Beat the Bug

by Roberta Duyff, MS RDN FAND

Beat the Bug

The flu season is at your doorstep. How can you protect yourself? The best defense is a year-round offense: Eat smart, stay active, get enough rest, reduce stress.

Which nutrients enhance immunity? Several may play key roles: beta carotene in deep-yellow fruits and veggies and dark-green leafy greens; vitamin B6 in whole grains, legumes, chicken and pork; vitamin C in citrus fruit, berries, melon, tomatoes and broccoli; vitamin E in wheat germ and nuts; protein in dairy foods, meat, poultry, fish and legumes; selenium in meat and seafood; zinc in beef and seafood. Friendly bacteria in yogurt with live cultures also help build immunity.

Herbals? Use caution. Taken longer than several weeks, some herbals (including echinacea and panax ginseng) may lower immunity. Focus on a at least one immune-enhancing strategy today.

  • Eat smart: five to nine fruits and vegetable servings daily. Make one high in vitamin C. Vitamin E in nuts and seeds also helps build immunity.
  • Take a multivitamin/mineral supplement – if you need a "nutrition safety net." Be aware: High doses don't superimmunize.
  • Schedule a flu shot – if your doctor recommends it.
  • Get enough sleep – on average, eight hours daily.
  • Find ways to reduce stress – perhaps through physical activity, meditation or simply "time out" from stressors.
  • Move more – another reason for 60 minutes of active living daily.
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About the author:

Roberta L Duyff MS RDN FAND

Roberta Duyff, MS RDN FAND

Author of "Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, Fourth Edition" and "365 Days of Healthy Eating from the American Dietetic Association" (both published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New Jersey).




  • Cook healthy

    Involve your child in the cutting, mixing and preparation of all meals. Even a snack can be healthy.

  • Eat right

    Sit down together as a family to enjoy a wonderful meal and the opportunity to share the day's experiences with one another.

  • Shop smart

    To encourage a healthy lifestyle, get your children involved in selecting the food that will appear at the breakfast, lunch or dinner table.

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