Sunday, April 21, 2013

Fight Away the Cold and Flu

Sniffles, sneezes and coughs…these are the familiar sounds of cold and flu season.

In addition to washing your hands often, staying active and getting plenty of sleep, following a healthy diet can help to boost your body’s ability to fight off any bugs that come your way. To keep your immune system strong this season, ensure to stock up on foods that act as a defence mechanism.

A strong immune system doesn't guarantee that your body can fight off every flu bug, but it is a powerful defence mechanism.
Use the following tips to stay healthy this winter....
·         Protein is an essential part of your body’s defence system and is therefore important to include in your daily diet. Good sources of protein include seafood, chicken, beef, eggs, beans, peanut butter, soy products and unsalted nuts and seeds. For the winter months stock up on homemade soups filled with protein.  An excellent example is  tasty chicken and mushroom soup.

·         Garlic may boost your immune system, increasing resistance to infection and stress. Add garlic to your meals this winter for flavour and  to aid to resistance.

·         Vitamin A helps prevent infections by keeping the skin and tissues in the mouth, stomach, lungs and intestines healthy. This nutrient, found in eggs, liver and in bright red, yellow, orange and dark leafy vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, and spinach helps the body regulate the immune system.

·         Vitamin C triggers the production of immune-boosting antibodies and boosts your immunity. Oranges, grapefruit, guava, broccoli, peppers, strawberries, kiwi fruit and tomatoes are among the foods rich in vitamin C. Include more of this healthy vitamin in your diet. Enjoy citrus fruit with your breakfast or as a snack.

·         Vitamin E works as an antioxidant, neutralizes free radicals and may improve the immune function. Include sunflower seeds, almonds, peanut butter or spinach in your diet.

·         Zinc aids in  the immune system functioning to the full and may help wounds to heal too. Zinc can be found in lean meat, poultry, seafood, milk, whole grain products, beans and nuts.

Other tips:
  • Get plenty of rest. 
  • Get at least seven to eight hours sleep per night. 
  • Exercise regularly. 
  • Reduce stress levels. 
  • Keep well hydrated- make sure you drink plenty of liquids even on cold days. Dehydration inhibits the immune system’s functioning. 
  • Cut back on unhealthy habits, such as smoking and over consumption of alcohol

Healthy eating during cold and flu season means getting the daily requirement of essential vitamins and minerals by eating a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods from all food groups.

The Dietitian's Life xx

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