It’s that time of year, so GEAR UP and let’s FIGHT THE FLU!
Scientists and nutrition experts know that nutrient-rich foods filled with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants help keep the immune system in top shape. And, foods high in saturated fat and processed hamper the body’s immune system.
During the flu season, it’s critical to pay special attention to eating those foods that will help keep you in TIP TOP SHAPE. Eating foods with high levels of antioxidant and nutrients will protect healthy cells and increase cells that help fight infection and inflammation. Load up on a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables as they tend to have the highest levels of antioxidants. Phytonutrients from plants are KEY to our immune system and keeping our energy revved. Here is a list of my TOP FOOD PICKS during flu season to help keep healthy:
EAT ORANGE: Things like Pumpkin, sweet potatoes, squash, and carrots are loaded with beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that helps build the body’s defense-system cells. Easy-to-use canned pumpkin is one of the few canned vegetables full of fiber and low in sodium. It makes a great base for soups and side dishes.
LOAD UP ON KIWI: Did you know that one medium kiwi supplies more than a full day’s worth of vitamin C, packing even more than an orange, cup for cup? Other vitamin C-rich foods include red bell peppers, kale, and broccoli.
MORE LEAN PROTEIN: Poultry and beans are associated with enhanced immunity. Each is a good source of protein, zinc, and iron, which are nutrients important for an effective immune response. Keep protein sources lean by removing the skin from chicken and turkey, choosing lean cuts of beef like round, sirloin and flank steak, and cooking beans and shellfish with minimal fat.
YOGURT AND KEFIR: Foods containing probiotics, or live bacteria, can help bolster our immune system. Both yogurt and kefir, which is a fermented beverage similar to thin yogurt, are often rich in live bacteria. In some foods, the bacteria don’t survive processing, so read the labels to make sure the products contain live and active cultures.
In addition to foods, be sure to WASH HANDS frequently or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Drink plenty of fluids (I am juicing and freezing the leftovers). Also, aim for 8 hours of sleep each night as our body needs that time to heal and rejuvenate. Stick to a plan that “AMPS UP” your immunity and with any luck, you’ll keep that flu bug away!
In Good Health!
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