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Fight the Flu

By Paige Halsted, Dietetic intern

The cold winter months are coming. Are you prepared to fight flu season? First, make sure you and your family remember to get a flu shot this season.

In the late fall and winter months our bodies are exposed to many germs. Good nutrition is essential to a strong immune system, and eating healthfully will offer protection from seasonal illnesses such as the flu. Make sure your diet has enough of these flu-fighting nutrients this flu season.

Protein: Your body uses protein to build and repair. Protein is an  important building block of the body’s defense mechanism. Protein-rich foods include seafood, lean meat, poultry, eggs, nuts, soy products and beans.

Vitamin A: This vitamin helps regulate the immune system and helps your body fight infections. You can get vitamin A from foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots, red bell peppers, fish, kale and other dark leafy greens.

Vitamin C: This vitamin is well known for defending against infections. It helps boost the immune system and assists with fighting toxins and foreign substances in the body. Vitamin C-rich foods include oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, yellow bell peppers and broccoli.

Vitamin E: Your body uses vitamin E as an antioxidant that protects cells from damage and improves immune function. Vitamin E can be found in almonds, spinach, peanut butter, avocados and sunflower seeds.

Zinc: This mineral helps heal wounds and helps the immune system work properly. Zinc commonly is found in beef, poultry, spinach, beans, nuts and seeds.

Water: Don’t forget to drink a lot of fluids and keep your body hydrated.

Reference:  Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (www.eatright.org/resource/health/wellness/preventing-illness/protect-your-health-with-immune-boosting-nutrition)

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Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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