Despite the recent balmy weather we’ve been experiencing on the eastern seaboard, winter is not over yet. With winter comes winter colds and flu. The CDC reports that this year’s flu season won’t end for another few weeks.
So, how do you protect your health this winter, and, to be honest, all year round? Prevention is key, says Sara Siskind, certified nutritional health counselor and founder of Hands on Healthy, which is dedicated to educating clients on making the right lifestyle choices in order to look and feel their best every day. To help prevent seasonal colds and flu, she recommends fueling our bodies with immune boosting vitamins and minerals found in a whole food diet.
Following are some of Sara’s tips for keeping healthy by eating well …
Eat colorful fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamins and minerals. Reach for red and pink grapefruits, oranges, kiwis, and berries. Choose cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. These fruits and veggies are not only loaded with essential vitamins and phytonutrients, but they are also rich in antioxidants which give your immune system a boost and help build up your digestive track.
Add in pistachios as a heart healthy, protein rich snack. Pistachios are also rich in antioxidants and the heart healthy fats to help your body absorb vitamin E. Vitamin E is needed by the immune system to fight off invading bacteria. Pistachios are also rich in vitamin B6 which also helps prevent infection and create healthy red blood cells your body needs.
Look for omega 3 fatty acids and selenium which are found in shellfish, salmon, mackerel and herring. These foods help white blood cells produce a protein which helps clear flu viruses out of the body. Omega 3 fatty acids reduce inflammation in the body by clearing the lungs’ pathways. This can help protect from colds and respiratory infections.
Make yogurt your go-to breakfast or snack. Yogurt contains probiotics, “healthy bacteria” that your body needs to keep your immune system strong and keep your digestive system free of disease causing germs. Yogurt is also filled with protein that keeps your body energized and strong.
Spice up your food with turmeric, ginger and cinnamon. These spices are especially known to contain antioxidants that help to protect your cells and keep inflammation in the body down. I add turmeric to soups, eggs, rice, and poultry. Fresh grated ginger brings warmth to any beverage. Cinnamon can be sprinkled on oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, and easily added to anything you bake.
About Sara Siskind
Certified Nutritional Health Counselor, Sara Siskind is the founder of Hands On Healthy, cooking classes for adults, families and teens based in New York. Sara has dedicated her career to educating clients on how food and lifestyle choices affect health, and how to make the right choices to look and feel your best each day. Sara translates the complexity of integrated nutrition into usable tools with easy-to-cook recipes that appeal to the entire family. Sara counsels privately to offer highly customized health and nutrition plans for her clients. She also works with parents on shopping and cooking smarter to create healthier homes. In addition, she teaches beginner to gourmet cooking classes with her signature “toss it in” approach. In addition, Sara regularly works with corporations and non-profit organizations to lead workshops and lectures on healthy eating. Check out her website to learn more.
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