Bolster your defences for cold and flu season

A strong immune system is the body’s best defence against colds and flu.

  • Nov. 17, 2012 6:00 p.m.

A strong immune system is the body’s best defence against colds and flu. Good nutrition is key to building your body’s defences. Help fight common bugs by filling your diet with healthy foods.

Load up on fruits and vegetables. They contain powerful antioxidants, vitamins and minerals which will build up your immune system to help fight off illness.

Choose brightly coloured or dark green fruits and veggies for the most antioxidants. Aim for seven to eight servings per day. One serving equals one small to medium sized piece of fruit or vegetable or half a cup of chopped.

Digestive health plays an important role in preventing sickness. Normally, your body contains  “friendly” bacteria, or flora, that help fight off any “bad” bacteria trying to gain access to your system.  Diets high in refined sugar, frequent antibiotic use, and everyday stress can disrupt this healthy balance of “friendly” versus “bad” bacteria, leaving one more vulnerable to sickness.

You can help restore healthy digestive flora by eating foods that naturally contain good bacteria and/or by taking a probiotic supplement. Probiotics can be found naturally in fermented foods such as yogurt, buttermilk, miso, tempeh, and fresh sauerkraut.

Vitamin D is also thought to play an important role in strengthening the immune system. Health Canada recommends 200-600 IU per day depending on age. Some other national health organizations recommend higher doses. For instance the Canadian Cancer Society recommends 1000 IU per day for adults during the fall and winter months. Dietary sources of vitamin D include milk, fortified soy beverage, salmon, tuna, sardines and egg yolks. Talk to your health care provider to learn if you are getting enough Vitamin D.

Of course nutrition is only part of the solution. Exercise is also a powerful way to bolster your immune system. Among the many benefits of exercise is stress reduction. Stress takes a significant toll on our immune system so it’s important to take time for yourself.

Get out for a brisk walk, bike ride, take part in yoga, or any physical activity that you enjoy.

The author,  Simone Jennings, is a Community Nutritionist with Interior Health.

 

Just Posted

Salmon Arm’s Shoemaker Hill opens after snowy winter

Spring officially comes to city as city crews open steep hill on Monday, March 25

Warning issued after construction materials burned

Salmon Arm Fire Department emphasizes it is illegal to burn scraps from building sites

All regional district fields and ball diamonds closed

Soaking ground leads to closure of CSRD sports fields to prevent damage

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Rainy days ahead

Rain in the forecast until Wednesday

Video: Shuswap home to thriving community of beekeepers

Apiary operators share details about how they keep their hives healthy

VIDEO: Fire contained to garage beside East Kelowna house

Garage is fully involved, say firefighters

Young mother dies in Highway 3 semi collision

According to friends the victim was on her way to work, to a job she started earlier in the week

Animals seized again from North Okanagan property

Animals to be seized not yet confirmed

B.C. river cleanup crew finds bag of discarded sex toys

Chilliwack volunteers stumble on unexpected find while removing 600 lbs of trash from riverway

Turning an Okanagan hospital’s medical waste into art

Safe recycled waste materials are being used by local artists to create art

Trudeau sells housing plan in visit to hot real estate market in B.C.

Trudeau said the budget contains measures to help first-time buyers

Cultural plan, with public feedback, to be presented at Kelowna council meeting

Council will be presented with an update to the 2020-2025 Cultural Plan Monday

Ben Klick headlines Westbank Country Opry

The Westbank Country Opry returns March 31

Norway opens probe into why cruise ship ventured into storm

The Viking Sky was headed for southern Norway when it had engine problems on Saturday afternoon

Most Read