There’s no denying that cold and flu season is upon us! I won’t lie… I get a little nervous (or germophobic if you’re into labels) when I hear sniffling and coughing from someone standing a little close on rounds or the subway. The good news is that a healthy diet keeps your immune system functioning well and may help prevent or shorten the duration of your cold. Here’s some information on the key players in your battle.
- ~200mg/d helps fight colds
- Food sources: fruits and vegetables, like sweet peppers, strawberries, kiwi, oranges, broccoli
- Consumption within 24h of getting a cold may help you have fewer symptoms
- Food sources: oysters, seafood, fish, beef, pumpkin seeds, baked beans
- If supplementing, do NOT take >40mg/d
- ‘Good’ bacteria that keep your immune system healthy
- To fight colds, dose should be ~10 billion active probiotic cultures per day, starting 3 months before cold season starts
- Food sources: yogurt with added probiotics
- Look for the following strains to help colds:
o Lactobacillus gasseri, CECT5714 or PA16/8
o Lactobacillus acidophilus, 74-2 or NCFM
o Lactobacillus casei, DN 114
o Bifidobacterium longum, SP07/3
o Bifidobacterium bifidum, MF 20/F
Before taking supplements, remember to check with your doctor or pharmacist and ensure you purchase ones that have Natural Product Numbers (NPN) from Health Canada.
Source: Dietitians of Canada. 2011. Topics for Staying Well During Cold and Flu Season.