Cart Away Colds

orange juiceCold and flu season could not come at a worse time. The fall and winter months mean busier work schedules, hectic school activities and stressful holidays. But there are simple ways to arm the body with the tools it needs to help ward off colds and flu, starting right in the local supermarket.

According to Kim Galeaz, RD, CD, contributor to 4 Weeks to Maximum Immunity, one secret to helping support a strong immune system naturally begins with a trip to the grocery store. “Fill your shopping cart with items that provide the body with essential nutrients to help maintain optimal health. A nutritious option is 100 percent orange juice, which is rich in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant. Plus, an 8-ounce serving of 100 percent orange juice is a good source of folate, potassium and thiamin, essential nutrients to help support good health,” says Galeaz.

“A healthy routine can start with simple, smart buys in the check-out line.” While shopping, look for items containing important vitamins, minerals and other food components that can help support a healthy immune system. Stock your cart with foods for the week that contain vitamin C, like 100 percent orange juice and grapefruit juice, bell peppers and tomatoes; vitamin A, from spinach, sweet potatoes, broccoli and carrots; zinc, which can be found in lean cuts of beef and pork, seafood, whole grains and nuts; and flavonoids, found in grapefruit, basil, oranges, and green tea.

Cruise the non-food aisles to find many great products to help support a strong immune system such as toothbrushes. They can be a germ haven if not replaced. During cold and flu season, switch to a new brush every month and after you battle a cold. A good way to remember this healthy habit is to buy toothbrushes during the first supermarket visit at the beginning of each month.

Put office hygiene on your grocery list too, with antibacterial gel and wipes for work. Few of us consider the amount of germs at the office. To prevent your desk from becoming bacteria-infested, wash your hands when you arrive at work and wipe down your workspace, including your phone and keyboard, at least once a day.

Don’t forget the paper aisle. Keeping plenty of tissue on hand will help contain a cold or flu so it won’t spread to other family members. Keep tissue boxes accessible throughout the house. Before checking out, ask the store’s pharmacist or customer service desk about getting a flu shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the vaccination for anyone who wants to reduce their chances of getting the flu.

This cold and flu season, remember to keep sniffles and sneezes away by fostering good health with your grocery cart.

Information provided is courtesy of the Florida Department of Citrus:

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