health

Avoiding the January Flu

So you’re all excited about getting fit, eating healthier, avoiding stress in the new year… and bam! You’re hit with another round of the flu! How did this happen?!

A few of my friends have been hit with the flu round 2 recently and have been sick for a week or more. That’s not very conducive to achieving those new year’s goals, let alone just keeping up with the busy life of a student. Like I already had the flu in the fall, I don’t want it again! Keep in mind these friends are very health conscious, exercise regularly, eat well, get plenty of sleep… so what’s the missing piece?

So I am not sick right now, despite being around many sick people. And I’m always the one who gets sick first and gets it the worst (I’m very prone to bronchitis and pneumonia). HOWEVER, after I got sick over 5 times this year (2 times last semester alone) I looked into ways of boosting my immune system.

I’m prone to anemia, which isn’t great since iron is important for immune system. So it’s a good thing to look into just for general health, especially if you don’t eat red meat and/or you’re a female who menstruates. After the anemia issue,  I’d look into missing vitamins and minerals.

Vitamins:

1. Vitamin D-I live in Canada and spent 99% of my time indoors. I have the tan of Edward Cullen. I might be lacking some of the sunshine vitamin. You can look up the multiple uses of vitamin D, so I won’t bore you with them here.

2. Vitamin B12-this is the common stereotype that vegetarians and vegans will become deficient in B12, but even animal foods sometimes don’t contain enough B12 because what we feed the animals is ‘too clean’ aka doesn’t have enough of the microbes in it that make B12. Again, something you can look up yourself or read this easy reading article by doctor Oz. Not normally of fan of the superfood touting doc, but this article seems to reflect my research on vitamin D and B12 for immune boosting http://www.doctoroz.com/article/recharge-your-body-s-defense-system

Minerals-niacin and iron!

So I learned about this terrible disease in nutrition class called Pellegra which looks terrible but the important takeaway from it is that it was caused by a deficiency in niacin from removing the germ from whole wheat when we started eating lots of white bread. Iron also gets removed when you make white flour. So, to make sure you get these two important nutrients, try to eat more whole grains to keep all the original nutrition. Brown rice with chili or something with a lot of sauce can help you make the switchover from white rice. I also tend to eat mostly brown rice, whole wheat bread, and rolled oats at home, but eat white stuff whenever I go out, so it’s not an all or nothing rule. Just a good thing to think about to be in tip top shape.

Hope these tips help! -Starfish

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