Five tips to beat the flu before it begins

School’s back in session and that means flu season is right around the corner. Even if you’ve got the perfect flu-free streak going, it’s important to take steps to prevent the flu so that you don’t risk spreading it to someone who can’t afford to get sick.

Children, seniors, children, people who are pregnant or have chronic medical conditions are especially vulnerable to the flu. Let’s beat the odds this season with a few handy tips to boost immunity from Jacklyn Villeneuve, a registered dietitian:

  1. Eat nutrient-rich foods. Eating well is one of the best ways to ensure that your body has the nutrients it needs for a strong immune system. Foods like citrus fruits and sweet peppers, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, and probiotics such as yogurt are rich in essential vitamins C, E, and zinc, which are helpful allies in fighting off sickness. Consuming nutrient-rich foods over supplements provides the added benefit of also containing things like fibre, calcium and/or healthy fats, but before consuming any of these nutrient-rich foods, don’t forget to wash your hands.
  2. Get a good night’s sleep. When your body is well-rested, it’s more equipped to combat foreign germs that attack your immune system. Make sure to get lots of rest before you start feeling ill to keep your immune system ready for whatever comes your way.
  3. Stay active. Working out has more benefits than just helping you stay in shape. Staying active can also help boost your immune system, leading to a less likely chance that the flu will knock you down. People who exercise regularly may get fewer colds and recover faster.
  4. Minimize stress. Opposite to exercise, stress depletes the immune system. For this reason, it’s important to try to minimize your stress levels, especially at high-risk times. Both stress and the flu take a toll on the body, and experiencing one makes it more likely that you will experience the other. Try practicing yoga or meditation to encourage relaxation.
  5. Get your flu shot. While the above steps are important in helping us boost our immune systems, did you know that 70 to 90 per cent of flu cases can be avoided through vaccination? The best thing you can do is to get your shot each fall to beat the odds and help protect those around us who can’t risk getting the flu.

Need help in your quest to prevent the flu? Your local Loblaws in-store registered dietitian is there to help with personal consultations and shop-with-a-dietitian services. Book your appointment today at bookadietitian.ca.