Sheila Zhou – USANA Expert Scientist gave us a Q&A about key vitamins and minerals to keep you in top health
What are the key vitamins or minerals that one should be taking to avoid contracting the common cold during winter?
A deficiency in any vitamin or mineral is likely to compromise your health. In winter, it’s particularly important to ensure your body’s levels of Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Zinc, and Selenium are adequate to keep the common cold at bay:
- Vitamin C deficiency affects the resilience of our mucus membranes and increases our susceptibility to viral infections.
- Vitamin D is essential for immune defense as it works to enhance our immune system’s response to bacteria and virus.
- Selenium deficiency is linked to low immunocompetence. A little-known fact is that many Australian consume inadequate dietary intake for selenium . It is therefore super important to consider supplementation if your diet is lacking selenium.
- Zinc spray around nasal cavity makes the mucus membranes in the throat and nose less hospitable for virus thus disrupts infection. Oral zinc supplementation have been shown to help reduce incidence of the common cold and shorten the duration and severity of the common cold.
If you could suggest only three foods for a person to incorporate into their diet when experiencing symptoms of the common cold, what would they be and why?
- Homemade chicken soup will provide good sources of vitamins, minerals and proteins. This will feed the good bacteria into your gut, boosting the body’s immune defense.
- Ginger, garlic and pineapple have natural enzymic activity that cut the protective coating on viruses, allowing us to then kill the virus with our own immune system.
Do you have any recipe suggestions as to how they could incorporate the above?
In most cases, sufferers of the common cold experience a lack of appetite. I would suggest:
- A freshly squeezed juice that incorporates pineapple, ginger and/or turmeric
- Sipping on a green tea infused with ginger.
- Honey lemon drink
- Chicken broth: Free-range or corn-fed chicken, skinned and cooked with shiitake mushroom and slices of ginger root. A great winter warmer!
Are there any foods one should avoid when they have the common cold?
It may be surprising to hear that foods high in sugar should be avoided when experiencing symptoms of the common cold. This includes refined carbohydrates and bakery products such as biscuits, pastries, donuts and muffins.. Avoid foods high in fat and salt, avoid fried food.
What is your top piece of advice for those who want to avoid contracting the common cold?
It is important to maintain a healthy immune system. USANA Health Sciences’ new InCelligence range is designed to provide an essential foundation of nourishment as well as powerful antioxidant protection and effective energy production in the cells.
And what about those who may already be battling the symptoms?
The best thing you can do for yourself is to give your body the opportunity to recuperate. There is no magic cure to battle cold and flu. You simply need to help your body go through the battle as quick as possible with less symptoms.
- Rest and sleep to help your body recover;
- Do not exert yourself with heavy physical activities or exercises;
- Drink plentiful of warm fluid, such as honey lemon drink and chicken soup;
- Take supplements that contain potent levels of vitamin C, zinc, Reishi mushroom.
About Sheila Zhou
Sheila Zhou has been with USANA Health Sciences for over 13 years. With a degree in biology, Sheila has extensive experience in the field of nutrition.
She can answer any questions in the field of nutrition medicine, specially relating to the needs of the human body and supplement expertise and the ways in which such vitamins, minerals and diets impact the body from a cellular level.
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