Winter Immunity with Food

 Health Tips with Karla Heintz (BSc), Nutrition Educator

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As the snow begins to fall, and temperatures drop to wind chill conditions, it is time to think about protecting yourself from winter bugs and viruses.  On average adults get two to four colds per year, where young children can be as high as 12!  That is almost monthly!  So what can you do to equip your family for better winter survival?  Here are some foods that can boost your protection:

1)      Probiotics – this includes eating yoghurt daily or taking refrigerated probiotics (found in many health food stores), for a minimum of 14 days straight. This supply of healthy bacteria helps build your internal army of bacteria to help ward off any incoming bacterial enemies.

2)      Garlic – this contains allicin, which boost natural killer cell activity to fight off infection and bacteria. Many studies have found daily garlic significantly reduces your chances of catching a cold.  If the smell of garlic on your hands concerns you, try washing up with freshly squeezed lemon. Or consider buying already crushed garlic in little jars or tubes.

3)      Tea  - the more tea you drink, the more virus fighting interferon you have in your blood.  The darker the color of your steeped tea the better. 

4)      Fish or Omega 3 Supplements – these increase the activity of phagocytes, which are the white blood cells that eat up bacteria.  Some studies show daily doses of this healthy fat result in fewer respiratory infections and fewer days being absent from work or school.

Karla Heintz (BSc) Nutrition Educator and Author of

‘Picky! Not Me Mom! A parents’ guide to children’s nutrition.