Nutritious White Vegetables

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No doubt you have heard that foods with the most vibrant colors are the ones that are healthiest for you. While this is certainly true to an extent—dark green leafy lettuce contains high concentrations of Vitamin K and other nutrients compared to iceberg lettuce, the underdog of salad greens—some of our dullest-colored fruits and vegetables are commonly misunderstood as nutritionally bereft.

White Cabbage

White cabbage happens to be one of the most nutritious foods for you, packed with Vitamins A, B, C and K, and even calcium, iron and fiber. “Cabbage increases glutathione, the most important antioxidant for neutralizing the free radicals in the liver,” said Sprouts/Sunflower Nutritionist Janet Little.

Celery

The oft-overlooked celery, with its greenish pallor, has some calcium and protein in addition to Vitamins A, C and K. It is pretty low in calories, to boot! In fact, it is sometimes said that you can burn more calories eating celery than you take in from consuming it.

White Beans

White beans have as much protein and fiber as red or pink pinto beans. “White beans help to reduce cholesterol and reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes,” said Little. “Also, the common white bean produces an alpha-amylase inhibitor, which has been characterized and tested in numerous clinical studies to slow the absorption of carbohydrates that can turn into fat.”

Turnips

Don’t turn your back on turnips! The fresh white root of a turnip is a great source of vitamin C, while the leafy tops are rich in lutein, folate, calcium and vitamins.

Garlic

Four heads of garlic Garlic has long been touted as a health booster. The odoriferous white bulb has been shown to protect against various cancers, including breast, prostate and colon cancer. Among other vitamins and minerals, it contains vitamin C, zinc and selenium, and has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. To get the most health benefits from garlic, avoid the powder varieties and slice, chop, mince or press fresh cloves.

White Onion 

The most versatile alabaster veggie, the white onion, provides more fiber (1.5 grams per half cup) and more iron (2 percent of the daily value) than its colorful counterpart, the red onion. “Studies have also shown that onions contain several anti-inflammatory compounds and may be of special benefit to menopausal women who are experiencing loss of bone density,” Little said.

Cauliflower

Perhaps the palest produce of them all, white cauliflower, is a dense nugget of antioxidant power. Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, along with broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage and bok choy. They all contain phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals and fibers that are important to your health. Looking for a new spin on cauliflower? Try this silky soup recipe.

White Corn

Did you know corn started out white when the very first varieties appeared in present-day Mexico thousands of years ago? Then along came a genetic mutation and yellow corn became an evolutionary off-shoot of white corn. Corn kernels acquired chemicals called carotenoids, giving it a yellow color and healthful dose of vitamin A. So yes, yellow corn is a little bit more nutritious than white corn in that respect. Still, white corn is low in saturated fat and very low in cholesterol and sodium. It is also a good source of fiber, vitamin C, thiamin, folate, magnesium and phosphorus.

White Mushrooms

White mushrooms have long been celebrated as a source of powerful nutrients that play an important role in keeping the immune system healthy. White button mushrooms represent 90 percent of the total mushrooms consumed in the United States, according to a study conducted at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University. “The results suggest that white button mushrooms may promote immune function by increasing production of antiviral and other proteins that are released by cells while seeking to protect and repair tissue,” said Little. Of course, health goes out the window when you deep-fry these veggies or slather them with butter, sour cream or fondue cheese. The list goes on, but the point is clear (or shall we say colorless?): don’t judge a piece of produce by its color alone. From a previous issue of Sprouts Farmers Market’s monthly e-newsletter. Hungry for more news? Sign up.  

Non-dairy Alternatives

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For years, soy milk was the go-to alternative to dairy milk. These days you can find a great diversity of milks made from sources ranging from nuts, to rice and hemp. But what do these milk alternatives really taste like? We were curious, and decided to hold a tasting party (staff meeting) and invited the most discerning of palates (the entire Sprouts marketing department). We swished, sniffed and sipped seven unique “milks,” noting what we liked best and what we would consider doing with each. Glass of milk There are many reasons that you might seek a milk alternative. Perhaps you are lactose intolerant or vegan. You might be looking to add a unique flavor to a recipe. Or maybe you are just curious about all the different options. The task of choosing the right dairy substitute can be daunting: the shelves are filled with choices, and many are made from surprising sources. So we commandeered a recent staff meeting to help you discover some “udderly” different milk choices. We kept things simple by sampling only shelf-stable products in plain or original flavors from a variety of different brands. Participants were asked to consider taste, color, consistency and versatility. We found the experience enlightening and some participants even discovered a new favorite beverage.

Almond Milk

Brand: Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Original Calories per 1 cup serving: 60 Taste: Strong almond taste, lightly sweet notes Appearance: Pale tan color, thin consistency Nutrients: Antioxidants, vitamin E, calcium We’d use it in: Smoothies, baking, cooking Other flavors: Unsweetened, Vanilla, Chocolate Most colorful reviewer comment: “You have to have really small hands to milk an almond.”

Coconut Milk

Brand: So Delicious Sugar-Free Original Calories per 1 cup serving: 45 Taste: Mild coconut flavor with a faint hint of sweetness Appearance: Thickest of all the options we tried; white in color; looks like whole milk Nutrients: Calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12 We’d use it in: Smoothies, cooking, coffee Other flavors: Chocolate, Sugar-Free Original, Vanilla, Sugar-Free Vanilla Most colorful reviewer comment: “Not half bad, but I’m not sure I’d shimmy up a palm tree for it.”

Hazelnut Milk

Brand: Pacific Natural Foods Original Calories per 1 cup serving: 110 Taste: Sweet and nutty with a very rich hazelnut flavor; one of the favorites among the group Appearance: Dark tan in color, thin consistency Nutrients: Calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin (vitamin B2) We’d use it in: Cooking, baking: the rich taste will lend great flavor to whole-grain and/or high-fiber cereals, especially unsweetened ones Other flavors: Chocolate Most colorful reviewer comment: “Liked it a lot, but I kind of wanted it to taste like Nutella. I wonder if the chocolate flavor does. Can we sample that next?”

Hemp Milk

Brand: Living Harvest Tempt Original Calories per 1 cup serving: 100 Taste: Earthy with mild grassy notes Appearance: Tannish-yellow color, thin consistency Nutrients: Calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron, omega-3 fatty acids We’d use it in: Cereal Other flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla Most colorful reviewer comment: “Whoa!”

Oat Milk

Brand: Pacific Natural Foods Low-Fat Original Calories per 1 cup serving: 130 Taste: Very reminiscent of a bowl of oatmeal, sweet with a vague hint of cinnamon; a favorite among the tasters Appearance: Medium tan in color, thin consistency Nutrients: Calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin (vitamin B2) We’d use it in: Baking, cooking, cereal, to dunk cookies in (especially oatmeal cookies) and even drink on its own Other flavors: Low-Fat Vanilla Most colorful reviewer comment: “Wasn’t expecting to enjoy this, but it was like sipping the liquid out of the bottom of a bowl of oatmeal. Only smoother.”

Rice Milk Drink

Brand: Rice Dream Original Enriched Calories per 1 cup serving: 120 Taste: Very mild in taste, neutral flavor; reminded tasters of skim milk Appearance: Opaque white, looks like non-fat milk; thin in consistency Nutrients: Enriched with Vitamins A, D, B12 and calcium We’d use it in: Cereal, coffee, smoothies, cooking Other flavors: Chocolate Enriched, Vanilla Enriched Most colorful reviewer comment: “If you put some sugar and cinnamon in this it would taste just like the horchata my nana used to make.”

Soy Milk

Brand: West Soy Low-Fat Plain Calories per 1 cup serving: 90 Taste: Neutral and versatile flavor; not at all sweet Appearance: Tan in color; looks like iced coffee with cream; thin in consistency Nutrients: Calcium and vitamin D We’d use it in: Cereal, coffee, smoothies Other flavors: Low-Fat Vanilla Most colorful reviewer comment: “The color on this was darker than the others so I thought it might taste like milk with a drop of soy sauce in it. But it was surprisingly mild.”    

Natural Tips for Your Lips

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Greens, avocado, chapstick, bottled water and berries on wood tableJust like your skin, your lips also need protection from the harsh elements. However, your lips do not have sweat glands to keep them moist and the skin is very thin, making them more susceptible to drying and cracking. Follow these five simple tips and keep your lips looking young, moist, beautiful and healthy too!
  1. Stay Hydrated. Water is the key to keeping your lips healthy and beautiful. Drinking 6–8 glasses of water per day will help keep the cells in your lips plump and moist. Once your lips become dry, they can crack and cause pain.
  2. Eat Healthy. A healthy diet is good for the whole body, including the lips. Foods like avocados, berries and leafy greens are rich in vitamin A, C and E which provide nutrients that improve the health and color of your lips.
  3. Use Natural Lip Balms. Avoid petroleum-based chapsticks and balms. Petroleum goes by many names—mineral oil, paraffin and petrolatum—and ironically, actually dehydrates your lips by restricting the “cells natural ability” to breathe and moisturize. Choose natural-based balms that contain beeswax, olive, coconut or jojoba oil to keep lips moist.
  4. Apply SPF. Give your lips the extra protection they need while out in the sun. Your lips can get sunburned, just like your skin. Blisters can form and cause a lot of pain. Avoid damage to your lips and look for a lip balm that contains sunscreen agents and antioxidants.
  5. Don’t Lick. Constantly licking your lips will leave them dry and chapped. Saliva contains digestive enzymes that breakdown the lips’ thin skin, leaving them vulnerable to exposure from the environment. Applying a natural balm will help keep your lips soft and younger-looking.
Just one easy swipe of lip balm can give your lips the protection they need to stay healthy. Moist lips can help reduce fine lines surrounding the mouth, which can take years off your appearance.  

Why Buy Grass-fed Meat and Dairy

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Farmhouse in grass field When you see a grass-fed label on your meat and dairy products, you can be sure that the animals were pasture/range raised and fed a diet of 100% forage. Since the animals roam on green pastures, they graze on protein-rich grasses rather than grains. This helps enhance the taste and nutritional value.

Benefits of Eating Grass-fed Beef

It’s no surprise that a diet rich in greens makes for better health benefits! When compared to grain-fed meats, grass-fed products have the following characteristics:*
  • Lower in total fat
  • Higher in beta-carotene
  • Higher in vitamin E
  • Higher in B vitamins (thiamin and riboflavin)
  • Higher in minerals (calcium, magnesium and potassium)
  • Higher in total omega-3s

Benefits of Grass-fed Dairy

While grass-fed dairy contains the same amounts of protein, calcium and vitamin D that conventionally farmed dairy does, it also has a couple of advantages over its grain-fed counterpart:**
  • Higher in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
  • Higher in total omega-3s

Find It at Sprouts

Roam over to The Butcher Shop at Sprouts and check out our grass-fed options (dependent on location). Taste the difference and enjoy the clean, earthy flavor of our grass-fed beef! Don’t stop there, check out our grass-fed dairy options, like yogurt and milk, as well.   *Source: Environmental Working Group **Source: American Diary Association  

Matcha Now

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Hundreds of years ago, matcha was only enjoyed by Buddhist monks, who served it during long and elaborate ceremonies to heighten their focus and clarity of thought. That was matcha then. This is Matcha NOW™.

What Are the Benefits?

Matcha offers all the health benefits of green tea with ten times the strength. When you drink Matcha NOW™, you’ll enjoy:
  • More energy
  • Better focus
  • Calm, relaxed feelings
  • Rich antioxidants
  • Natural detox
They use only premium ceremonial-grade matcha in every bottle, the highest grade matcha powder, to give you the best taste and the strongest benefits. Matcha NOW™ also sources their matcha straight from organic farms in Kagoshima, Japan, home of some of the world’s best matcha.

Why Choose Matcha NOW™?

Most companies infuse their matcha directly into the water before bottling it. However, when matcha is exposed to oxygen, it quickly turns brown and stale, creating an unpleasant experience. Matcha NOW™ has solved this problem with our Matcha Cap. Storing the matcha in the cap preserves the taste and health benefits until you’re ready to drink it, giving you the best matcha experience anytime, anywhere. Why settle for subpar matcha? Pick up a pack of Matcha NOW™, and discover the next level of matcha drinks—right now!

Video description: Matcha NOW™ offers you fresh, pure matcha whenever you want it.

 

Healthy Packed Lunches

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Almost half of U.S. schoolchildren bring their lunch to school. We’ve gathered some easy tips for kids lunches that show handy and healthy swaps, as well as how to make sure there is a balance of proteins, carbs, fresh fruits, veggies and low-fat dairy—so your kiddos stay well-fueled, all day long.

Video Description: Pack healthy, to-go lunches with fresh snacks and a bento box.

Healthy & Wise: More Ideas for School Lunches

Packing a healthy and appealing lunch that kids will enjoy is a no-brainer. Simple planning is all that’s required. Choose foods that are well-balanced energy sources—complex carbohydrates, protein for kids, fruits and vegetables plus low-fat milk, just to name a few. Packing water to drink instead of juice or sugar-sweetened beverages helps to hydrate without added sugar.

Kid’s Lunches: Assembly Required

Pre-packaged lunches are popular with kids because they provide control-style lunches. Here are some fun and healthy “lunchable” ideas:
  • Assemble Your Own Pizza: Whole-wheat pita bread triangles, turkey pepperoni, cheese and a sauce for dipping.
  • Sandwich Assembly: Whole-wheat bread, lean deli meat, lettuce, cheese and a spread—avocado, hummus, or pesto makes a great spread.
  • Yogurt and Granola Mix: Granola (Sprouts has a wide selection of great tasting granola), dried fruit, yogurt, fresh fruit and some nuts.
  • Snack Attack: Baby carrots, snow peas, small sweet peppers, grapes, sliced cheese, multi-grain crackers and almond butter.

Switch This for That

Exchange processed and high-sodium foods for healthier alternatives—your kids won’t know the difference.
  • Replace processed lunchmeats with pre-cooked rotisserie chicken.
  • Replace fried potato chips with baked kale chips.
  • Replace cookies with whole-wheat pretzels.
  • Replace desserts with fresh whole fruit.
  • Replace crackers with fresh, sliced veggies.
 

How to Pick a Pepper

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With all of their bold heat, you might find it surprising that chile peppers are pretty versatile. Added whole to simmering soups and sauces, they can lend a flavor profile that will deliver delicious warmth to the palate. Their hollow bodies make the perfect vessel in which to stuff cheese for an ooey-gooey taste of Mexico. Chile relleno, anyone? Chiles are essential to salsas and add body to many savory dishes.
  • Great stuffed, grilled, sautéed, on salad or right out of the bag
  • Adds texture, bright color and sweet flavor to any dish
  • Crunchy, juicy and delicious
  • Naturally fat-free, loaded with vitamin C and a good source of fiber
Peppers are native to Asia and the Western Hemisphere and have been cultivated for thousands of years, but it wasn’t until Christopher Columbus brought the pepper back from his first voyage to America that Europe started enjoying this sometimes sweet, sometimes hot treat. Chile peppers are found in cuisines throughout the world. They are a popular ingredient in Asian, Latin and Caribbean cooking.

Hot Shots

Peppers generally fall into two flavor categories: sweet and hot. Heat levels of both mild and hot peppers are rated in Scoville units, a method developed by Wilbur Scoville in 1912. In the old days, human tasters were subjected to sampling the peppers to rate them. Today a process known as HPLC or high-performance liquid chromatography is used to measure the amount of capsaicin in parts per million. The capsaicin is what gives peppers their heat.

Bells

Bell peppers come in a rainbow of colors and account for more than 60 percent of the domestic pepper crop. Although all bell peppers are green when immature, most turn red, yellow, orange, purple or brown as they ripen. Colored bell peppers are usually sweeter than their immature green counterparts. Add bell peppers to raw salads, or cook them in soups, stews and stir-fries. They also add crisp texture and fresh flavor to salads and sandwiches. Bell peppers are also ideal for stuffing with grains like rice or quinoa, fresh herbs and ground meat. Baked and served with a green salad, you’ll have a satisfying supper in no time! Scoville Rating: 0
Video Description: When selecting a perfectly ripened bell pepper look for produce that has three or four lobes, is firm and glossy. Look for bell peppers with taut, unwrinkled skin and a fresh green stem.
 

Anaheims

The heat of these peppers can range from mild to hot depending on their growing conditions. Like bell peppers, young Anaheims are green and mature to a vibrant red. They can be eaten in either color, but the preferred hue for an Anaheim is green. Anaheims are the chilies most often used in Chili Relleno, meaning stuffed chili in Spanish. They are also often used for rustic Southwest décor, dried when they turn red and strung into wall hangings and wreaths known as ristas. Scoville Rating: 500-2,000

Poblanos

Another chili often dried is the poblano, a long and pointed dark-green pepper with a mild to medium heat. Dried poblanos are called anchos, a dark-purplish pepper with a savory sweet flavor. Ancho chilies are often ground into powder and used to season many foods. Poblanos and anchos are often used to make the Latin masterpiece, molé. Scoville Rating: 1,000-2,000

Jalapeños

Jalapeños are stubby, pointed peppers that come in red and green. They are the quintessential pepper for Tex-Mex foods. They are often pickled and used as a topper for sandwiches, nachos, quesadillas and more. Fresh, they are the most popular chili for use in salsas. Smoked jalapeños are known as chipotles and they add plenty of savory heat and flavor to stews, enchiladas and casseroles. Remove the veins and seeds from the jalapeños for milder flavor, or leave them in for extra heat. Next time you’re making soup from scratch, add a whole jalapeño to the stock pot. Remove the pepper, and shred the chicken when the stock is ready. Add the chicken, roasted corn kernels and toasted corn tortilla strips instead of noodles. Top with a dollop of sour cream, finely diced jalapeños, a sprinkle of cilantro and a little shredded Jack cheese. Scoville Rating: 3,500-8,000

Serranos

Serranos are thin, long and green. They are popular in Mexican and Chinese cooking. Substitute serranos for jalapeños in any dish. Scoville Rating: 8,000-23,000

Habañeros

Small and super-spicy, the fiery orange color of the habañeros is a telltale sign of the heat within. Most bottled hot sauces are made from habañeros. Give your next pot of pasta sauce a little pizazz! Using a fork, poke holes in one or two habañero peppers and toss them in the sauce while it simmers. Be sure to fish out the peppers before serving! Scoville Rating: 200,00-350,000 (Wilbur!) When choosing your peppers, from bells to serranos, look for firm, smooth, evenly colored skin. The stem should look fresh and green. Avoid peppers with wrinkled skin or soft spots.

Preparing Peppers

Peppers take on a wonderful smoky flavor when broiled, grilled or fire-roasted. Follow these easy steps for each method and you’ll have a uniquely flavored ingredient that will add rich smokiness to your soups, salads, sauces or casseroles!

Broiling or Grilling

  1. Slice the pepper lengthwise into four or five panels. Discard the stem, ribs (which can have a bitter taste) and seeds.
  2. Brush the pepper with a light layer of olive oil.
  3. If grilling, lay the pieces on the grill, skin-side down; or if broiling lay the pepper on the broiling pan, skin-side up and cook about four inches from the heat.
  4. Grill or broil the pepper until the skin is blackened.
  5. Place the peppers into a bowl or closed zipper-style plastic bag and let them “sweat” for about 15 minutes. This loosens the skin.
  6. Gently peel off the skin and discard. The pepper is now ready to be added to your favorite recipe!

Fire-Roasting

  1. Cut a small slit near the stem of the pepper.
  2. Impale each pepper on a long-handled cooking fork and hold over the flame of a gas stove or grill.
  3. Turn to char the skin evenly.
  4. Once charred, follow the same procedure for removing the skin as above.
   

Go Lean. Eat Protein

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Protein is essential for overall health and vitality. By eliminating processed carbohydrates and added sugars from your diet, you can improve general health, weight control, and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes. Protein-rich foods can trim your waistline by maintaining lean muscle, balancing blood sugar and increasing satiety after a meal. Ultimately, this helps keep your metabolism burning at a healthy pace.Grilled chicken, green beans and tomatoes

Select Lean Proteins:

  • Choose skinless white chicken or turkey breast meat.
  • Buy lean cuts of beef: round steak and roast, top sirloin, top loin and shoulder.
  • Choose extra-lean ground-beef at least 90 percent or 95-percent lean.
  • Buy low-fat turkey, roast beef or chicken luncheon meats instead of high-fat meats such as bologna or salami.

Other Protein Choices:

  • Consume seafood at least twice a week. Bake or broil salmon, trout, halibut or cod.
  • Plant proteins—beans, peas, hemp or soy—contain little or no saturated fats.
  • The incredible egg is packed with protein.

What Is a Serving Size of Protein?

  • 1 oz. of meat, poultry, fish or tofu
  • 1/4 cup cooked beans or lentils
  • 2 Tbsp. hummus
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp. peanut or almond butter
  • 1/2 oz. of nuts or seed (12 almonds, 24 pistachios, 7 walnut halves)

Fresh or Dried Cranberries

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If absence make the heart grow fonder, we should all pine after this fresh, tart fruit. Cranberries have a super short season as they’re harvested from Labor Day through Halloween and become available just in time for the holidays. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to enjoy them year-round. In fact, cranberries can be kept in your freezer for up to a year and dried cranberries are also readily available.fresh and dried cranberries with sugar

Fresh Cranberries

Nutrition: Count on this fruit to contain vitamin A and manganese. Fresh cranberries contain more vitamin C than dried cranberries. Like all berries, cranberries are a good source of fiber. Works well in: Fresh cranberries are known to be tart! Use them in sauces and baked goods to downplay the tartness.

Dried Cranberries

Nutrition: Enjoy dried cranberries and know that you’re getting fiber and vitamins with every bite! When fruit is dried, it intensifies the sugars so it’s a good idea to practice portion control. As tasty as they are, it is easy to gobble up a lot without thinking twice! Works well in: Dried cranberries can easily be added to homemade chicken salad, nutrition bars and are a great topping to fall-themed salads with apples, walnuts and feta cheese. Check out these recipes for more inspiration!  

Echinacea Strengthens Immunity, Weakens Flu Symptoms

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Echinacea illustration One of the most popular herbs in America today, this perennial plant has been used by Native Americans for more than 400 years as a general tonic and to ease the discomfort of infections and wounds. There are two species of echinacea commonly used for medicinal purposes today: Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea purpurea.

Strengthening the Immune System

An immune system’s primary role is to protect the body against damage from dangerous viruses, bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms. Echinacea has the ability to strengthen the immune system by activating white blood cells, which seek out and destroy these unfriendly invaders.i

Fewer Flu and Cold Incidents

Matter of fact, studies show that echinacea is safe and effective in reducing cold symptoms. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, British researchers tested 755 healthy people over a four-month period. Participants taking echinacea had significantly fewer incidences and less severe cold and flu symptoms (149 colds lasting a combined total of 672 days, while subjects in the placebo group reported 188 colds lasting 850 total days).ii

A Preventative Measure

Take echinacea before the cold and flu season hits! Echinacea helps the body produce more germ-eating cells called macrophages, which protect your body’s immune system by searching out and destroying common cold and flu viruses and bacteria. So, if you’re looking to keep sickness at bay, feeding your immune system echinacea is one good way! Tip! Taking echinacea before the cold and flu season begins gives the body a healthy jump-start to fighting germs. *You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem.
i Fonseca FN, Papanicolaou G, Lin H, Lau CB, Kennelly EJ, Cassileth BR, Cunningham-Rundles S. Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench modulates human T-cell cytokine response. Int Immunopharmacol. 2014 Mar;19(1):94-102. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2013.12.019. Epub 2014 Jan 13. PubMed PMID: 24434371; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4140398. ii Jawad M, Schoop R, Suter A, Klein P, Eccles R. Safety and efficacy profile of Echinacea purpurea to prevent common cold episodes: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012:841315. Epub 2012 Sep 16. (hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2012/841315/)