Prepare for the Tridemic with these 6 healthy eating habits

Prepare for the Tridemic with these 6 healthy eating habits

For the past few years, we’ve had to focus on boosting our immune systems to help fight COVID-19. Unfortunately, experts warn that COVID isn’t the only disease we need to watch out for this year. The New York Times recently published an article on what medical professionals call “tridemic”, which is a new term that stems from an increase in flu cases this season, an increase in RSV cases in pediatric hospitals this year and a COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to this triple threat to our health this winter, experts suggest that people strive to boost their immunity however they can. While a person’s immunity status depends on many factors, some of which are beyond our control, one way to focus on a better immune system is to incorporate immune-boosting eating habits into our daily diet.

“If you’re looking to keep your immune system strong against colds, germs, and other illnesses, stock up on whole foods like colorful produce, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and whole grains,” said Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, author of The Sports Nutrition Handbook and a member of our expert medical board. “These foods are packed with nutrients to help your body stay strong and fight whatever comes its way.”

Read on to learn more about more specific eating habits you can adopt today to help you fight anticipatory tridemia.

Fill up on antioxidants

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One of the best ways to “eat” for better immunity is to incorporate more antioxidants into your daily diet.

“Antioxidants like flavonoids, anthocyanins, and carotenoids help fight off free radicals (aka the bad guys) that can potentially damage your cells and compromise your immune system,” Goodson says. “And fortunately, these nutrients are in all of your colored products.” If you want to incorporate more of these antioxidants into your daily routine, Goodson has some simple tips on common foods to try.

“Flavonoids are found in berries, kale, cabbage, dark chocolate, tea, and soy. Anthocyanins (a type of flavonoid) are naturally produced pigments that give flowers their red, purple, and blue color , so think berries, grapes, pomegranates, and even red wine. And carotenoids are found in orange, yellow, and red produce like summer squash, pumpkin, mango, and apricots,” says Goodson. .

Eat foods rich in vitamin C

Vitamin C is a specific antioxidant that is known to help keep your immune system strong and help your body fight disease. You can supplement this vitamin, but Goodson recommends getting it from your diet if you can.

“While you can think of oranges and orange juice, which are high in vitamin C, you can also get vitamin C from tomatoes and tomato juice, red peppers, other citrus fruits like strawberries and green vegetables like spinach and green beans.

RELATED: 5 Healthy Eating Habits to Fight COVID-19, According to WHO

Eat foods rich in zinc

dark chocolate
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People often associate vitamin C with immunity, but “zinc is a powerful mineral that also helps maintain a strong immune system,” says Goodson. And like many other vitamins and minerals, you can take zinc supplements if you need them. However, getting more zinc into your diet through the foods you eat is easier than you might think.

“Beef is considered an excellent source of zinc, providing nearly half of what you need in a day,” Goodson says. “So choosing a lean cut of red meat at a meal can help you fill up on this vital nutrient.” If you don’t like red meat, you can also get zinc from “legumes, nuts, seeds, dairy, and even dark chocolate.”

Drink more smoothies

Fruits and vegetables provide your body with important nutrients and antioxidants, but sometimes it can be difficult to get enough of them throughout the day. One solution for this is to make a smoothie filled with fruits and vegetables.

“A smoothie packed with antioxidants and immune-boosting ingredients is a great way to prepare your body for impending tridemia, and it’s also a great way to get those nutrients for your kids to protect against RSV. “, declares Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, at Balance One Supplements. “Some ingredients to consider include blueberries, spinach, papaya, flax seeds, kale, mango, and ginger. Consider a base of vitamin C-rich natural orange juice or kefir for probiotics. “

RELATED: The Best Fruits to Eat for a Stronger Immune System

Snack on nuts and seeds

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Eating immune-boosting foods at different times of meals is beneficial, but what about your snacks between those meals?

“Immune-boosting snacks are a great way to pack in nutrients that protect against disease. So swap out your regular chips or popcorn for nuts and seeds,” says Best. “Nuts like almonds and walnuts, or seeds like sunflower and pumpkin, contain many vitamins and minerals that help regulate and support the immune system. These nutrients include B6, phosphorus, selenium, and magnesium, as well as healthy fats that help reduce inflammation that otherwise can interfere with immune function.”

Enjoy fermented foods

And last but not least, eating a healthy dose of fermented foods can “provide probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria, that support immune function,” Best says. “Probiotics can aid immunity by secreting substances that trigger a stronger immune system response, preventing pathogens from taking hold and causing disease.”

If you’re looking for delicious probiotic-rich foods, Best suggests yogurt with live active cultures, cheeses like gouda, mozzarella, and cheddar, kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, apple cider vinegar, miso and kimchi.

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