Saying hello to fall also means saying hello to flu. Along with the flu come missed days at work or school, doctor visits, antibiotics or winding up in ER. Temperature drops often get the best of our family without fail every year, but I am here to tell you this doesn’t have to be the case! By practicing healthy habits, getting the flu shot and stopping the spread of germs, you can slay the flu and stay on top of the “fall spike”. This year, Loblaws wants YOU to get ahead of cold and flu season by stocking up early on foods that contain nutrients that contribute to a strong immune system and good overall health.
RELATED: 4 Tips for Cold and Flu Season
Flu is on the rise, affecting more and more Canadians each year. The number of influenza cases reported in 2017-2018 almost doubled with 15,500 cases compared to the 9,000 last year! This is staggering, you guys.
Keeping this in mind, it is smart to make healthy food choices all year. Protein sources, including meats, eggs, seafood (e.g. salmon, tuna and trout), milk products, legumes, and nuts and seeds, help build and repair body tissues and antibodies. Also, focus on antioxidants in foods such as citrus fruits, beans and legumes, probiotics, nuts and seeds.
Wondering what antioxidants are?
Antioxidants are substances found naturally in food. They help to keep you healthy and may also prevent some chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Now, how can you get more of this bad boy into your diet? There’s only ONE thing you need to do.
Eat more plant foods.
1. Fill your plate with at least 3/4 plant foods.
2. Think of meat as a garnish rather than the focus of the meal. Vitamin Bs, which help to maintain good health, are found in abundance in leafy greens, whole grains and winter squashes, to name a few.
3. Eat 7-10 servings of vegetables and fruits each day. Recommended amount depends on your age and gender.
4. Pick a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables every day. Eat at least one dark green and one orange vegetable every day. Vitamin A, found as beta carotene in orange vegetables like sweet potato and butternut squash, have been shown to help maintain immune function.
5. Include whole grains, nuts and seeds, soy products, dried beans, peas, and lentils more often. Vitamin C and E are antioxidants important for the maintenance of good health and are found in citrus fruits and seeds/nuts respectively.
6. Enjoy vegetarian meals often.
RELATED: Fight the Fall Spike with Loblaws
Okay since we know now how to pack our diet with nutrients and antioxidants to stay healthy during the “Fall Spike”, what else can we do to shoo the flu away?
Dig right in!
Top 5 Tips to Keep your Family Flu-Proof this Year! #LoblawsFluCrew
1. Sleep! And get enough of it!
There is nothing a good sleep can’t fix. As I have written in this space before, relaxation techniques before bedtime go a long way in getting a good night of uninterrupted sleep. Think meditation, reading a good book and turning off all your devices at least 30 minutes before bed. But things change if you are sick or down with flu. It can be hard to lapse into sleep.
Following are some ideas to help you rest comfortably when you are down with flu:
a. Prop yourself up. This helps you breathe better and sleep a bit easier.
b. Use a humidifier or vaporizer to moisturize the air, as the airways tend to be dry and raw with cold and flu.
c. Drink or eat something hot. Breathing the steam from a hot soup can help with dried out nasal pathways and loosen the mucus helping you breathe better.
d. Taking a warm or hot shower before bed can help soothe your tired muscles and take away the tenderness of the body that you are experiencing during the day.
e. Sleeping alone is always a good idea as you will prevent the germs from spreading to your partner and also avoid waking them up with each cough or sneeze.
2. Get active
Physical activities such as a brisk walk or playing sports can help keep your immune system going strong to fight off any viruses you may come in contact with.
3. Try to be stress-free (I know, it’s a tough one!)
A lot of stress wreaks havoc in your body by weakening your immune system. Try to reduce your workload or incorporate activities that help to reduce stress such as yoga or breathing exercises.
Always wash your hands with soap and water for 15 seconds to help avoid spreading and picking up germs.
5. Avoid close contact with anyone who is sick.
Best way to avoid flu is to keep your distance from people who are affected. But this gets harder to follow if your own kids or partner are at the other end. In times like this, the best course of prevention is sticking to your healthy diet, taking multivitamins every day and washing your hands every so often.
Loblaws wants you to have a flu-free season this year!
So head on over to a Loblaw store to book an appointment with one of their in-store registered dietitians for more information on foods that help support good overall and immune health. While you’re there, visit your in-store pharmacist for your flu shot. Visit http://bit.ly/FluCrew2018 for more information.
I am curious. How does your family shoo the flu? Share away!
****Disclosure: This post is written in partnership with Loblaws but thoughts expressed here are my own and honest****