Nutrition for Flu Season

Every year, flu season comes with the cold weather. Unfortunately, flu season doesn’t take a break for the holidays, school, or work. It is therefore more important than ever to beef up your immune system with nutrition for the flu season. We have a few tips on how to do that! (Hint: it doesn’t mean Emergen-C or Airborne…)

Fuel Your Body with Nutrient-Dense Foods

Adequate nutrition is essential to fuel the cells in our body, including the cells of our immune system. Fueling your body with healthy and nutrient-dense foods can ensure your immune system is running optimally.

While products like Emergen-C and Airborne advertise crazy amounts of Vitamin C and zinc, research has shown that consuming these products after catching a cold does not improve healing time. Therefore, the best approach is to get your immune system fired up before a cold or the flu can attack.

Whole Foods for Bioavailable Nutrients

While taking a multivitamin may not be a bad idea, vitamins and minerals are best in their most bioavailable form. This means that our body much prefers vitamins and minerals that come from whole foods.

Start by incorporating whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and corn tortillas into your diet. These grains offer an array of vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber.

Next, ensure you’re getting enough protein from sources like chicken, tofu, yogurt, or nut butter. Protein serves as the building blocks for new tissue in our immune system.

Lastly, add some color to your plate with fruits and vegetables. The more colorful, the better! Spinach, oranges, strawberries, eggs, carrots, apricots, and bell peppers are all packed with essential vitamins and minerals that support our immune system.

Healthy Habits for Wellness

In addition to a nutritious diet, there are other healthy habits you can adopt to strengthen your immune system. Remember to wash your hands regularly, especially before eating. Aim for a good night’s sleep each night and stay physically active.

A well-rested and exercised body is better equipped to fight off the flu. By following these tips, you can keep your family safe and healthy during flu season.

Using Nutrition for Flu Season

Optimizing your nutrition for flu season is essential for boosting your immune system. By incorporating nutrient-dense whole foods, vitamins, and minerals into your diet, you can strengthen your body’s defenses against colds and the flu. Remember to adopt healthy habits like washing your hands, getting enough sleep, and staying active. With these strategies, you can keep yourself and your family safe during flu season. Stay healthy and flu-free!

– Article by Kyler Heitman, Atascadero State Hospital Dietetic Intern
– Photo by Sara Sanders, Food Photography Volunteer