No one wants to catch the flu.
It’s already bad enough that the days are colder, darker, and snowier, but to get hit by a bad bug is enough to knock even the hardiest of workers out for days – or even weeks.
Turns out, avoiding the flu is somewhat simple, if you know what to do.
It all comes down to three important things, according to Loblaw’s Dietician Brittany Thomas.
“Eat well, get your flu shot, and frequent hand washing are probably the three key things you can do to protect yourself,” she said in a phone interview with Daily Hive.
Well, it get’s a little more complicated than that, at least when it comes to eating right.
“It’s important to eat well year round so that we’re always supporting our immune system,” said Thomas, “but definitely this time of year some key nutrients to focus on would be your Vitamins A, C, and E, as well as zinc, protein, and probiotics, those are the key ones for supporting and maintaining immune health.”
And no, that doesn’t just mean downing an orange juice and calling it a day – Vitamin C may be your best bet for combating a cold or the flu, but there’s other ways of getting the important nutrients.
“There’s some research showing that taking 200 milligrams of Vitamin C can help shorten the duration of a cold, and even if it shortens it only for a couple of days, it still saves you a few days of misery,” said Thomas.
“Obviously a lot of people associate citrus fruits with Vitamin C, but there’s actually many different fruits and vegetables that have Vitamin C; things like bell peppers are a great source, kiwi, mangos, broccoli and cauliflower, even.”
She advised that a good rule of thumb is to have half your plate full of fruits and vegetables every meal, and to aim for at least two different colours.
As for the other important nutrients, Thomas recommended beans and lentils for zinc, and yogurts for probiotics, though she noted a new trend may actually help with combating the flu this season.
“Kombucha is really popular right now, and it’s another great way to get some probiotic bacteria.”
So stock up on that kombucha, eat your fruits and vegetables, wash those hands, and for the love of all that is healthy, GET YOUR FLU SHOT.