How do we know school is back in full swing? Germs are making their way around and we’re seeing more and more of our friends and family coming down with the cold or flu.  Cold and flu prevention matters year round, so we need to make it healthy choices and taken preventative steps to protect not only ourselves but our families.

The dreaded ‘Fall Spike’ means an increase of illnesses ranging from colds to severe asthma flare-ups and more! In 2015, more than 5,000 Canadians were hospitalized with the flu, including more than 1,500 kids.  This year Loblaw has deployed the Flu Crew to assist in amplifying their flu message to help keep our families healthy.  I am thankful this year to be a member of the Flu Crew!

A study from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology also shows a link between peaks in asthma hospitalizations and higher rates of respiratory tract infection after students return to school, particularly after the summer vacation.

How can you help prevent being another number in those statistics? Load up on healthy food that contains nutrients that contribute to good overall and immune health during the Fall Spike and leading into cold and flu season. For example, Vitamin C and E are antioxidants important for the maintenance of good health. Vitamin A has been shown to help maintain immune function. Vitamin B12 and B6 are both factors in the maintenance of good health, and Zinc,the one I forget about quite often, has also been shown to help maintain immune function.

What kind of food contains these vitamins you ask? Vitamin C and E can be found in citrus fruits and seeds/nuts, respectively, while zinc, which can be found in nuts and seeds.  Vitamin A is found as beta carotene in orange vegetables like sweet potato and butternut squash and the B vitamins are found in abundance in leafy greens, whole grains, and winter squash.

In addition to loading up on food that contains those vitamins, we should also be looking at some probiotics. There is compelling research that shows probiotics help modulate the immune system, making these an essential factor as well. Ensure that adequate protein is being consumed which is found in meats, eggs, and seafood.  Protein is also found in many milk products, legumes, nuts, and seeds it helps build and repair body tissues and antibodies.

There are plenty of child-friendly recipes that will also provide plenty of ways to discreetly introduce veggies that are high in these vitamins without having the fighting and hassle from picky eaters! I try to ensure our meals have ingredients of many different colours and textures. By adding the same vitamin loaded vegetables into multiple meals, it helps get the family accustomed to eating them.

Both Ava and I have been sick with the cold within the last few weeks and it really made me step back and evaluate the food we are consuming as well as our hand washing practices!  I was suddenly struck down with the cold when the email first came in asking me to be a part of the Flu Crew and to share their message with you. Knowing how terrible I felt, I could not resist sharing their message with you in hopes that you can prevent feeling as awful as we did!

So from the food aisle to the pharmacy, our local Real Canadian Superstore has great products to help us maintain good health during cold and flu season. The in-store dietitians can help you prepare for cold and flu season with nutrient-rich foods and recipes that help support good overall and immune health. The flu shot is the best way to prevent the flu and is available through in-store pharmacists at Superstores across the country starting in mid-October. I’m going to get mine this year, especially after getting the flu last year! Do you and your family do flu shots?

Book a free appointment with an in-store registered dietitian for more information on foods that help support good overall and immune health, and while you’re there, visit your in-store pharmacist for your flu shot.

Nutrient Rich Foods Flu Crew

This post was sponsored by Loblaw for being a part of the Flu Crew and sharing their message.

 

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