There are no known cures for colds and flu, so cold and flu prevention is key. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. A proactive approach to warding off colds and flu is apt to make your whole life healthier.
5 tips for prevention…
- 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.
- Don’t touch your face: Cold and flu viruses enter your body through the eyes, nose, or mouth. Touching their faces is the major way children catch colds, and a key way they pass colds on to their parents.
Strengthen your immune system with the right foods
- Some studies have shown that eating a daily cup of low-fat yogurt can reduce your susceptibility to colds by 25 percent.
- Phytochemical are natural chemical found in plants that give the vitamins in food a supercharged boost. Eat dark green, red, and yellow vegetables and fruits.
- 100% orange juice provides a good source of potassium for a healthy blood pressure, folic acid and an excellent source of antioxidant Vitamin C, which has been shown to help support a healthy immune system.
- Eat Soup! Did you know? Chicken soup can be a cold and flu fighter! Studies have shown that chicken soup specifically can thin mucus secretions. The vegetables in soup will give a healthy does of antioxidants to support a healthy immune system and the noodles will give you much needed energy from carbohydrate.
Chicken and Spinach Soup with Fresh Pesto
Total time: Approximately 30 Minutes
- 2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/2 cup carrot, diced
- 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 8 ounces), cut into quarters
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried marjoram
- 6 ounces baby spinach, coarsely chopped
- 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans or great northern beans, rinsed
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup plain or herbed multigrain croutons for garnish (optional)
- Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add carrot and chicken; cook, turning the chicken and stirring frequently, until the chicken begins to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Stir in broth and marjoram; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
- With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken pieces to a clean cutting board to cool. Add spinach and beans to the pot and bring to a gentle boil. Cook for 5 minutes to blend the flavors.
- Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, Parmesan and basil in a food processor (a mini processor works well). Process until a coarse paste forms, adding a little water and scraping down the sides as necessary.
- Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Stir the chicken and pesto into the pot. Season with pepper. Heat until hot. Garnish with croutons, if desired.