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Can nutrition supplements protect you against flu?

Posted by The Alaska Club | Oct 8, 2014 1:28:00 PM

As the flu season approaches, you will see more and more people wandering around the nutrition supplement aisle seeking the miracle remedy or preventative for flu's symptoms. But do extra vitamins and minerals actually help boost your immune system or protect you against cold and flu?

Elize Rumley

Information from Elize Rumsley, PhD in Nutrition and registered Dietician.

Several studies are ongoing in this area, but, to date, researchers have not been able to isolate a single vitamin or mineral that will help in the flu fight. Even the most popular vitamin C supplements have not been shown to cure or prevent colds.
The good news is that some studies show that a combination of nutrients coming from a healthy diet which includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and fish are more stimulative of the immune response.  
So, to protect against infection, try to have variety of foods in your daily diet:
  • 2-3 servings of fruits : one serving is about the size of a tennis ball
  • 3-5 servings of vegetables: a serving is a cup of leafy green vegetables or 1/2 cup of other vegetables.  Try colored peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, potatoes, squash, tomatoes, mushroom, cauliflower and green leafy vegetables.
  • 6-11servings of whole grains and beans: a serving is a slice of whole grain bread or 1/2 cup of other whole grains such as brown rice, oatmeal, barley, quinoa or beans.
  • A level handful of various nuts or seeds such as almonds, peanuts, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds
  • 2-3 servings of lean protein: a serving is about the size of a deck of card.  Choose seafood, fish, eggs,  soy, lean meats and poultry

Besides eating healthy, other important things to protect you against infections are:

  • wash your hands frequently
  • get a flu shot
  • get adequate sleep
  • drink plenty of water
  • manage your stress
  • quit smoking
  • be physically active

Through careful menu choices and regular exercise everyone can see positive effects on health over time.  No dietary supplement can substitute for making time for good health.


Topics: Nutrition

Written by The Alaska Club

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