Guest column on lifestyle tips to improve immune health provided by Lisa De Beer, Muskoka Registered Dietitian at Your Independent Grocer
With flu season fast approaching, it is a critical time to focus on lifestyle factors that can strengthen our immune system. Though we cannot cure a cold, flu or infection with food, a balanced nutrient-dense diet can help strengthen our immune system to battle sickness. As your local Muskoka In-Store dietitian, I would like to share some of my top tips to keep healthy this fall season.
Eat a balanced nutrient-dense diet – Aim to fill half of your plate with a wide variety of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, a quarter of your plate with whole grains (e.g. whole grain rice, pasta, quinoa, barley), and a quarter of your plate with lean proteins such as fish, poultry and legumes (i.e. chickpeas, beans, lentils). This will help to ensure that you get enough of the vitamins and minerals that are important for optimal functioning of your immune system. If you are interested to learn more about the specific vitamins and minerals that play an important role in immune function, as well as specific food sources of these vitamins and minerals, consider attending my online “Nutrition and Immunity” webinar on Oct. 1 or 5. You can register on dietitianwebinars.ca. If you are interested to attend a local live presentation on Nutrition for Immune Health, I will be hosting a presentation at the Bracebridge local library on Nov. 1 at 6 p.m. Call the library at (705) 645-4171 to register.
Focus on gut health – Research has shown a direct relationship between gut and immune health. In fact, 70 to 80 per cent of our immune system is located in our gut. Focus on keeping your gut healthy by eating foods high in fibre, keeping hydrated and living an active lifestyle. Work on diversifying your gut microorganisms though including fermented foods in your diet, such as kefir, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut or tempeh. I have a special interest in gut health. If you are interested in personal advice on how to improve your gut health, consider booking a free 15-minute discovery call with me at bookadietitian.ca.
Manage stress – Chronic stress decreases the effectiveness of our immune system. Think about ways to nurture and take care of yourself to help manage your stress levels. If you are really struggling to manage stress, consider seeking help.
Be active – Being regularly active is important for our overall health, including immune health. Regular activity can help to improve sleep, mood, lower stress levels and increase circulation of immune cells. All these factors play an important role in maintaining a healthy immune system.
Consider getting a flu shot – Getting a flu shot may help reduce your chance of getting the flu. Consider getting a flu shot at your local Your Independent Grocer pharmacy when they become available.
If you are looking for personalized nutrition advice, or need support to achieve a particular health goal, I am here to help. As a registered dietitian at the Muskoka Your Independent Grocer stores, I provide a range of services, including virtual or in-store one-on one consultations, grocery store tours and meal planning assistance. To book an appointment directly, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit bookadietitian.ca.
- 1 pkg frozen spinach, thawed and drained
- 1 tbsp Canola, Grapeseed or Avocado Oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup light cream cheese, cubed
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 4 PC Blue Menu Omega-3 large eggs
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Mist four 3/4 cup (175 mL) ramekins with cooking spray; set aside. Squeeze spinach dry in clean tea towel; set aside.
- Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Pulse spinach, onion, cream cheese, nutmeg and 2 tbsp water in food processor until combined. Divide among prepared ramekins. Using back of spoon, make well in centre of each ramekin; break an egg into each well. Place ramekins on rimmed baking sheet.
- Bake until egg whites are set but yolks are still runny, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven; cover with foil and let stand 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.