been careful to wash my hands often and stay away from any
hint of anyone who says they are not feeling well. Then I feel
this little tickle in my throat…and a few random coughs here
and there. Uh oh.
to one of the worst flu seasons on record, says the Center for
Disease Control (CDC). Time to take a little defensive
shot, check. Glad my employer required it early in the season.
Flu vaccines stimulate my immune system to develop antibodies
that can fight the most common flu viruses. The CDC advises
most everyone 6 months of age and older to get a flu shot
every year. Exceptions include people allergic to eggs or
those with an illness called Guillain-Barré Syndrome.
the flu vaccine causes my body to produce antibodies against
flu viruses. My job is to make sure my immune system has the
right ingredients to manufacture those protective substances.
That’s where nutrition comes in. When we consume foods that
supply essential nutrients, we fortify our immune systems to
search out and destroy disease-causing viruses (such as
influenza) and bacteria that invade our bodies.
is the key ingredient in the body’s strong army of defense.
Protein in the food we eat — meat, fish, poultry, eggs, soy
foods, milk products, nuts and beans — is used to make the
fighter pilots of our immune system. If protein is not in
adequate supply, our body’s ability to resist bad viruses
and infections is weakened. Immune boosting protein at each
meal is a good goal for most of us.
C helps stimulate the manufacture of immune-boosting
antibodies, say nutrition experts. And because vitamin C doesn’t
hang out in the body very long, we need to eat vitamin C-rich
foods every day to maintain a strong defensive line. Here are
some good sources to mix and match into your daily meals and
snacks: oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, yellow, red and green
bell peppers, strawberries, tomatoes, guava, papaya, green and
red chiles and salsa. Yes!
crucial in the fight against invading viruses and bacteria,
say experts at the National Institutes of Health. All aspects
of our immune function, including the manufacture of
virus-fighting protein, are dependent on an adequate supply of
zinc. This high-ranking mineral is especially abundant in
protein-rich foods of animal origin such as lean meat,
poultry, seafood and milk. Zinc is also found in whole grains
(look for the 100 percent whole grain label), beans, seeds and
usual, the more varied the foods we eat, the better chance our
bodies have to get an adequate mixture of immune-strengthening
ingredients. Let the fight begin!