Flu season – absolutely not the most wonderful time of the year.
But there is hope – and it’s not just in the form of a flu shot, says registered dietitian Jessica Wang, who advises a healthy diet can go a long way in helping ward off nasty bugs.
“British Columbians aren’t taking food-based measures to avoid getting sick this flu season,” says Wang, who works with Loblaw City Markets. “The vast majority believe a balanced diet of vitamin-rich foods plays an important role in maintaining immune function during flu season, yet less than one per cent plan on changing their diet to avoid getting sick.”
Wang adds eating foods packed with vitamins is an important step in maintaining good health and one all Canadians should take this flu season.
“British Columbians are confused,” says Wang. “They don’t know which foods to eat to maintain a nutritious diet during flu season. Getting the right vitamins and minerals is a factor in maintaining immune function – I recommend loading up on foods like citrus, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and seafood.”
Wang offered these tips to keep in mind when browsing your local grocery aisles this fall:
ABCs of Nutrition
- Be Aware of the types of foods and vitamins you need to consume to help maintain good health and immune function.
- Buy ingredients, like citrus, nuts and seeds that can be easily transformed into a variety of simple and easy meal ideas, like salad dressings and nut butters to spread on toast.
- Be Consistent by making healthy food choices a way of life, not just during flu season to maintain optimal health year round.
Know Your Vitamins
- Knowing which vitamins can be found in which foods can help you make good food choices. For example, a majority (78 per cent) of Canadians believe vitamin C is the most important vitamin to take during flu season. However, there are other vitamins to consider too, such as vitamin E – a dietary antioxidant for the maintenance of good health, vitamin A and zinc, which help maintain immune function, and vitamins B12, B6 to help maintain good health.
Reach for the Right Ingredients
- Citrus fruits, beans and legume, nuts and seeds, raw garlic and seafood, including salmon, tuna and trout, are foods that should be staples on everyone’s grocery list because they contain vitamins and nutrients important to maintaining good health and immune function. Canadians should consume citrus foods most during flu season, but it’s important they balance out their diet with these other foods as well.