We’re a month in to the new school year. If you’ve managed to keep your kids upright and well until now, you deserve a medal. After a summer in the fresh air, kids are back in the classroom with their friends, at least 20 of their friends. Friends with germs, snot, bacteria, viruses and MORE. I like to call them little petri dishes.
All of them, mine included.
They come together, share all those germs and get to a general level of gross. Experts call this the Fall Spike (the increase in sickness – ranging from colds to severe asthma flare-up – that is associated with children going back to school, and upcoming flu season). So how can you avoid the flu?
Because let’s face it, avoiding the flu for your kids also helps YOU. There are no air locks that keep their school germs at school. Nope. They bring them home. It’s like one of those 3D art projects they bring home. They do it because they love you but you are left figuring out how to keep it from destroying your house.
So great, we realize we need to avoid the flu, but how does one do that?
Avoid the Flu Tip 1: Focus on Nutrition
We all know that nutrition is important every day. During the fall, though, it is even more important as our bodies try to fight off cold and flu germs. Without proper fuel, our germ fighting machines can’t work! Here are some nutrient rich foods to make sure you have in your diet:
- Citrus Fruit: not only are citrus fruits a good source of Vitamin C, they’re naturally delicious. If fresh fruit is not an option, try frozen – they are just as nutritious and delicious in smoothies, on top of yogurt or cereal. Read the label to make sure they do not come with added salt or sugar.
- Beans and Legumes: boost your protein and zinc intake by including a variety of beans and legumes in your diet.
- Nuts and Seeds: a variety of nuts and seeds during cold and flu season help you benefit from Vitamin E – a dietary antioxidant that helps in the maintenance of good health.
- Probiotic Foods: probiotic foods like kefir or probiotic yogurt contain probiotic bacteria which may modulate immune function. Eating foods that contain probiotics is preferred to taking probiotic supplements because then you also get the other nutrients in the food, like protein and calcium.
Avoid the Flu Tip 2: Get Your Flu Shot
I know, I know…needles. BUT it is a great way to avoid the flu. It is even more important if you or family members are immuno-compromised.
So Where Do I Go?
The great thing is that your local Loblaw store (Real Canadian Superstore or Loblaw’s here in Calgary) can help you out with both of these. Their aisles are full of the foods that have the nutrients you need during flu season and their pharmacists will be administering the flu shot starting in mid-October.
Book a free appointment with a Loblaw in-store Registered Dietitian. They can help you prepare for cold and flu season with nutrient-rich foods and recipes that help support good overall and immune health. Oh and while you’re there, visit your in-store pharmacist for your flu shot.
Stay healthy at there!