5 Ways to Prevent Flu

sxc.hu: evah

sxc.hu: evah

Do you know people who always seem to be sick?

I know I do, and I often attribute it to their unhealthy diet–I know I’m a bit biased!! But, I really do think if you eat well, you’ll feel well.

Now this isn’t to say you’ll never get sick, but in my opinion a healthy lifestyle goes a long way to helping you ward off colds and flues.

So, what exactly can you do to help prevent flu?

1. Eat a healthy diet
When your immune system receives a regular supply of essential nutrients, it will be able to protect you against bacteria, viruses and other organisms that cause disease or illness.

So, first and foremost, you should aim to eat a well-balanced diet, including foods from all five food groups.

Extremely important: make sure you’re eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, so that you’re benefiting from all those nutrients:

  • Have a glass of 100% pure fruit juice with your breakfast
  • Have a fresh salad at lunchtime with lots of raw veggies
  • Stock your freezer with a selection of frozen vegetables for those times when you’re really busy
  • Always keep fruit in your car, bag or your desk drawer to snack on throughout the day
  • Start your dinner with salad or vegetable soup, then follow with another two veg portions with dinner

Eating a healthy diet will make sure your body is getting a rich supply of the amino acids it needs to build your immune system. Lean meats are also important as they contain iron and zinc, and a deficiency in these can depress your immune system.

So, other healthy foods to include regularly in a balanced diet are:

  • Lean meats, fish, poultry
  • Eggs
  • Low-fat dairy
  • Legumes – peas, beans and lentils
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts and seeds 

You should also try to stay away from excess sugar and unhealthy fats, such as saturated fat and trans fats.

2. Get some sleep
Getting a consistent amount of sleep is so vitally important to overall health. And, sleep is tied to the balance of hormones cortisol and melatonin—adequate levels of these hormones are so important to a properly functioning immune system. 

It seems when you sleep is important too.

Apparently, the optimal spring/summer bedtime is between 9 – 10 p.m., and the optimal fall/winter bedtime is between 8 – 9 p.m. Also, a sleep cycle started prior to midnight is thought to be far more effective than that started after midnight. So, get some Zzzzzz…

Check out this article on improving sleep quality.

3. Exercise regularly
There’s no doubt exercising regularly is a habit, and it’s easy to fall out of that habit, but evidence suggests those who take regular exercise don’t get sick as often.

So, try to find something you enjoy doing and make some space in your schedule each week so that you can fit it in.

Remember, it’s important to keep active in winter too, so if you’re not into going out in the frost and snow, try using exercise videos in your own home, or go to your local leisure centre for a swim or to use their gym.

4. Cut your stress levels
Getting stressed is thought to hinder your immune system, and in fact constant stress may even increase your risk of getting certain conditions of the heart, allergic reactions, and immunity problems.

Check out these stress banishing tips for more advice.

5. If you get sick
Technically this isn’t a way to prevent flu, but anyway…

It’s not always possible to avoid getting sick, so if you do get ill here are a few tips to help you out:

  • Go for small regular meals and snacks
  • Drink lots of fluids such as water, milk, dilute fruit juices, tea, etc
  • Choose soft, easy to swallow foods, such as nourishing soups, milk, milky puddings, canned fruit, potatoes or rice
  • Ask for help from a close friend or family member if you need it
  • Get plenty of rest

What are your tips on how to prevent flu?

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About Melanie
Melanie is a Registered Dietitian who started Dietriffic in March 2007. Her aim is to make good health attainable and sustainable, without guilt and torture, making her approach popular with those who desire a level-headed approach to good health. Have you got your copy of her free book yet?

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Gordie Rogers September 29, 2009 at 4:29 am

Thanks for these tips. They are commonsense really. Diet beats medication any day.
.-= Gordie Rogers´s last blog ..Review: Free Ebook- Breaking Free. =-.


Melanie September 29, 2009 at 9:32 am

Hey Gordie,
Couldn’t agree more–give me diet over pills any day. I’m a bit frantic about NOT taking pills to be honest, I’d nearly rather suffer than take something if I can help it!


Megan at Simple Kids September 30, 2009 at 4:40 am

Great tips! And like you, I would rather let the thing run its course than suppress it with meds.

Now, about that getting more sleep thing . . . I might be in trouble there.
.-= Megan at Simple Kids´s last blog ..5 Positive Character Traits Encouraged by Free-Range Parenting =-.


Melanie October 1, 2009 at 8:48 am

Hi Megan,
LOL yes the sleep thing can be a bit of a problem, can’t it?


Cathy in NZ October 1, 2009 at 5:07 am

you left out ‘hand washing’

not just a quick rinse with hot water but thorough soaping up and then rinsing off and a thorough drying.

because I’m at a bit Uni something like 30,000 student/staff on the the main campus and the Swine Flu’ epidemic was a threat, I put in place a thorough handwashing sequence throughout the day…I didn’t catch anything

until…it was the break time and I believe that was because some of the stress/rushing about stopped!

Uni itself survived…apparently if the epidemic had gotten under way, Uni would have been closed down. Notices were sent out at the time of exams saying that if you were sick with any sort of flu’ to stay home, email the Uni and then later when you were better your exams would be rescheduled.
.-= Cathy in NZ´s last blog ..RAIN, RAIN GO AWAY! =-.


Melanie October 1, 2009 at 8:50 am

Hi Cathy,
Yes, very true, hand washing is essential. Perhaps you didn’t catch swine flu though because your immunity is so strong with all your healthy eating and exercise??? :-)


healthcareandlife.com October 2, 2009 at 2:13 pm

Add cleanliness to the list as it’s one of the most ignored things especially among kids
.-= healthcareandlife.com´s last blog ..Simple Steps to Fight Constipation =-.


Selina October 21, 2009 at 6:30 pm

The number one thing we can do is wash our hands. Also avoid putting your fingers in your mouth or around your eyes and nose. I am a big believer in comfort foods. Anything warm or slightly spicy always makes me feel better. Having someone there helps too. I am a big believer in immune boosting foods like garlic and onions as well. Some people may say that it doesn’t work, but I believe it does and hey anything that makes you feel better is always good!


Zapalenie stawow May 9, 2010 at 9:18 pm

I have noticed, the most important for me to keep myself in good condition is cut stress levels
.-= Zapalenie stawow´s last blog ..Zestaw zdrowe stawy =-.


Melanie May 10, 2010 at 9:51 pm

I agree with you, I think stress is a huge factor in getting sick.


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