What to Eat During Cold and Flu Season

what to eat during cold and flu season this yearThe big question is back, as we ask what to eat during cold and flu season to give our immune systems the best nourishment for our health.  The answer hasn’t changed much over the years, though it has been fine tuned as research continues to examine the impact of various foods and nutrients on our wellness, particularly at this time of the year.

Here is What to Eat During Cold and Flu Season

This year offers some particular complexity, as the common cold and the flu (influenza) are certainly not the only kind of virus still circulating.  That said, it helps to explain why it’s even more of a popular topic this season than it has been in previous years.  What to eat during cold and flu season is, after all, one of the ways we can make choices in our everyday lives that can ensure we will remain as healthy as possible.

It’s important to note that what you eat during cold and flu season won’t determine whether or not you catch a virus.  That’s simply not how the immune system works.  If you’re exposed to a virus, you may catch it regardless of the strength of your immune system. However, when you eat the right nutrients and take other steps such as being regularly active or taking an immune system supplement, then you nourish your body in a way that will ready it to fight disease when exposure does happen.

What Difference Does Eating Right Make?

You may be wondering why you should go to all the effort of finding out what kind of nutrition you need when colds and the flu are in the air, and why change your habits if it won’t stop you from getting sick.  Some research suggests that the right nutrition may not stop you from catching a virus if you are exposed to it, but it could help to reduce symptoms and/or the duration of your illness.

Which Foods Are Best to Eat During Cold and Flu Season?

There is no magical food that will do all the work for you.  What you eat during cold and flu season is beneficial when it comprises your meals and snacks as a whole, not just making sure that you add one single ingredient to your smoothie in the morning.

The idea is to focus on ensuring that you’re getting a well-rounded variety of nutritious foods such as colorful vegetables and fruits, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats. If you choose those foods in a nutritious balance – consult the USDA’s MyPlate for helpful general nutrition tips.

What Else Can You Do to Support Your Immune System?

While what you eat during cold and flu season can make a meaningful difference to the support your immune system, it’s not the only thing you can do to help keep yourself healthy.  Regular physical activity – even just taking a brisk walk outside – can give your immune system a boost, as can taking a good quality supplement.  Moreover, washing your hands regularly will help to reduce your exposures in the first place.  It seems too simple to be effective, but it makes a substantial difference.

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