What can you do to boost your immune system? We asked our expert and AdvantageCare Physicians' Dietitian and Nutritionist, Katherine Farrell Harris, who is also a Certified Diabetes Educator, what she recommends to staying healthy this flu season.
Vegetables and Fruits
Consuming a variety of colorful vegetables and fruits will provide vital minerals and vitamins that will keep your immune system strong, Harris says. Each day strive to consume about 4 ½ cups of both vegetables and fruit, however, keep in mind fruit is denser in carbohydrate, so limit your servings to about 2 cups per day and focus on getting 2 ½ cups of mixed vegetables.
- Green vegetables like broccoli, spinach, kale, okra, turnip greens and fruits like avocado and kiwi contain beta carotene, vitamin C and some vitamin E.
- Red fruits and vegetables like raspberries, strawberries, radishes, red bell peppers and tomatoes can provide a great source of vitamin C.
- Orange colored vegetables and fruit like oranges, yams and sweet potatoes provide beta carotene and vitamin C.
- White vegetables like garlic, onions and white mushrooms also contain nutrients that can support the immune system.
Nuts and Seeds
Eating a small portion of nuts or seeds rich in vitamin E can also provide benefits to the immune system. Limit servings to 1 to 2 tablespoons of seeds or about 1 ounce of nuts.
- Almonds, pine nuts and sesame seeds are packed with vitamin E.
You can also support your immune system with getting adequate sleep each night. Adults need 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
- To get the recommended number of hours each night, try shutting down your electronics when it is time for bed.
Don’t forget the first and most important step in preventing flu is to get a flu vaccine each year. To schedule a flu shot with one of our nurses, call 1-646-680-4227 or log in to myACPNY.