Here's to a Healthy Winter
Getting vaccinated is the best defense against flu, but other factors can play a role in keeping you healthy through the winter season.
Boost your immune system with super foods
Fresh fruits and veggies – High in immune-boosting antioxidants like vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and zinc, fresh fruits and veggies should be a daily staple. Different antioxidants play different roles in your system, so for best protection, choose a wide range of bright colors including:
Green – spinach, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts
Red – red bell peppers, tomatoes, strawberries
Purple – beets, blueberries
Orange – sweet potatoes, carrots, papaya
Yellow – squash, yellow peppers, mangoes
Garlic is another super food that has antibacterial properties, but cooking it can strip its immune-boosting abilities. Here are a few ways to use it fresh:
Mince and toss sparingly with salad or pasta.
Mix with olive oil and fresh herbs for a homemade salad dressing.
Stir a healthy spoonful into guacamole, hummus or other spread.
Omega 3 fats support white blood cells in fighting harmful bacteria. Good sources are:
Salmon, anchovies and tuna
Walnuts and flaxseed
Kidney and pinto beans
Spinach, broccoli and cauliflower
As much as possible, cut down on sugar and fatty foods because they suppress the immune system and prevent it from identifying and fighting harmful bacteria.
Exercise gets your heart rate up, increases your level of leukocytes (immune system cells that fight infection) and releases health-boosting hormones called endorphins, all of which keep your immune system going strong.
Get some fresh air
When it’s cold outside, you’re more likely to stay indoors in closer quarters with family, friends and co-workers and any cold and flu germs they may be carrying around. Plan to get out when you can for a healthy breath of fresh air.