Everywhere you turn, someone is coughing and the local pharmacies are offering flu shots. Aside from washing your hands often, not touching your eyes/nose/mouth, and engaging in other behaviors to help keep you well this flu season, research shows that eating a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet can help keep your immune system in top shape.
Good nutrition is one key to preventing illness in the first place, along with managing stress and keeping our bodies active. Even these healthful practices are not a simple guarantee, but it’s certainly worth the effort. An ounce of prevention is worth how much?
Antioxidants are most often associated with decreasing disease risk, and play the starring role is helping rid our body of the free radicals that can harm cells and promote disease. Antioxidants can also assist in improving our immune function, and the best known sources are beta carotene (a form of Vitamin A), Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and selenium. Boosting your intake of antioxidants can be as simple as adding color to each meal. Think citrus and berries for Vitamin C; sweet potatoes, cantaloupe and carrots for beta carotene; nuts and leafy greens for Vitamin E; and Brazil nuts and fish for selenium. This recent Miami Herald article provides a good summary and additional information to expand on what we’ve already mentioned.
Is it true that you starve a cold? Once symptoms strike, keep your meals simple, but continue to emphasize whole foods, particularly lean proteins, lots of fruits and vegetables and adequate fiber. WebMD offers some helpful tips when you have the flu.
Just in case you or someone in your house gets the dreaded flu or a cold, here’s a healthy butternut squash soup recipe that you can make ahead and keep in the freezer.
How Stacey Got the Shot: ISO 100, focal length 55mm, foam core reflectors, f/16, 1.6-second exposure.