7 Things You Should Take to Fight Off a Cold or Flu This Season

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It’s that time of year again! Cold and flu season! So what can you actually do to reduce your chances of getting sick? Keep reading to find out!

There are 7 essential things to include in your diet that will keep your immune system in tip top shape:

Probiotics – found in yogurt, and fermented foods such as Keiser and sauerkraut (just make sure you eat the kinds with live active cultures as many things are pasteurized which typically kills all the healthy bacteria before being put on the shelves). Probiotics help to keep your intestine healthy which aids in optimal absorption of nutrients which help keep infections at bay.

Zinc- is the only supplement shown to shorten the duration of an infection in doses as high as 75mg at the first sign of illness. Just be careful not to take this high of a dose for an extended period of time as too much zinc can lead to a copper deficiency!  If you prefer to get zinc through foods try to consume more oysters, red meats, foritfies breakfast foods and dairy products, pumpkin seeds or chickpeas!

Iron- found in clams, red meat and spinach! Iron is best absorbed if it is paired with vitamin C so try adding some lemon juice to your clams or pair your steak with some fresh bell peppers!  If you don’t get enough iron in your diet you can suffer from anemia which leads to a weakened immune system.

Vitamin C- is an antioxidant with both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties which helps to fight off infection by protecting immune cells.  Try to increase your consumption of fresh bell peppers, strawberries and citrus fruits!

Ginger- has microbial properties thought to prevent certain infections of the digestive system from growing. It is also known for its great anti-nausea properties.

Garlic- is a great natural antimicrobial and anti-virus agent. It contains allicin which has shown to be great at improving your immune cells ability to fight off colds.

Vitamin D- Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to the development of upper respiratory track infections. Make sure you are getting enough of this essential vitamin, especially in the winter months when sunlight exposure is typically reduced.  Most dairy and cereal products in Canada are actually fortified with vitamin D but I still recommend a supplement I addition to it of at least 1000iu of this essential nutrient!

Besides including these foods or supplements in your diet, what else can you do to avoid getting sick?Get enough sleep! Not getting enough sleep can weaken your body’s defense mechanisms and make you more prone to not only getting sick but getting sick for a longer period of time than you otherwise would!

Calm down!  High levels of stress are correlated to a weakened immunity system so don’t forget to take care of your mental well being! It’s okay to take a few minutes to yourself sometimes!

 Below is a recipe by our editor Melissa for her immune boosting chicken soup! Feel free to try it out if you’re looking for ways to consume more of the above nutrients! Let us know what you think!

1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
1-2 Thai red chilis (depending on spice preference)
1 Tablespoon turmeric powder
5 cups organic low-sodium chicken broth
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons natural peanut butter
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 celery stick, thinly sliced
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cubed
150g of flat rice noodles

Heat a large stock pot over medium-low heat. In a blender or food processor, puree the onion, garlic,
ginger, chili’s, and turmeric with a splash of chicken stock. Add the puree to the stock pot and add the rest of the chicken broth, stirring to blend. Add the soy sauce and peanut butter, along with the carrot and celery, and bring to a boil.

Tiggy is the founder of Evexis- the science of wellness and nutritional contributor to Fraser Valley Lifestyle Magazine. When Tiggy was seven, Tiggy didn’t dream of becoming a princess like the other girls. Nope, Tiggy dreamed of being a medical researcher. While the other girls were playing barbies, Tiggy was taking notes in her pink medical diary adamant that she was going to find a cure for cancer. As Tiggy got older and was confronted with some health issues of her own, she realized that food is actually the best type of medicine.  She then redirected her focus to the relationship between food and the body and mind.  After spending years in the pursuit of health and happiness, Tiggy now has dedicated her life to helping others find it too!  When Tiggy isn’t working, she can be found playing her fiddle, lifting weights, or adding to her already too large collection of rocks and gems.

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