Nutrition during Cold and Flu Season
by Lisa Bell, Registered Holistic Nutritionist
Citrus fruits are full of phytonutrients, antioxidants and vitamin C. Vitamin C is vital for a healthy immune system, and is good for preventing and treating colds. One medium orange provides over 90% of our recommended daily intake of vitamin C. We have plenty of oranges in stock right now, which make great snacks: Navel oranges, blood oranges, cara cara oranges. My favourites right now are the satsuma mandarins – they are seedless, and so deliciously juicy! We also have plenty of grapefruit, lemons and limes in stock.
COLOUR YOUR PLATE WITH THIS YUMMY RECIPE
Fill your plate with colourful fruits and vegetables. Red bell peppers contain even more vitamin C than oranges! They’re also full of vitamins A and E, antioxidants which help with proper immune function, allowing us to fight off infections. We currently have red, yellow, orange and green bell peppers in stock. Mushrooms are a great source of vitamin D, selenium, and zinc – all of which are great for the immune system. Try chopping up a colourful mix of bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, and red onion. Toss with a little extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil, and garlic, and roast in the oven! We have so much local and organic produce in stock, even at this time of year! Try to introduce a variety of naturally colourful foods into your regular routine to help keep your immune system strong.
BALANCE YOUR GUT
Keep your gut healthy with fermented and probiotic foods. Did you know that approximately 70% of the cells that make up your immune system can be found in the gastrointestinal tract? Keeping your gut balanced and healthy will help to keep your immune system strong. Give yourself plenty of good bacteria by consuming probiotic-rich foods such as natural yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut and kombucha, or by supplementing with a probiotic capsule. Also, getting plenty of both soluble and insoluble fibre will keep your digestive system in balance and functioning well.
EAT YOUR GREENS
Eat lots of greens, such as spinach, broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, swiss chard, beet greens, and collard greens. Greens are full of a wide range of vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, as well as calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron and zinc. Greens also provide soluble and insoluble fibre.
BOOST YOUR FLUIDS WITH THIS
Drink plenty of water and other fluids. I love making homemade ginger tea by grating a ½ inch section of fresh ginger into a mug of hot water. You could also add a bit of freshly grated turmeric. Ginger and turmeric are both warming spices which have anti-inflammatory properties. Add a teaspoon of raw honey for its throat-soothing and antibacterial properties, and a squeeze of fresh lemon to boost your vitamin C intake. If you’re really brave, try adding a clove of crushed, raw garlic for its antibacterial and antiviral properties!
You could also chop or muddle some fresh berries and herbs into your water to make it more interesting, and to ensure that you are drinking enough fluids. Or, try brewing a big pot of herbal tea in the morning, and sip it throughout the day. Our Ener-C packets also jazz up your water while giving you a boost of vitamins A, C, E and B.
EXERCISE AND SLEEP
Don’t forget about stress reduction and sleep! Exercises such as yoga or a brisk walk outside with a friend or family member are great ways to reduce stress. Sleep is reparative, and is essential to us keeping our immune systems healthy. Without adequate sleep, we are less likely to be able to defend ourselves against colds and flu.