Fighting winter colds and flu

Diet is key

With reports that this year’s flu epidemic is the worst in eight years, are you sick of being struck down every time colds and flus do the rounds? Are you tired of getting every winter bug going? Would you like some tips on how to cold and flu-proof your diet? If the answer is yes, then please read on!

1. Start your day with a healthy breakfast. Something like porridge or wholegrain cereal with low fat milk, or wholegrain toast would be ideal. This will give your body the fuel it needs to recover from fasting overnight and give your immune system the energy it needs to fight off infection.

2. Boost your intake of antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables. Why not get these with some nourishing winter staples like chunky vegetable and lentil soup or casseroles made with lean meat and seasonal vegetables such as carrot, turnip, or parsnip. If you don’t feel like eating fresh fruit, why not try stewing or baking for extra comfort through these cold winter days!

3. For a healthy immune system, zinc-rich foods are also recommended. These include lean red meat, fish and poultry, wholegrain cereals, legumes, low fat dairy products, and nuts so aim to include these regularly in your diet.

4. Drink plenty of fluids and keep up with exercise. Vitamin C rich drinks are often pushed as the fluid of choice to ward off a cold or flu. While it is not clear how much of an effect this really has, vitamin C, as found in a lot of fruit and veg and their juices, is a good choice as it is an antioxidant which the body uses to stay healthy.

So cold and flu-proof your diet now, ensure good exercise and sleep, and give your body the best chance you can to avoid being struck down this winter!

For more information, please contact: Community Nutrition & Dietetic Service, HSE Dublin Mid Leinster, Marlinstown Office Park, Mullingar, Co Westmeath. Phone (044 ) 9353220.


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