What You Eat Can Help Keep You Healthy

By: Rowena Li Email
By: Rowena Li Email

Winter: it's the season for colds, the flu, and many other viruses.

"Last year the vaccination and the flu virus was relatively mild, we didn't really see many cases that needed Tamiflu or anything like that. This year has been quite increased. We've been doing prescriptions like crazy for the Tamiflu," said pharmacist Megan Doughty.

So how can you fight back? Beyond vaccines and medication, health experts say what you eat can make a huge difference.

"Nutrition is vital in keeping your immune system in good working order," said registered dietitian Peg Johnston.

In particular, "superfoods."

"Generally things with deep, dark colors, so blues and purples, and reds and dark greens, vibrant yellow and oranges, those kinds of fruits and vegetables oftentimes fall into that 'superfoods' category, primarily because they're loaded with antioxidants and vitamins A and C and E," explained Johnston.

That's foods like kale, oranges, blueberries, seafood, and nuts. Dietitians say vitamins and supplements can also help as long as you don't take too much.

"There are a lot of nutrients that have established upper limits. They call it the tolerable upper intake level, and when a person starts to consume that much of a nutrient, whether it's from what naturally occurs in foods, or fortified foods or supplements, or any combination of those. The upper limit is when they start to see negative health complications," Johnston said.

And sometimes no matter how many oranges you eat or how carefully you manage you diet, it's still possible to get sick. Health professionals say get medical attention when necessary, but more importantly, make sure to take care of yourself.

"Getting adequate rest, a lot of people get sick because they're sleep-deprived. Drinking plenty of fluids, eating well, exercising," said Johnston.

And the key point experts emphasize?

"The number one thing in general would be to wash hands," said Doughty.


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