Fall has arrived in all its glory! Unfortunately, the not so glorious Fall Flu Spike has also arrived! This is the time of the year when those of us spending our days in enclosed spaces, such as classrooms, shopping malls, office buildings and entertainment venues are more susceptible to becoming sick with influenza and then bringing those germs home to our families.
In fact, studies show school children often bring germs home from school and spread them to their parents and younger siblings, causing sickness ranging from colds to severe asthma flare-ups – this is known as the Fall Spike. (1)
So, is it inevitable that we become ill during the Fall Flu Spike? No, it’s definitely not! You’ll be happy to know, measures can be taken to decrease the likeliness of becoming a victim of the Fall Spike!
Atlantic Superstore Registered Dietitian, Kara Parsons, and student, Kelsey.
Along with impeccable hand washing and receiving the annual flu shot you should:
- Make an appointment with one of the in-store Registered Dietitians at your local Atlantic Superstore. Dietitians can help you prepare for cold and flu season with nutrient-rich foods and recipes that help support good overall and immune health.
With this in mind, I recently made an appointment and subsequently had a very informative consultation with my local Atlantic Superstore dietitian, Kara Parsons, Registered Dietitian.
During the consult, Kara explained the need to make healthy food choices all year. She also stressed the need to consciously up the consumption of healthy foods, such as citrus fruits, beans, legumes, probiotics and nuts and seeds to get the nutrients you need during flu season. Kara also explained how these foods contribute to good overall and immune health during the Fall Spike and leading into cold and flu season.
You need to ask yourself, do you and your family eat enough of these foods?
- Citrus Fruit: not only are citrus fruits a good source of vitamin C, they’re 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. Read the label to make sure they do not come with added salt or sugar.
- Beans and Legumes: boost your protein and zinc intake by including a variety of beans and legumes in your diet.
- 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.
- 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.
- Vitamin A helps to maintain immune function and is a factor in the maintenance of good health.
- Vitamin B12 and B6 are both factors in the maintenance of good health.
- Vitamin C and E are antioxidants for the maintenance of good health and a factor in the maintenance of good health.
- Zinc helps maintain immune function.
- Protein helps build and repair body tissues and antibodies.
- Probiotics modulate the intestinal and systemic immune systems
To maintain good health and help combat the Fall Spike we should all try to include these foods in our daily meals.
TIP – If you are having difficulty introducing healthy but new foods, try ingredients of different colours and textures, adding them to multiple meals to make the family accustomed to eating them.
I urge you to head to your Atlantic Superstore to book an appointment with one of the in-store registered dietitians for lots of helpful information on foods that support good overall and immune health, and while you’re there, visit your in-store pharmacist for your flu shot.
I also want to send out a big thank you to Registered Dietitian, Kara Parsons. She is extremely knowledgeable, super friendly, and went out of her way to be helpful and answer all my questions.
To stay up to date with all the latest news, be sure to follow the #SuperstoreFluCrew and #Fluless hashtags.
Biography — Kara Parsons, RD
Kara’s professional career has taken her to clinical, corporate and community settings. With each opportunity she has risen to the challenges and helped pave the way for those who choose to follow in her footsteps. More recently, with the team of dietitians at Loblaws, Kara is helping lead on new frontiers in the application of food and nutrition science and technology from the farm gate to the table. She is a key contributor to the DC local action group (New Brunswick Dietitians in Action), and regional representative for DC Nutrition Month. Kara’s contributions heighten the profile of the profession illustrating that dietitians are champions of healthy eating skills.
GIVEAWAY TIME –
(1). Johnston SL et al. The relationship between upper respiratory infections and hospital admissions for asthma: a time-trend analysis. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1996 Sep;154 (3 Pt 1):654-60. https://www.on.lung.ca/september-spike-2014-release, accessed September 9, 2016.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored in partnership with Atlantic Superstore. As always, all opinions are our own.