Cold and Flu Season: What’s food got to do with it?

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All in all CDC warns season could last another 3-4 months

60,000 cases of this season’s strongest flu strain have been reported nationwide. California has been hit with the cold and flu season the hardest, according to the Center for Disease Control.

Seems Like, in Southern California specifically, the flu and the common cold have spread like wildfire. The CDC says people can expect this flu season to last until April or May.

So what can you do? You can get the ever-crucial flu shot, or start in your kitchen.

The Cold and Flu Season attacks bodies with low immune systems

Most Importantly, there are numerous places in your daily nutrition where you fortify your defensive strength.

Kick your immune system into overdrive with these nutrient-rich options

Blueberries 

Can you believe that fresh or frozen, blueberries are loaded with antioxidants and quercetin? Its true! They are a flavonoid that the body accepts as an anti-inflammatory and antihistamine. Also, they can also provide relief to allergy-like symptoms including runny nose and watery eyes. Pile them into a smoothie or onto a cup of low-fat yogurt. Speaking of which…

Low-fat yogurt

To ease the effects and severity of cold symptoms, yogurt is loaded with probiotics. Stir in some unsweetened cocoa powder (raw or nonalkalized) to up the game by lowering blood pressure and improving blood flow to the brain and heart — plus, it’ll be tastier.

Garlic

Although, many don’t realize the high levels of vitamin C found in garlic, but it’s true! Hence, just 1 ounce of garlic, or about three cloves, offers 15 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. Additionally, garlic is plentiful in allicin, a sulfuric compound with strong antioxidants. Last but not least, garlic supplements, particularly aged garlic extract or AGE, may be a suitable replacement to avoid that smelly breath that comes with the fresh stuff.

Salmon 

Even more, a healthy option for solid protein consumption, salmon is also rich in vitamin D and omega-3s that bolster the immune system while also helping reduce the risk of heart disease. To help with the cold and flu season it ads protein to your diet.

Broccoli

If you’re looking for a hearty superfood, broccoli could be your answer. Long touted as one of the healthiest vegetables, broccoli is chock-full of vitamin C, antioxidants and fiber. Because, you’ll also find in these little green trees vitamin A, calcium, potassium and even some protein, which is all good for you.

Sweet potatoes

Because, sweet potatoes can serve as a main course, side dish or a dessert, providing remarkable versatility and superfood powers. One of the world’s top sources of dietary fiber, are high in potassium and contain 100-percent of the RDA for vitamin A. Fact is, about these delicious morsels is they are loaded with choline, that will help you fall asleep, to recover from your illness.

A note from Naoka Nagaya, RD

Fortunately, there is more than one particular food or nutrient to boost your immune system. According to Naoko Nagaya, Registered Dietician at Heritage Victor Valley Medical Group the list above is a just a couple.

Most Importantly, “Each type of fruit and vegetable contains various vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are important to your body function,” Nagaya explains. Lastly, “The key is balancing meals, I think. All in all, my advice is to eat variety and aim to color your plate with various vegetables and fruits in addition to your grains, dairy and protein to fight fatigue and protect your body from getting sick.”

Cold and Flu Season Message from Naoka Nagaya, RD
Naoka Nagaya, RD

Love food? Who doesn’t? Naoko Nagaya, RD and nutrition guru at Heritage, enjoys eating all kinds of foods and uses her experience to help others make solid nutrition choices. Heritage members enjoy free one-on-one consultations with Naoko as she offers coordinated advice for well-rounded plan. Read more here about Nutrition at Heritage.