It happened every single Christmas for years. Between the germs I encountered as a teacher and the germs my daughter encountered in her class, we never made it through a holiday without one or usually both of us getting sick. One year, just a couple days before Christmas my daughter broke her scaphoid (wrist bone) while ice skating AND we both got the flu. Then there was the year my sister and her family came to spend the holidays with us and brought the flu with them. It passed through the entire extended family (except me – never could figure out why I didn’t get it but I was grateful). The whole holiday season was so busy – we didn’t sleep enough, we weren’t eating properly, we were stressed – and it would always finally catch up with us. Bleh.
No one wants to miss out on the fun of the holiday season because they’re sick with the flu.
So it’s bad enough (for our immune systems) that we aren’t taking care of ourselves properly leading up to the big day, but then we’ve got kisses under the mistletoe, clinking glasses of eggnog, and just being around more people in general. They are fun holiday traditions but with them comes the spread of germs and the flu virus. We already had to reschedule one family Christmas event because of illness and we still have 12 days to go! That’s why it’s so important, now even more than the rest of the year, to keep your body armed with the nutrients needed to help ward off germs and maintain good overall and immune health.
1) Let’s start by stocking up on foods that contain nutrients that contribute to good overall and immune health during the holidays and flu season:
It’s very important to make healthy food choices all year, but even more so over the holidays and during flu season, to ensure you’re getting the nutrients your body needs.
Nutrient Rich Foods
Citrus Fruit: not only are citrus fruits a good source of vitamin C, they’re also naturally delicious. If fresh fruit is not an option, try frozen – they are just as nutritious and delicious in smoothies, on top of yogurt or cereal or added to your favourite holiday recipe. Read the label to make sure they do not come with added salt or sugar. Vitamin C is an antioxidant for the maintenance of good health and a factor in the maintenance of good health.
Orange Vegetables: Vitamin A, found as beta carotene in orange vegetables like sweet potato and butternut squash, has been shown to help maintain immune function.
Beans and Legumes: boost your protein and zinc intake by including a variety of beans and legumes in your diet. Zinc helps maintain immune function. Protein helps build and repair body tissues and antibodies.
Nuts and Seeds: a variety of nuts and seeds during cold and flu season help you benefit from vitamin E – a dietary antioxidant that helps in the maintenance of good health. Vitamin E is an antioxidant for the maintenance of good health and a factor in the maintenance of good health.
Probiotic foods: probiotic foods like kefir or probiotic yogurt contain probiotic bacteria which may modulate immune function. Eating foods that contain probiotics is preferred to taking probiotic supplements because then you also get the other nutrients in the food, like protein and calcium. Probiotics modulate the intestinal and systemic immune systems.
Leafy Green Vegetables, Whole Grains, and Winter Squashes: These contain Vitamin B12 and B6 which are both factors in the maintenance of good health.
Maintain good health this winter by including these foods on your grocery list. From the food aisle to the pharmacy, your local Loblaws store has great products to help you maintain health during the holidays.
2) The flu shot is the best way to prevent the flu, and will be available through our in-store pharmacists at Loblaws stores across the country.
· Influenza is a serious illness that can affect healthy people and those with health problems. In some cases, it can lead to hospitalization and even death. Help prevent the spread of influenza by maintaining a healthy diet and getting your flu shot.
· There are three easy tips to help protect yourself and your family this fall and winter: eat well, wash your hands frequently, and get the flu shot. For more tips, check out these blog posts:
- Healthy Eating to Boost Your Immune System During Flu Season (Or Anytime)
You still have time before Christmas gets here to book a free appointment with one of Loblaws in-store registered dietitians for more information on foods that help support good overall and immune health this winter. While you’re there, visit your in-store pharmacist for your flu shot.
Looking for a great way to add more nutrients to your healthy eating plan? Try this nutrient-rich recipe for Tunisian Vegetable Bean Soup, courtesy of President’s Choice.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Ready in: 55 minutes
3 T. PC New World EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cups chopped onions
2 cups diced carrots
2 cups diced zucchini
salt and pepper to taste
1 T. minced garlic
1/2 cup PC Memories of Tunisia Red Pepper Harissa Sauce
1 pkg. (900 ml) PC Blue Menu Chicken Broth
1 can (540 ml) PC Blue Menu White Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
2 bay leaves
4 cups loosely packed kale
1/2 cup PC Olive Oil and Sea Salt Labneh Middle Eastern Style Dip and Spread
1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onions 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until softened and light golden. Stir in carrots, zucchini, 1/2 tsp of the salt and the pepper. Cook 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently, or until vegetables are tender-crisp. Stir in garlic. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring, until fragrant.
2. Pour in the Memories sauce. Cook, stirring, until sauce is slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Stir in broth, beans, bay leaves and remaining 1 tsp salt; bring to a boil. Stir in kale; reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, covered, 10 to 12 minutes or until kale is tender.
3. Remove and discard bay leaves. Divide soup among eight bowls; top each with a 1 tbsp dollop of labneh. Serve with warmed pita bread, if desired.
Makes 8 servings
Per serving: 240 calories, fat 11 g, sodium 700 mg, carbohydrate 27 g, fibre 7 g, protein 10 g
PRO TIP: Substitute canned chickpeas for the white kidney beans, if desired.