Cold and flu season seems like it’s always right around the corner. Try as we might to feed our kids healthy snacks and meals while running from school to after school activities, keeping the family on a healthy path can be a full time job. It’s always to focus on nutrition for cold and flu prevention in order to help your family avoid being hit by those nasty bugs.
Many experts agree that there are four key pillars of health:
While exercise and sleep are important factors to help us (and our kids) fend off stress, nutrition and hydration are the foundation for immunity. And this isn’t a new concept. The ancient philosopher Hippocrates was famous for saying —
“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”
5 FLU PREVENTION TIPS
EAT YOUR VEGGIES (AND FRUIT, TOO)
When we don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, we don’t get enough of those essential nutrients that are known to lower our risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer, and even the flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), adults should consume 1.5-2 cups of fruit and 2-3 cups of vegetables daily. Yet, in a recent CDC study, they found that 76% of adults don’t eat enough fruit, and 87% of adults don’t eat enough veggies. If you or your family members are falling short on daily requirements, this is where vitamins can help to fill any nutrient gaps.
FOCUS ON FATS
Experts say that no more than 45% of our daily caloric intake should come from complex carbohydrates, such as green vegetables, whole grains, beans, lentils, sweet potatoes, corn, and peas. The rest of our calories should include lean proteins and healthy fats (fish is a good option here).
In another large study that recorded eating habits of 135,000 adults in 18 countries for more than seven years on average, researchers found participants with higher intakes of fats and lower intakes of carbohydrates fared better on the health front. As a result, the researchers encourage a diet rich in fruits, beans, seeds, vegetables, and fats; yet, low in refined carbohydrates and sugars. Time to add garbanzo beans, avocados, and chia seeds to your grocery list, if you haven’t already.
CUT BACK ON SUGAR
You’ve heard about the downside of sugar. It tastes great, but it’s just not so good for us. Notably, in relation to flu prevention, eating or drinking too much sugar can suppress the body’s immune response. In fact, it can hinder the effectiveness of your white blood cells to fight bacteria for up to 6 hours. This is because sugar cells actually resemble the cell structure of Vitamin C. White blood cells rely on Vitamin C to help fight bacteria. But, when sugar is present, white blood cells can mistake sugar molecules for Vitamin C cells. When this happens, it negates the fighting capabilities of white blood cells. While cutting out sugar entirely can be tricky, definitely avoid it if you’re starting to feel run down.
ANTIOXIDANTS AND VITAMIN C
Your mom told you to take Vitamin C, and she was right. Vitamin C helps strengthen the immune system. As an antioxidant, Vitamin C is particularly potent helping the body fight off free radicals, those pesky molecules that wreak havoc on the immune system. Think of Vitamin C like a superhero fighting off the bad guys, including colds and flu. And even if you get a cold, don’t stop taking Vitamin C. It’s a good ally in helping to reduce the length and intensity of symptoms should you catch a cold.
TAKE DAILY VITAMINS
Of course, a sure way to get everything you need is to take a daily multivitamin. And boosting your immunity is just one good reason to take a multivitamin.
Read more: 8 reasons to take a multvitamin…. every day
You can get daily vitamins through fruits and veggies for effective flu prevention. But, so many of us just aren’t that good about doing that. When in doubt, a multivitamin is like an insurance policy to make sure you get the flu fighting vitamins and minerals you need to keep your body in balance, ready to combat any evil cold or flu.