Whether we want to admit it or not, cold and flu season is among us and comes around every year. As a PCOS Nutritionist / Dietitian I know how quickly germs can spread in school and work environments.
Read below for my top nutrition tips for staying healthy during cold and flu season.
Tip #1: Vitamin C
Vitamin C has two major roles in the human body. One role is as a cofactor helping specific enzymes perform their jobs, but I am focusing on its more general role as an antioxidant.
The vitamin C molecule loses electrons easily, which allows it to perform as an antioxidant against free radicals. A free radical is a molecule with one or more unpaired electrons. This unpaired electron causes these molecules to be unstable and highly reactive.
Due to their reactivity, free radicals can damage healthy cells and tissues in our bodies. When vitamin C donates an electron they neutralize the free radicals and protect our body from its damage.
As a PCOS Dietitian I recommend the best way to incorporate more vitamin C is through a food-first approach. By eating a healthy dose of fruit and vegetables.
Half a cup of broccoli, bell pepper, or strawberries provides more than 50 milligrams of vitamin C.
You can also find healthy doses of vitamin C in citrus fruits, blueberries, bananas, fresh tomatoes and fresh apples.
Vitamin C can be destroyed by heat so it is best to have a combination of both cook and raw fruits and vegetables in your diet.
You can also take a vitamin C supplement to help reach your vitamin C requirements. The vitamin C recommendation is 90 mg a day for men and 75 mg a day for women.
Tip #2: Enough Sleep
As a hormone nutritionist, I know how important sleep is. When we rest our bodies are recuperating from the previous day to allow us to be successful the next day.
Experimental studies demonstrated that sleep deprivation results in poor immune function due to a reduction in T-cells, also known as killer cells. Lack of sleep also suppresses hormones that regulate our white cell production. White blood cells are responsible for our immunity.
You should aim to have 8 hours of sleep every night. Making time for your sleep and your body to recover is an important part of staying healthy this cold and flu season.
Tip #3: Balanced Meals
As a PCOS Nutritionist, balanced meals are one aspect of nutrition counselling that I continuously preach to all of my PCOS clients.
All food groups contribute different macro and micronutrients that our bodies require. To stay healthy during cold and flu season we must give our bodies all the nutrients that it needs.
Incorporating lean protein sources at every meal provides our body with building blocks for tissues and our immune system.
Read more about the Best PCOS Diet here.
Looking for more personalized nutrition information? Work with me, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who specializes in PCOS and hormone health, today!