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Tis the Season: Food And Nutrients That Help Fight Off Flu And Colds

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Tis the (Flu) Season and unless your immune system is up on the vitamins it needs, chances are your flu and cold fighting defenses are down.

But if taking a daily sack-load of essential vitamins, minerals and oils sound like too much to swallow, experts say you can get all you need by simply learning how to fend off a cold before you’re faced with feeding one, and that means making healthy choices that help keep YOU healthy.

Vitamin A: The daily recommended allowance is 2,300 international units (IU), and according to experts, the best way to get your daily dose (of vitamin A) is by making menu selections such s cold-water fish (such as salmon), egg yolks, fortified dairy products and veggies, greens, and fruits that are abundant in beta-carotene.

B-Vitamins: For a healthful dose of vitamin B6 (between 1.3 and 1.5 milligrams), fill your plate with meat, poultry, fish, whole grains, dark leafy produce and potatoes. For the recommended amount of B12 (2.4 micrograms daily), eat meat, eggs and dairy products. And if you are over 50, you may also want to consider taking a supplement or up your intake of fortified foods.

Vitamin-E: This essential vitamin (of which you need 22 IU per day) is found in vegetable oils, margarine, nuts, seeds and dark leafy greens.

Iron: It’s suggested that you get 18 milligrams of iron per day if you are younger than 50 and eight milligram if you’re 50 and over. But, experts note that while iron is found in a variety of foods, they are not all equal when it comes to how well they allow for absorption. Iron from meat is easily absorbed, but that’s not necessarily the case with whole grains, legumes, and dark, leafy produce. If you are a vegetarian or eat an abundance of these foods, consider boosting your iron absorption via vitamin-C rich foods.

Zinc: Most meat eaters who also get enough dairy products on a regular basis are likely getting their recommended eight milligrams per day. And experts note that vegetarians should regularly include whole grains and legumes in their diet.

And they add that another way to boost your immune system is to ward off stress through exercise or a brisk walk. Also make sure to wash your hands with hot soapy water, making sure to scrub thoroughly and well.

For those who want “added protection”, experts suggest a balanced multivitamin and mineral supplement, but suggested consulting with a nutrition specialist or physician since an excess of some vitamins can do more harm than good.

Long Island Health, Fitness & Beauty Articles > Tis the Season: Food And Nutrients That Help Fight Off Flu And Colds

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