Monday, October 17, 2011

Everybody's got the flu- Be unique!

October’s here. It’s the time of the year when you run into people with red noses, carrying a box of tissue and telling you to keep your distance because they’ve got… THE FLU! 
Panic mode: you start shoving vitamin C supplements down your throat; you carry an antibacterial gel everywhere you go; and you discover all kinds of tea there are on the market!
Even though it is not what you want to hear, but nothing can fully protect you from the flu. However, you can always take protective measures to decrease the risk of catching this annoying and alienating disease.

The relationship between diet and flu…
The flu is an acute contagious viral infection characterized by the inflammation of the respiratory tract. Its common symptoms are cough, sneeze, runny nose, fever, chills, muscular pain and weakness.
Even though no specific food has shown it can prevent the flu, a healthy diet can boost the immune system and help the body fight viral infections more efficiently.

Flu prevention diet
Fruits and vegetables
They provide enough vitamins and minerals that allow the good functioning of the immune system: vitamins A, C and E as well as zinc and selenium. Vary you fruits and veggies and keep in mind that spinach and bell pepper have proven to be very protective from the flu.
But why don’t you just take supplements? Isn’t it easier and more efficient? Well, not really. Fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals (antioxidant compounds that have a very positive effect on health). They help boost your immune system and give you a better protection. Go for dark green, red and yellow fruits and vegetables.
Research has proven that having a cup of yogurt a day can decrease risk of catching the flu by 25%. In fact, yogurt and all fermented dairy products contain probiotics, beneficial bacteria that stimulates the immune system.
It is known for its antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. A daily consumption of 2 garlic cloves can help you prevent infections. And don’t be scared we have the right techniques to remove garlic smell!
They seem to increase activity of white blood cells that are directly related to the immune system. One serving can also provide 50% of selenium daily needs and 15% of zinc daily needs.
Animal products
Even though it seems like we’re encouraging a vegetarian diet, you shouldn’t forget your protein intake. In fact, meat, fish, poultry and dairy products are very important. The proteins they provide will break down into amino acids, necessary for building components of the immune system.
You were right about that! Black tea and green tea seem to decrease incidence of flu. In fact drinking 5 cups of black tea was related to 10 times higher levels of virus-fighting compounds. Grean tea is suspected to have the same effect. So drink up and don’t forget to hydrate yourself. You need around 8 glasses of water a day because, with all that tea, you will be using the restrooms more often ;)
They provide you with vitamin E and selenium. Thus they are good protectors from the flu. You just need a handful of nuts as a snack and you’re good to go!

Behavioral modifications
Take it easy!
Stress has been related to many illnesses including the flu. So try to reduce it by spending a part of your day doing something you love or maybe just sitting and staring at the wall. Do whatever makes you feel at ease!
Sleep on it
This is the only way to recharge your immunity system. In fact, if your body is tired, it will have no strength to fight off infections. So sleep on an average of 8 hours every day for a better health.
Walk it off…
A daily 30 minute walk can boost the immune system and reduce stress. If you can prolong your activity, it would be even better! However, don’t overdo it. More than 90 minutes a day can have the opposite effect and make you more susceptible to viral infections.
Wash hands
A procedure as simple as washing your hands with warm water and soap can help you reduce greatly the risk of viral infections.

Vitamin C and the common cold
It seems that the common cold is related immediately to vitamin C supplements in our minds. Does that mean it’s true? Well, according to recent studies, vitamin C supplementation has shown a very small benefit in the common cold. It can shorten the duration of less than a day per cold in those taking at least 1g/day.
Apparently, at least 2g/day are necessary in order to create a significant effect. And let’s say that 2g of vitamin C is not risk free!

Every day of our lives, we are exposed to infectious germs. We cannot wear shields and protect ourselves. But we can always have a healthy diet that can reduce as much as possible the risk of infection!



Krikorian said...

Thank you for this :D I did spend my whole weekend in bed ! FLU

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