5 foods that can help you prevent the flu

2019-20 Winter is almost here and Flu will be here soon, if it has not already? But you are ready and stocked up on cold medicine, sanitizers and anti-bacterial soaps.  However, did you know that what you put on your plate can also help you defend against this seasonal endemic?

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The food you eat impacts your immune system which in turn affects your body’s ability to fight the virus.

  1. What is the Immune System? According to Canadian Immunization Guide:  “An antigen is substance that the body recognizes as foreign and that triggers immune responses.”

And, “Antibodies are proteins that are produced in response to antigens introduced into the body.  Antibodies protect the body from disease,” Simply put, the flu virus is the antigen and your body’s immune system produces antibodies to fight these antigens.

  1. How to boost your immune system?

Did you know that every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when protected from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy-living strategies such as these:

Don’t smoke

Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetable and whole grains, and low in saturated fat.

Exercise regularly.

Maintain a healthy weight a healthy weight.

Control your blood pressure.

Consume alcohol in moderation

Get adequate sleep

Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking           meats thoroughly.

Get regular medical screening tests for people in your age group and risk


  1. Can you by something to boost your immune system?

The Harvard Medical study warns to be skeptical of products that claim to boost immunity.

“Many products on store shelves claim to boost or support immunity.  But the concept of boosting immunity actually makes little sense scientifically.  In fact, boosting the number of cells in your body – immune cells or others – is not necessarily and good thing.  For example, athletes who engage in “ blood doping” – pumping blood into their systems to boost their number of blood cells and enhance their performance – run the risk of strokes.”

In general, if something is good for your overall health e.g. good nutrition, it is good for your immune system.

Vitamin D and Flu

According to a study conducted by Dr. Adit Ginde of the University of Colorado and published in Archives of Internal Medicine, Vitamin D boosts immune system and people with low levels of this vitamin in their blood are the most likely to catch colds

Also, according to StatsCan about 32% of Canadians have vitamin D in their blood that is below the required limit.

Here’s the recommended dosage of vitamin D by Health Canada:

The best source of Vitamin D is the Sun which is at premium in Canada during the winter months!

But, you can get your daily recommended dosage of Vitamin D from you diet by choosing the below foods.

Age Range Recommended

per day

Infants 0-6 months 400 IU
Infants 7-12 months 400 IU
Children 1-3 years 600 IU
Children 4-8 years 600 IU
Children and Adults
9-70 years
600 IU
Adults > 70 years 800 IU
Pregnancy & Lactation 600 IU

5 Foods high in Vitamin D

  • Dairy: Milk and other dairy products are required to be fortified with Vitamin D.
  • Fish: Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon are considered to be one of the only two natural sources of Vitamin D in the Canadian food supply
  • Egg Yolk: Egg Yolk along with fish makes up two natural sources of Vitamin D, in the Canadian food supply
  • Organ meats: such as beef or chicken liver
  • Mushrooms: they are the only vegetable that naturally contains Vitamin D, although in very small quantity of about 7IU in 100g.  A normal person should consume 600 IU’s of Vitamin D daily

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