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5 Ways Nutrition Can Prevent Common Colds

Last Updated Aug 21, 2020

There is no full proof way to prevent the cold or flu. This being true however, you can arm yourself with a healthy immune system through a proper diet and exercise that can support you in maintaining health. Adequate sleep also is very important.

Here are 5 ways to prevent the cold and flu with nutrition:

1. Hydration

In colder weather, the outdoor air is drier.  Your heated home is also dry. In order to keep your mucous membranes soft and moist and prevent tiny cracks that can allow viruses and bacteria to enter, you need to keep hydrated.

2. Plant-based foods

A diet rich in vegetables, fruit and whole grains is high in antioxidants and phytonutrients. Antioxidants prevent cell damage caused by free radicals. Phytonutrients are linked to increased immunity and faster healing. Aim for the daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. Highly nutritious fruits and vegetables include broccoli, red onion, blueberries, grapes, oats, barley and tea.

3. Probiotics

Recent research shows that the dietary supplement of probiotics boosts the immune system. Great food sources of probiotics are yogurt with live active cultures and kefirr

4. Exercise

Moderate exercise is a powerful immunity booster. Moderate exercise is considered to be a 30 to 60-minute walk most days per week. Not enough or too much not enough exercise can weaken immune systems.

5. Vitamins and Minerals

Research from The Medical Centre at University of Tennessee suggests that "many supplements claim to reduce colds and viruses, but few studies substantiate claims. A literature review on vitamin C supplementation found no difference in cold rates for those who took 200 mg daily and those who took none. One exception was people who exercised outside in the winter. They benefited from the vitamin C supplement and reduced risk of catching a cold by 50%. The best supplement option is a multivitamin/mineral once per day with 100% of the recommended daily values of vitamins A, B6, B12, C and D, and minerals chromium, copper, folic acid, selenium, calcium and zinc."

Originally published on May 18, 2018

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