Are you ready for the fall? I know I am!

Summer is over and we need to be prepared mentally and physically for the new season.

According to statistics, people get sick more often in colder weather. Situations in which people are crowded together are more common during autumn and winter. Everyone wants to stay inside and avoid the harsh weather; students are back to school and mingling with each other leading to a higher risk of catching the flu.

Some research also suggests that lower temperatures allow some viruses to flourish as they spread more effectively in cold and dry air.

The good news is that we can protect ourselves against catching the flu while following best practices such as proper handwashing techniques, avoiding smoking and alcohol, eating a varied and healthy diet, and getting enough sleep and exercising.

You might be familiar with the Canadian Food Guide[1], or you might not, but following the provided recommendations that the guide enlists, particularly when it comes to consuming fruits and vegetables that are loaded with vitamins and minerals, will save you a lot of flu tears and nose blowing.

Our immune system has favoured some vitamins and minerals over others.

Fair consumption of guava, oranges, grapefruits, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussel sprouts can provide you vitamin C, one of the best immune system boosters.

In the fall, when we are missing our quality time with the sun, we are more prone to vitamin D deficiency because our skin needs sun rays to produce Vitamin D which modulates the innate and adaptive immune responses. It is very efficient to supplement your body with vitamin D specifically in deficient individuals as they are more prone to infections.

Vitamin B6-rich foods like chicken, beef liver, salmon, tuna, chickpeas, and potatoes, will support the biochemical reactions in the immune system.

Time to start Zincing! Zinc helps the immune system work properly and it may help wounds to heal. Increase your intake of seafood, meat, seeds, cooked dried beans, nuts, peas, and lentils, to assure you get enough Zinc.

Vitamin A regulates the immune system and protects it from infections. Consuming some animal food sources such as liver, dairy products, fish and plant food sources such as sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots, and squash can provide you with Vitamin A.
Plant foods contain carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, that gets converted to vitamin A in the body.

In addition to making sure that you are consuming sufficient amount of vitamins and minerals, you can protect your body against infections through the consumption of garlic, which has antimicrobial properties.

Tea! You can’t go wrong with drinking it. Tea provides you with antioxidant properties and helps in reducing cold and flu symptoms. Wrap yourself with your warm winter blanket and enjoy a cup of Ginger, Echinacea or elderberry. For all coffee lovers, you can substitute your cup of coffee with Chaga tea, a title holder of medicinal mushrooms.

Unfortunately, a big number of persons do not meet daily nutritional needs, therefore completing healthy food with natural supplements is the answer to building a strong immune system that will reduce our chances of catching a common cold.

For you who suffer from deficiencies or do not meet the nutritional recommendations, a good multivitamin can play a major role in supporting your immune system.

 

[1] Health Canada. “Canada’s Food Guides.” Canada.ca, Health Canada, 1 Sept. 2016, www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/canada-food-guides.html.

 

Story by Syed Rizvi