As the seasons change, the common cold is looming all around us. Stuffy noses, used tissues, and coughing fits are on the rise. How can you protect yourself from an interactive world? Where are you safe? Gyms, grocery stores, work, school, family, the coffee shop; all of these places regularly visited can breed bacteria.
How can you prevent yourself from getting knocked on your feet with that “hit by a truck” feeling of sickness?
Use nutrition as your armor! Proper nutrition and eating habits can also help prevent seasonal illness, arthritis pains, allergies, and cancers.
What should your armor be composed of?
- Protein. Protein helps develop our body’s lean muscle mass and serves as a part of a defense mechanism. Choose a variety of lean proteins, such as fish, lean meat, chicken, egg whites, and lean meat. Need more protein ideas? Call and ask one of our Dietitians!
- Vitamin A. This vitamin can help protect us from infection and keep our skin, mouth, stomach, intestines, and respiratory system healthy! You can find vitamin A in orange and yellow foods like sweet potatoes, carrots, and the fall favorite pumpkin, as well as red bell peppers, egg yolks, spinach, and kale.
- Vitamin C. This vitamin helps form antibodies to help protect you from infection! You can find this vitamin in citrus (oranges, grapefruit, tangerines), red bell pepper, papaya, strawberries, tomato juice, and some cereals if fortified. Vitamin C is shown to be fortified in many shelf items and snack foods.
- Vitamin E serves as an antioxidant! It can help get rid of free radicals and improve the immune system. However, Vitamin E is fat soluble, so unless you have a deficiency indicated by lab values, it is not advised to take in supplement form or it can be harmful. So what can you do to consume Vitamin E safely? Choose foods! Fortified cereals, sunflower seeds, almonds, vegetable oils, hazelnuts, peanut butter, and spinach all contain this powerful free radical fighting vitamin!
- Zinc. It can help the immune system work optimally AND help wounds heal! It has also been traced to helping shorten the duration of the common cold. Choose lean meat, poultry, seafood, milk, whole grain products, beans, and nuts. However, Zinc can also be toxic if taken in excess. Ensure that if taken in supplemental form, you discontinue past 14 days.
- Probiotics provide good bacteria to the intestinal tract. Our gut has been known to depict our health. Having a healthier gut can boost our immunity and keep us from reaching for the tissues and cough drops this season!
Do you want to enjoy these fall months without feeling down in the dumps? Do you want to go apple and pumpkin picking, haunted house touring, hay riding, and get lost in the corn maze without having to bring boxes of tissues along with you?
Do you want a personalized meal plan to help further boost your immune system and common cold fighting capabilities?
Call one of our dietitians at Caruso Physical Therapy and Nutrition and come in to create a personalized meal plan! 609-738-3143.
Optimal health is just a phone call away!
Michele Wroblewski, RDN
Caruso Physical Therapy and Nutrition, LLC
1278 Yardville Allentown Rd. Suite 3
Allentown, NJ 08501