According to the CDC this year’s flu season is not shaping up to be as bad as last year’s, but it’s still nothing to sneeze at. At the end of December, 10 states were reporting widespread flu outbreaks. Washington was reporting regional outbreaks.
Common sense tips for avoiding the flu include washing your hands often, using hand sanitizer, drinking plenty of water and exercising regularly.
Another key strategy for protecting yourself from the flu is to eat nutrient-rich food that will boost your immune system.
At Daystar Retirement Village we plan menus that allow residents to choose from an array of delicious and healthy foods. Eating a diet loaded with fruits and vegetables is always a good plan, one that will ensure you get the nutrients needed to fuel an active lifestyle.
Here is a list of five foods that scientists say are particularly healthful when it comes to helping your body fight off the flu.
Apples are the quintessential disease fighting food—everyone’s heard the old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”—and that reputation is well deserved! Eating one apple gives you 14 percent of your daily value of Vitamin C, which is one of the most important nutrients for immune health. Besides helping your immune system directly, Vitamin C also helps your body absorb the iron from other foods you eat, which your immune system also relies on.
Ripe, juicy apricots are both delicious and nutritious! One apricot provides 13 percent of your daily value of vitamin A, which is essential for your body’s ability to fight infectious disease. The season for fresh apricots is pretty short, but you can enjoy dried apricots all year round. Apricots are great eaten plain, or you could try cutting one up and eating it with yogurt and honey for a sweet treat!
Carrots are an even better source of vitamin A than apricots; one serving of carrots provides 407 percent of your daily value of vitamin A! The type of vitamin A in carrots is beta carotene, which is a powerful phytonutrient that helps your blood produce disease-fighting cells that protect you from invading germs. Eating raw carrots or drinking carrot juice is the best way to make sure you’re getting all the vital nutrients.
Blueberries are considered a superfood because they have one of the highest levels of antioxidants of any fruit or vegetable. Antioxidants help protect against cell damage from free radicals, which is great for fighting all kinds of diseases. Also, blueberries are a great source of a compound called stilbenoid, which recent studies have found improves immune function. Studies also show that blueberries don’t lose any of their nutritional value when you freeze them, so they’re a great fruit to enjoy frozen in the winter. Try a handful blended up in a smoothie for a delicious and refreshing drink!
Brussel sprouts have more gulcosinolates (compounds that combat cancer and detoxify our bodies) than any other vegetable. For a delicious side dish, try sautéing them with sweet onions.
Having these powerful disease fighters in your arsenal will help you have a healthy (and delicious) winter!