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Kick Off the New Year Prepared for Good Health

Kick Off the New Year Prepared for Good Health

Good diet and exercise can help you survive peak cold and flu season. Here are Missouri Baptist dietitians' top 10 suggestions for protecting yourself from pesky winter viruses.

  1. Get the flu vaccine. Talk with your physician if you have not yet gotten yours.
  2. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables boosts your immune system. Think 1-2-3 during the day. That is, enjoy 1 serving of fruit/vegetable at breakfast, 2 servings at lunch and 3 servings at dinner — you’ll be well on your way to meeting your recommended daily intake. And don’t forget about snacks as an opportunity to add more produce! Try yogurt with blueberries or a cheese stick and handful of sugar snap peas.
  3. Get moving! Include a 20-minute walk in your daily routine. Studies show regular walkers have fewer sick days and have milder symptoms.
  4. Build up your immune system by eating foods high in antioxidant vitamin E. Sprinkle wheat germ into cooked cereal, snack on nuts and sunflower seeds, or enjoy a leafy green salad with dinner – all are good sources of vitamin E. 
  5. Foods rich in zinc may also boost your defenses against infection. High protein foods, such as poultry dark meat, lamb or lean pork, are a good source of zinc. And nuts, seeds and whole grains are readily available plant sources.
  6. Losing excess weight, especially belly fat, keeps your immune response working well. Read the Nutrition Facts panel on foods to monitor portion size and keep calories in check.
  7. Stay hydrated by increasing your intake of water and other non-sugary drinks. Milk, coffee and tea without added sugar, and 100% fruit or vegetable juices can add to your intake. So can the fluid in soups and whole fruits and vegetables – consider the liquid in juicy berries and melon!
  8. Keep your hands clean. Frequent washing with soap and warm water should be routine after contact with others or contaminated surfaces. Make a habit of keeping your hands away from your face.
  9. Get plenty of sleep. Research indicates that seven to eight hours of sleep may help ward off flu symptoms.
  10. Feeling run down or stressed can affect your immune system.Take steps to counter these negatives in your life.

Researchers such as Dr. Simin Nikbin Medyani, DVM, PhD, director of Tufts University's Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging and its Nutritional Immunology Laboratory, have suggested similar programs. As Dr. Medyani observes "...getting your immune system prepared is best done if you create a year-round routine. Since our immune system weakens with age, it's even more important for older adults to take preventive measures."

Here are three quick tips from Missouri Baptist dietitians for getting your daily routine off to a good start.

  • Start the day by stirring frozen berries into a whole grain cereal, such as oatmeal. Add extra protein with your favorite yogurt. 
  • For lunch, enjoy hot soup with a leafy green side salad and whole grain crackers. Boost protein with a bit of cottage cheese. Complete your lunch with a seasonal fruit like an orange or grapefruit.
  • At dinner, enjoy your favorite protein with a side of seasoned spinach and a baked sweet potato. Finish dinner with a handful of grapes and a few roasted nuts

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Recipes

Enjoy these healthy recipes. Subscribe to MyMoBap Recipes

Peach Chia Pudding

Peach Chia Pudding

Chia seeds are a powerhouse of nutrients filled with protein and fiber. This recipe makes a nutrient dense, guilt free snack for any occasion.

One-Pan Mediterranean Chicken with Quinoa

One-Pan Mediterranean Chicken with Quinoa

Mixing the bright flavors of the Mediterranean with Quinoa gives a protein-packed, nutritious punch in a one-pan dish that makes cleanup afterwards easy.

Red Cabbage Salsa

Red Cabbage Salsa

There’s an easy way to be more heart healthy – increase your antioxidant intake with colorful vegetables. Try this Red Cabbage Salsa from the Dietitians at MoBap and get your fresh ingredients from your neighborhood Dierbergs.

Banana Blueberry Blender Muffins

Banana Blueberry Blender Muffins

With nutritious ingredients like whole-wheat flower, flax seeds and non-fat Greek yogurt, these muffins are as good for you as they taste.

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