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Proper nutrition may help you survive the flu season

September 18, 2009 by  

Proper nutrition may help you survive the flu season While hand-washing and cough-covering is very important, experts are saying there is a range of flu-fighting foods that may help vulnerable individuals get throughout the difficult season.

"[While it is] important to eat a variety of healthy foods from all food groups throughout the year, adding flu-fighting [items] like yogurt, garlic, citrus and chicken to your diet [during flu season] can boost your body’s immune system and help you to avoid getting sick," stresses Andrea Garen, a registered dietitian.

She says yogurt and other cultured milk products contain probiotics – beneficial bacterial strains that have been shown to boost the immune system and promote digestive health.

In addition to live cultures, dairy products are also rich in vitamin D, which has similar immune benefits, and recent research has found many Americans are deficient in the vitamin, which may be linked to a seasonal increase in colds and flu and a higher incidence of respiratory infections.

Crushing garlic cloves before adding them to food to release the garlic juice will also allow one to reap the immune-enhancing benefits of that herb.

Finally, any immunity-boosting diet should include citrus fruits that are rich in vitamin C as well as chicken, meat and peanuts that contain zinc.

For those who are too busy to regularly consume immunity-enhancing foods there are nutritional supplements with vitamins C and D that can lower the risk of getting the flu.


Spencer Cameron

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  • s c

    The importance of a strong immune system can’t be overstated. If your immune system is strong, you can count on better health, less time needed to get better (if you do get sick), less money wasted on MDs who refuse to believe that a strong immune system has any relevance in health care, fewer games with insurance firms, and you will have the satisfaction of knowing that self-education plays a major role in getting and staying healthy.
    Take care of yourselves, people. If you lose your health, you’ll lose it only once. It’s a very expensive lesson – literally and figuratively.

  • Jack Lovett

    I would add that eating seeds and the pits from fruits Is also valuble in helping to avoid more serious aliments such as cancer. (Mainly the apricot pit) Great source of B-17. Or one can take the purified form known as Laitrile.


  • ramil_arc

    Vitamin D, “the sunshine vitamin,” may very well be one of the most beneficial vitamins there is for disease prevention. Unfortunately it’s also one of the vitamins that a vast majority of people across the world are deficient in due to lack of regular exposure to sunshine.

    The hypothesis presented by Dr. John Cannell and colleagues in the paper Epidemic Influenza and Vitamin D actually makes a lot of sense.
    They raise the possibility that influenza is a symptom of vitamin D deficiency!

    The vitamin D formed when your skin is exposed to sunlight regulates the expression of more than 2,000 genes throughout your body, including ones that influence your immune system to attack and destroy bacteria and viruses. Hence, being overwhelmed by the “flu bug” could signal that your vitamin D levels are too low, allowing the flu virus to overtake your immune system.

    I often find that some of the simplest explanations are the truest, and this sounds about as simple as it gets. And, getting appropriate amounts of sunshine (or taking a vitamin D supplement when you can’t get healthy amounts of sun exposure) is one of my KEY preventive strategies against the cold and flu, as it has such a strengthening effect on your immune system.

    In addition to what are mentioned in the above article, another useful supplement you could try, should you come down with a case of the flu, is olive leaf extract, which you can find in most any health food store. Olive leaf extract has been found to be a potent broad-spectrum antiviral agent, active against all viruses tested, including numerous strains of influenza and para-influenza viruses.

    • Kathy

      I hear this all the time however no one ever seems to say how many hours of sunlight are required to get the right amount of vit D nor do they say how much Vit C one must take as a supplement or drink as a juice on a daily basis…can you please tell me?

      thank you!

      • Bob Livingston

        Writing in his book, The Vitamin D Cure, James E. Dowd, M.D., says there is no one-size-fits-all amount of sun exposure required to maintain adequate levels of Vitamin D without supplementation. The amount varies by age, size, skin type and latitude. He writes that today’s urbanized life-style prohibits most people from getting the proper amount of sunshine, and wearing long sleeves and wide-brimmed hats and using sunscreen with a SPF of as low as eight would prevent a person from getting the proper amount of sunshine. His book contains a chart that can help you determine how much you would need, or you can go online to Dr. Dowd’s Vitamin D sunlight calculator at to determine how much is recommended for you. He does write that those who regularly use tanning beds usually have adequate levels of Vitamin D in their systems.

        In regard to Vitamin C, it has been generally established that 2,000 mg per day of Vitamin C is the proper dose for healthy adults, according to Michael Cutler, M.D.
        Best wishes,

  • Aldo Hanken

    The leaves of the olive tree have been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times, and research has suggested that olive leaf extracts have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Now it also appears that a supplement containing olive leaf extract could help lower blood pressure and cholesterol…

    My favorite web-site


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