Fight the Flu with Your Fork!

Originally written for: Fruits & Veggies More Matters : Fight the Flu with Your Fork! : Health Benefits of Fruits & Vegetables.

Did you know that about one in five people get the flu each year? Flu season peaks in January, February and March but as we head into the hectic holiday season, it’s not too early to start taking steps to stay healthy this year! For the 2010 flu season, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is recommending that everyone over the age of six months get a flu shot. This is the first time ever that the CDC is advising adults between 19 and 49 to get inoculated.

In addition to flu shots, people ask nutrition experts what they can do every day to keep themselves and their families healthy. The experts agree that fending off a cold or the flu is a lot more complicated than simply eating extra fruits and vegetables and proper handwashing! However, doctors and dietitians do agree that a well-rounded, healthful diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables can provide the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. Science shows you need to have a well-balanced diet to supply the nutrients needed to support a healthy immune system, so be sure to choose foods from each food group every day.

As part of this healthy diet, some nutrients are known to play a role in immune system health, including vitamin A (found in orange and green produce like sweet potatoespumpkincarrots,spinach, winter squash), vitamin C (found in choices like citrus, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, and cauliflower), and zinc (found in beanspeaschickpeascashewsalmonds).

Assuring that half your plate consists of fruits and vegetables at every meal and snack will give your body’s defenses the nutrition they need to do their job of helping to prevent illness. Remember to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables every day! Those colors are a simple way for the kids (and adults too!) to assure a good mix of nutrients, because the vibrant colors of produce are actually indicators of the disease-fighting nutrients found in all your favorite fruits and veggies! And don’t forget that canned and frozen produce counts as well!

 Your ‘Immunity’ Checklist …
    • Get the seasonal flu vaccine if appropriate (ask your doctor or pharmacist if not sure)
    • Eat the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables every day
    • Wash your hands frequently
    • Get enough sleep each night

About Chicken Soup
Chicken soup has long been rumored to have curative powers and research is still uncovering all the benefits (including hydration) from the broth and the variety of nutrients, which depends on all the tasty additions like carrots and potatoes!

Grandma’s Chicken Vegetable Soup
Serves: 4

  • 14 1/2 oz. can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 pound (3 medium) potatoes, cut into 1/2 – inch cubes
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into 1/4 – inch slices
  • 1 pound boned and skinned chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into ¼-inch slices
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

In 3-quart saucepan over medium heat, combine broth and water. Cover and bring to boil. Add potatoes and carrot slices, cover and cook 5 minutes. Add chicken, zucchini, onions and basil. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and cook until chicken is opaque throughout, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

 Nutrition Information per Serving: calories: 240, total fat: 3.1g, saturated fat: 1.0g, % of calories from fat: 12%, % of calories from saturated fat: 4%, protein: 28g, carbohydrates: 25g, cholesterol: 65mg, dietary fiber: 4g, sodium: 216mg
 More Recipes

Try these easy and delicious ways to add a tasty serving of vegetables to the menu this cold and flu season!

Pumpkin Soup (Ready in 30 Minutes or Less!)
Oven-Baked Salmon with Snow Peas (Ready in 30 Minutes or Less!)
Butternut Squash with Black Beans (Ready in 30 Minutes or Less!)
Chicken Florentine
Heart Warming Oatmeal w/ Fruit and Nuts

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