Fight the Flu with Food

Fight the Flu with FoodYou’ve taken your kids for their flu shots, you’ve stocked up on antibacterial soap and you’ve instructed your children to cough in their sleeve, to not share any drinks and to run for the hills when someone sneezes. But, is the food they are eating also helping to prevent the illnesses so prevalent at this time of year? Providing your family with foods known to boost the immune system will go a long way toward fighting off cold and flu causing germs.
You can find healthy foods your kids will enjoy.

Increase foods rich in antioxidants. Foods with high levels of beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin E appealing to kids are:

• broccoli
• carrots
• corn
• peaches, sweet potato
• tomatoes
• mango
• peppers
• berries

Zinc and selenium are also known to aid in immune health. They can be found in:

• red meat
• poultry
• fortified cereals and breads
• shellfish

Yogurt is a great source of probiotics.

Studies show garlic is great at fighting off the common cold.

• Serve veggies raw.
Keep them on hand at all times. When kids are hungry, they will grab what is accessible. Raw vegetables provide more nutrients than cooked ones.

• Offer a variety of food. Variety ensures your kids are getting all the vitamins they need and will help to develop their palate, so they enjoy a lifetime of healthy eating.

• Cut down on sugary snacks and eliminate sugary drinks. Sugar can decrease the body’s ability to fight off infection. Try to reserve treats for special occasions.

• It is o.k. to doctor vegetables with butter or cheese once in a while. While this may not be the healthiest way to ingest produce, it will allow a picky eater to get their daily dose and will get them used to the taste and texture.

• Increase water intake. Just because they are not out in the hot sun anymore, doesn’t mean they can’t dehydrate. Ensure your kids get enough water every day by encouraging them to have an 8 ounce glass first thing in the morning and before each meal or snack.

• Make sure they are getting enough sleep.

• Regular exercise is important to maintaining a healthy immune system.

• Be in tune to your child’s stress levels. Even young children can suffer from stress, which can decrease the effectiveness of their immune system.

Speaking of stress, having a child sick with the flu or a stomach bug during the next couple of months will cause your stress level to shoot sky-high. Prevention is key for a healthier, happier holiday season. Encouraging smart habits now is an early holiday gift for your whole family.

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Author: Karen Latimer

Karen is a Family Doctor, mom of five and founder of Tips From Town.


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