Nutrition · Parenting · Pregnancy

10 Tips to give your immune system a boost

Healthy food on a dinner table.

What can you do to prevent your family from getting sick this season?

Stay healthy this season – try these 10 tips:

  1. Fill your plate with bright green, red, and orange veggies. Choose broccoli, red pepper, sweet potato, spinach, turnip greens, squash, kale, swish chard, and other dark leafy greens.  These are all packed with vitamins A, C, and E, which help protect the body from damage, and boost the immune system. Try making a salad-in-a jar or adding baked kale chips. Offer 2 more veggies at dinner too.
  1. Eat colourful fruits more often. These fruits are full of vitamins C and A: orange, kiwi, grapefruit, strawberries, guava, cantaloupe, apricots, peaches, avocado, blackberries, mango, raspberries, papaya, and pineapple. The following fruits also have vitamin E: avocado, mango, papaya, raspberries, and kiwi, to help keep your immune system healthy. Add a container of 2-3 different cut-up fruits in your family members’ daily lunch boxes. Offer fruit at breakfast and dinner as well on the side of your meals.
  1. Don’t forget about nuts/seeds, wheat germ, and fish too. Choose almonds, sunflower, sesame, and pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, brazil nuts, peanuts, and pistachios.  These are great for healthy on-the-go snacks!  Fish and seafood like sardines, tuna, herring, and rainbow trout are great choices too.  These foods are all packed with vitamin E, to help keep your body at its best. Wheat germ is another great way to get vitamin E too.  Toast some up in a pan and add to your baking or over top of yogurt or cereal.
  1. Have yogurt with active bacterial cultures, fortified with vitamin D. Yogurt with active bacterial cultures helps support a healthy digestive system, which can help your immune system to keep working at its best. Choose a yogurt that is fortified with vitamin D for more immune-boosting power.

It is recommended to increase your consumption of foods rich in vitamins A, C, D, and E, to help boost your immune system.

  1. Stay hydrated. In pregnancy, it is recommended to drink 8-12 cups of fluid daily. This includes water, milk, juice, soup, coffee, tea, and other liquids. Water helps to flush any toxins from your body.  It is needed for all your body systems to work in a healthy way.
  1. Be active. Choosing to live an active lifestyle can help you feel your best and keep your body functioning well. Walking every day can help with your mental health, plus it just feels great to get outside for some fresh air.  Go to the park!  Throw a baseball or kick that soccer ball around with your family and friends.  Walking is good for your breathing and circulation which can also prepare you for your labour and birth.
  1. Keep your social ties strong. Spending time with family and friends can help keep you healthy.  Doesn’t it feel great to have a nice long chat with your best buddy? Laughter really is the best medicine. Set a date night with your partner regularly.  Try planning a monthly hike in a new location with a bunch of friends.
  1. Decrease your stress. Too much stress can dampen your immune system. Try to add activities in your life that are stress-reducing to you, like having a nice warm bath, listening to your favourite music, or reading that new book that you’ve been wanting to read.
  1. Get enough sleep. Your body needs adequate sleep every night. Try to get about 7-8 hours of sleep daily. This will help you feel your best; lack of sleep can affect the immune system. Go to bed on time and tackle a new day with a strong healthy, well-rested body in the morning!
  1. Get a flu shot. An annual flu shot is recommended for most people 6 months and older. The flu vaccine is free. Getting a flu shot is a great way to decrease your chances of getting the flu and then spreading it to others who could then get very sick. Ask your doctor or your pharmacist if you have any questions about the flu shot.

Have more questions on ways to stay healthy this season? Speak directly with a health professional on e-chat or call 416-338-7600.

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