Can Nutrition help Fight the Flu?

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Q. Can nutrition help fight the flu?

A. If you find yourself dealing with the flu, first and foremost, you should follow the recommendations of your physician regarding medications (prescription or over the counter options). But, your food and drink choices may help you in the quest for shortening the duration of the flu or helping to limit the discomfort associated with this illness.

  • * Tip one: Drink up and stay hydrated. When you have a fever and your body is fighting a virus, plenty of fluids are necessary to help fight the infection and to replace fluids lost from sweating, or from vomiting or diarrhea. Water is best, but other (non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated) beverages will work too.
  • * Tip two: Use honey. Honey may be a good choice for soothing a sore throat and can be used alone or in a warm drink.
  • * Tip three: Maintain a diet with fresh fruits and vegetables. When possible, incorporate nutrition-packed fruits and vegetables into your meals and snacks.

Many people wonder about the use of herbal remedies and supplements in treating the flu. EN recommends that you discuss this with your doctor before making any changes to your daily regimen.

Q. How can I get more whole grains in my diet?

A. We’ve all heard that we need to increase the whole grains in our diet for health reasons. Greater intake of whole grains may improve health by helping to control cholesterol levels and lipid metabolism, assisting in blood sugar management, and may help enhance immunity. We know that whole grain intake is associated with reduced risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain types of cancer, like colon cancer. So, how does a person add more whole grains in a practical way? Keep in mind that the intent of this recommendation is to swap out less healthy (perhaps refined grain) options. Do not simply add whole grains to your diet–try to choose them instead of other less wholesome grain choices. Here are a few tips to help switch out refined grains for whole:

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  • * Replace regular breakfast cereal with minimally processed oatmeal.
  • * Try side dishes like quinoa, wild or brown rice, or farro at dinnertime.
  • * Choose a whole-grain cracker or air-popped popcorn for a snack.

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