With the cold and flu season fast approaching, it makes sense to take some measures to avoid getting sick — or, at the very least, shorten the duration of your cold or flu. At Zipongo, we believe that eating healthy is one of the best ways to help keep the sniffles at bay. Here are a few nutrients you’ll want to start paying attention to.
1. Cold and Flu Fighter #1: Zinc
Zinc is an essential mineral and a natural antioxidant present in whole foods. You can also get zinc as a dietary supplement. Various research studies have shown that taking zinc during the very start of a cold or flu may help shorten how long you’re down for the count. Cold symptoms are also less likely to persist beyond seven days of taking zinc supplements.
Excellent dietary sources of zinc: oysters, wheat germ, spinach, dark cocoa and pumpkin seeds.
Looking for a recipe? Have a healthy and flavor-packed lunch with our Spinach Salad with Shrimp and Balsamic Vinaigrette.
2. Cold and Flu Fighter #2: Vitamin C
You’ve probably heard vitamin C can help prevent upper respiratory illnesses, and it’s true. Studies have shown that consuming vitamin C can help decrease the length of illness by 1 to 2 days. However, since vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, over-consumption of vitamin C (read: taking a mega-dose supplement) will only result in your body getting rid of the excess amount via your urine. The best way to get your vitamin C is from whole foods.
Excellent dietary sources of vitamin C: citrus fruits, bell peppers and broccoli
Looking for a recipe? Try our “Get Your Orange” Flax Smoothie for a quick and tasty breakfast.
3. Cold and Flu Fighter #3: Selenium
Selenium is a mineral that’s naturally present in soil. Actually, the nutritional value of all plant-based sources depends heavily on the soil in which they were grown. Selenium is essential for our bodies; it supports the immune system. What this means is that if your diet is short on selenium, your immune system may not perform at its best.
Excellent dietary sources of selenium: Brazil nuts, seafood, whole wheat bread and mushrooms
Looking for a recipe? Try our Spicy Tuna Wrap — no cooking required.
Lastly, be aware that most viruses can be easily spread through direct contact. What this means is you can pick up someone else’s cold or flu bug by touching objects they’ve touched — like doorknobs, phones and communal kitchen appliances. So when you’re fighting off a cold, make sure you pay extra attention to washing your hands often and not touching your face.
This blog was originally published on November 5, 2014. It was last updated on December 19, 2017.