Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sniffle Sendoff

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.

Vitamin C
-       ~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. 


  1. another good sources of probiotics are fermented foods and probiotics supplements. Me I take supplements.

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