Here it comes, you can feel it. The days are shorter and more people are crowded onto the bus coughing and sneezing all over you. Teachers and day care providers are making a run for alcohol hand sanitizer and there are flu shot clinics springing up everywhere.
What you really want is to know is whether you can arm yourself to prevent the darned flu from taking you and your family out of the game for days. There are simple things that you can do to help prevent and/or shorten the sickness and they are pretty easy to implement. Try this:
Include probiotics daily-there is good evidence that keeping the gut flora healthy helps ensure that bugs can’t adhere to the lining of the intestine. Stomach bugs be gone.
- Fermented foods contain “good bacteria”: yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut
- Supplement with a good pro-biotic be sure they are shelf stable and/or stay refrigerated throughout. These guys are alive and you want them to stay that way.
Get as much zinc from foods as you can as it is a mineral that factors into overall immunity and repair of cells. Suck on zinc lozenge supplements any time someone around you is sick.
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Tahini and other seed butters
- Supplement with zinc gluconate lozenges
High vitamin D is a must. You can get small amounts from foods and your sunshine intake over the summer can be stored up a bit but by February in Canada, you need a little help. If a trip to the sunshine isn’t in the stars, think about adding some liquid D.
- Look for fortified dairy and dairy like products
- Increase fatty fish
- Fish roe (caviar) is a good source
- Taramasalata is a widely available Greek dip made with fish roe
- Supplement daily with 1000 iu – (one drop of Vitamin D provides 1000 iu)
Eat a high vitamin C diet. More than ever, we need fruit and all of the nutrients that it provides. The highest sources are below but avoid dried or cooked fruits as their vitamin C is diminished.
- Blueberries (even frozen)
- Oranges and other fruits
- Supplement with chewables (be sure to brush afterward, they are corrosive to tooth enamel)
It bears repeating that you do want an overall healthy diet that avoids sugar which can suppress the immune system, excessive caffeine which can interfere with zinc absorption and processed foods.
If you are up for a bit of fun, think about whipping up this high vitamin D dip whose foundation is leftover mashed potatoes. Yum!
This traditional Greek dip is best made with fresh garlic, fresh lemon and true extra virgin olive oil, but using garlic powder, bottled juice and non-extra virgin olive oil is better than not making the dip at all. Starting with leftover mashed potatoes is quick, but if you don’t have any on hand, simply bake a whole potato in the microwave and scoop out the pulp to cool before proceeding.
Preparation time: 5 minutes
- 1/4 cup cod or carp roe
- 1 cup mashed potatoes
- 1 clove garlic, mashed
- 1/3 cup cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 tsp honey
- pinch cayenne
- pinch oregano
In a small food processor, mix roe with mashed potatoes and garlic. Blend in olive oil and lemon juice. Add honey and seasonings. Add water by the teaspoon if needed to thin.