Nutrition: Fending off the flu

Beat seasonal sickness.

By Eric Chen, WAC Nutritionist and Wellness Coach

As flu season roll around, we want to make sure our members do everything they can to protect themselves. The best defense from the flu is a healthy immune system and healthy gut flora. Your saliva, gastric acids, and gut flora are responsible for fighting off any harmful pathogens. Here are a few ways you can maximize your immune system for a healthy winter!

  1. Prebiotics: Foods that contain lots of fiber are perfect fuel for your gut flora. Vegetables, legumes, whole grains, fruits, and seeds are an excellent example of high fiber foods.
  2. Probiotics: Fermented foods are packed with healthy bacteria that prevent the bad bacteria from colonizing your gastrointestinal tract. Examples include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchee, and miso. If you can’t work these foods in, you can also take a probiotic supplement.
  3. Vitamin D: Sunlight is the biggest supplier of vitamin D for our bodies. Unfortunately there is less sunlight during the winter flu season. You can eat mushroom or sardines, both of which are high in vitamin D. Or, take a vitamin D supplement daily as deficiencies can lead to a weakened immune system.
  4. Rest and recovery: If you’re already sick you need rest. Working too much or exercising more is not the way to go. The body takes 48–72 hours to recover from a tough workout. All that energy could be wearing on the systems that keep your immune system strong. Listen to your body and rest when needed!

 

—Published December 6, 2017


 

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