By Zoe Bingley-Pullin
Healthy living, regular exercise and reducing stress are vital in helping the immune system fight the flu. So take good care of your mind and body and watch what you’re eating, especially during the flu season.
Zinc is found in oysters, beef, milk, nuts and seeds, and in pill supplements. The recommended daily allowance is 15mg, and can be delivered in one tablet. Increasing your consumption of raw and unsalted nuts is also an easy way to increase your daily intake of zinc.
Antioxidants and vitamin C
Antioxidants and vitamin C are very effective in preventing and reducing the duration of colds and flu. During an infection, phagocytic leukocytes are activated and produce oxidising compounds, which are released from the cells. Vitamin C reacts with these oxidants and decreases their inflammatory effects.
The daily-recommended allowance of vitamin C is 1,000mg and can be found in foods such as blackcurrants, citrus fruits, parsley, capsicum, broccoli, strawberries, rosehips, raw cabbage, kiwi fruit and potatoes.
Garlic has been proven to have fantastic fighting ability when it comes to preventing and killing the flu. Its high antiviral properties help to kill the flu virus.
Excessive consumption of fats or trans-fatty acids such as animal fats, heated oils and dairy suppresses the immune system. Trans-fatty acids interfere with the function of the immune system and make it less responsive. They are found in oils that have been heated, fried foods and are hidden in cakes, biscuits and donuts, so steer clear of them.
Switch to good fats. Essential fatty acids and omega fats such as flax seed oil and extra virgin olive oil are found in avocado, fish and raw nuts and seeds.
Reduce your caffeine consumption. Caffeine is a stimulant and puts the body into an unnecessary state of stress. Long-term use of coffee suppresses the immune system. Try alternatives such as water and lemon, green tea, dandelion tea, ecco and other herbal teas.
Regular and moderate exercise stimulates the immune system. Although, don’t work out too hard as excessive strenuous exercise and endurance circuits impair the function of the immune system. When you do exercise, limit your workouts to four times per week with sessions lasting between 30 minutes to one hour.
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