Although you may not be able to totally prevent a cold or flu this season, a healthy immune system is a way to give your body extra protection. Try focusing on nutrient-rich foods and healthy lifestyles to help you stay ahead of the germs.
The following nutrients can help your immune system and can be found in many foods:
• Protein comes from both animal and plant based sources, such as milk, eggs, beef, chicken, nuts and beans.
• Zinc can come from animal sources such as beef and seafood, but also from wheat germ, beans, nuts and tofu.
• Vitamin D can be found in fish and eggs. Milk and 100 percent juices are also sources for this nutrient.
• Vitamin C foods include citrus fruits, melons, tomatoes and broccoli.
• Probiotics are “good” bacteria. They can be found in dairy sources such as yogurt.
Focus on a balanced eating plan, adequate sleep and decreased stress to help keep your immune system healthy.
Don’t forget, good hygiene and hand washing help to prevent the spread of germs. Be sure and wash fruits and vegetables before eating or cooking with them. Find ways to cope with stress, such as listening to music and meditation. Physical exercise is also a good way to help manage stress. Lack of sleep can contribute to a variety of health concerns. Seven to nine hours of sleep are recommended for adults and 8-14 hours for children, depending on their age.
So in closing, focus on good nutrient foods, plenty of sleep, good hygiene and reduce your stress levels to keep yourself healthy through this cold and flu season.
Pam Meyer is the Wellness Director at Benedictine Living Community-
Wahpeton, St. Catherine’s Living Center.