Other than the most common preventative tactics such as washing your hands, avoiding close contact with those who are sick, and getting plenty of rest, getting enough vitamins and minerals is essential to building a healthy immune system. Maintaining a healthy nutrient balance provides sources of energy and nutrition for optimal growth and development. Taking a daily multi-vitamin - especially when you're fatigued or stressed - can make all the difference in your recovery when you're sick or preventing your from getting sick in the first place.
Probiotics are another essential addition for you and your family during this cold and flu season. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that actually found naturally in the body's digestive system. A recently published study found that taking probiotics can boost immunity by increasing the body's immune response to the flu virus. Dr. Gary Huffnagle, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Michigan, and author of the book The Probiotics Revolution, was quoted saying "the research adds to the growing body of scientific data that show probiotics boost the immune function of healthy adults to defend against infection and lessen the symptoms of disease. I think it is a wise move to include the consumption of probiotics...along with good diet, and frequent hand washing in the battle against the flu."
Your dietary intake is an extremely important component when it comes to warding of the cold and flu. Make sure to include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables each day, and drink extra water as the cold weather and indoor heat can be extremely dehydrating. If you're not fond of the vegetables this time of year, opt for frozen vegetables that have no salt, sugar or sauces added to them. They may not contain all the vitamins and minerals compared to their whole counterparts, but they're a much better option than eating none at all. You can also opt for adding a Greens supplement to boost your vitamin and mineral intake. I suggest a product called Complete Greens, which contains probiotics as well. You can click the link provided to learn more about the benefits of including Greens on a regular basis - especially during this time of year.
By following these suggestions, you are likely to breeze through this winter without catching the cold or flu.
Wishing you health and wellness this winter and into the New Year!
Alissa Robertson, MS, RD