It's flu season again, so most people get a flu shot and strive to stay healthy. But can certain foods or supplements boost the immune system and help with that "staying healthy" goal?
While having a healthy immune system is a plus during the season of colds and flu, consider these tips for keeping your immune system strong throughout the year.
Focus on a balanced eating plan.
Don't skip meals, so your body stays well-fueled. Aim for five to nine servings of vegetables and fruits daily to provide those immune-boosting vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. A serving of fruit is one medium piece of fresh fruit, 1 cup of berries or melon, or 1/2 cup of canned fruit packed in its own juice. A serving of vegetables is 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw. Getting these nutrients from foods versus vitamin or mineral supplements is always best. Many herbal remedies are marketed to help fight colds or shorten their duration, but check with a health care professional before taking any supplements or medications. And don't forget fluids. Remember to drink adequate fluids throughout the day. Plain water is best.
Crack down on spreading germs.
Good hygiene and hand-washing help prevent the spread of germs. Remember to wash produce before eating or using it in recipes. Clean glasses, forks, spoons and other utensils to reduce the spread and growth of bacteria.
Increase sleep, reduce stress.
Getting adequate sleep and managing stress can be just as important as healthy eating to prevent the flu.
-- Adults should get seven to nine hours of sleep each day, while children need eight to 14 hours, depending on age.
-- Healthy ways to cope with stress include meditating, listening to music or journaling.