Preventing Cold & Flu
By: Jacqueline Gomes, MBA, RDN
As the winter approaches, it’s the time of year we see cold and flu on the rise. There is no known cure for cold and flu, so prevention is key.
A healthy immune system starts with a diet rich in fruits and vegetables which will support your body with vitamins such as C, K, A and D. Even the slightest deficiency in these nutrients can lower your immune system defenses, potentially making you more susceptible to infections.
- Wash Your Hands Often: Most cold and flu viruses are spread by direct contact. Wash your hands often and/or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Drink Plenty of Fluids: Water keeps the tissues of the respiratory system moist and helps the immune system function properly.
- Do Aerobic Exercise Regularly: Moderate exercise – 30 to 90 minutes most days of the week increases immune function and reduces your chances of catching a cold.
- Control Stress: People who are experiencing emotional stress have weakened immune systems and are more likely to catch a cold than their calmer counterparts.
Helpful foods for prevention?
- Navel oranges or 100% orange juice like Tropicana® provides an excellent source of antioxidant Vitamin C, which has been shown to help support a healthy immune system.
- Eat Soup! Studies have shown that chicken soup specifically can thin mucus secretions. If you’re unwell try a convenient cup of Progresso® Soup!
- Pineapples are known for their anti-inflammatory enzyme bromelain. Bromelain has been reported to calm a cough and soothe a sore throat.
- Hot Tea is calming, soothing and rich in antioxidants. With added benefits from functional ingredients like vitamin C, zinc and probiotics, select Bigelow Teas can support a healthy lifestyle.
Eat Well Tip: Support a healthy immune system with a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Boosting your intake of nutrients such as vitamins C, K, A and D may help prevent marginal deficiencies that could lower your immune system defenses, potentially making you more susceptible to infections.
Quick, in a Pinch Vegetable Soup
Using frozen vegetables as your base for soup is genius! This is a major time savor and creates a deliciously satisfying soup.
Prep: 25 minutes
Makes: approximately 7 (1 cup) servings
- 10-ounce frozen Green Giant Steam Mixed Vegetables
- 10-ounce frozen Green Giant Steam Broccoli
- 4 cups Pacific Organic Vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 ounces (about 1 cup dry) Luigi Vitelli Pasta, elbows, orecchiette, or other small pasta
- Bring 4 cups broth to a boil, add in frozen vegetables and cook for about 5 minutes, until vegetables come to a simmer.
- Add in remaining ingredients, salt through pasta. Cook for about 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf and serve.
Nutrition Information for 1 cup:
122 calories; 25g carbohydrate; 0g fat; 6g protein; 563mg sodium; 5g fiber