we need daily outside sources to stay healthy. But there are other foods we are growing that provide immune system support.  Look at the spinach we planted in late summer, and it is chock full of powerful antioxidants that support immune system function and the added benefit of skin protection, so vital during winter months.  Red Bell Peppers are another source of vitamin C and beta-carotene as well. Red bells have a higher content of vitamins and minerals than green bells because they mature on the plant longer.”

“Broccoli, kiwi, and this papaya I’m slicing for lunch are also excellent vitamin C producing foods that are abundant at this time of year,” said Annie. “The “Fruit of the Angels” is loaded with 235 milligrams of vitamin C, which is 2-3 times the recommended daily allowance.  Papaya is also a great source of vitamin A, potassium, and calcium, good for immune system health. I include watermelon in the salad for the same reason. Watermelon season ends in late September, so now the ones in the store are coming from Central America. Watermelon has a substantial amount of vitamins C & A, along with lycopene and cucurbitacin E, antioxidants that fight free radicals. Oh, and watermelon has a high-water content, which helps with hydration, which is important even in winter.”

LJ nodded as he filled the tea kettle with water, “drinking green tea is a great fluid that helps protect your immune system, and it’s always in season. When you feel a cold or flu coming on staying hydrated is very important since it boosts the body’s ability to fight viruses. Green tea is also a great source of vitamins that provide immune system support. It contains Catechins, a polyphenol that fights inflammation.”

Annie topped the fruit salad with a dollop of yogurt, “Greek yogurt unlike other yogurts has probiotics that contain live active cultures which help ward of cold and flu symptoms, not to mention probiotics are good for the digestive system. Greek yogurt also has healthy doses of vitamins B2,12, magnesium, and potassium that provide immune system support. And yogurt contains zinc, known to help reduce cold and flu duration.”

“Sounds like we have a healthy game plan to help get us through cold and flu season,” said LJ. “It will give us peace of mind, but it is important to know while vitamin C can help with colds and flu there has been no confirmed research that shows vitamin Cs  usefulness against COVID19, only vaccination is effective.”


Annie and LJ are a fictional couple, and their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.



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