By: Jacqueline Gomes, RDN, MBA
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?
- Oranges or 100% orange juice 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. Vb.
- Pineapples are known for their anti-inflammatory enzyme bromelain. Bromelain has been reported to calm a cough and soothe a sore throat.
- Some studies have shown that eating a daily cup of low-fat yogurt can reduce your susceptibility to colds by 25 percent.
Antioxidant Boost Smoothie
Prep: 5 minutes
Makes: 2 Servings
- 1 cup frozen pineapple
- ½ sliced frozen banana
- 1 cup kale, leaves torn, stem removed
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 1 6-oz cup Plain fat-free Greek yogurt
- Dash Cayenne pepper
- ½ cup Florida’s Natural Orange Juice
Puree all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Add more juice if a thinner smoothie is desired.
Eat Well Tip: Support a healthy immune system with a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Boosting your intake of nutrients found in this smoothie 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.
203 calories; 0g Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 55mg Sodium; 42g Carbohydrate; 11g Protein