by EB Fitness Expert Cathe Friedrich
Love it or hate it, winter is on the way. Along with cooler temperatures and, possibly, a little snow, there's the ongoing threat of cold and flu viruses. Not only do these unwelcome intruders make you feel crappy, they make you less productive. Fortunately, with a little planning you can protect yourself against the sniffles, or even worse, the flu
Get Your Daily Macronutrients
Winter isn't the time to go on a crash diet. Skimping on calories and macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fat) can weaken your immune system and place you at higher risk for the latest viruses making their rounds at the office. Even if you work at home, you're at risk, especially if you have children. Kids are most susceptible to viral infections due to their immature immune system and they can pass them to the rest of the family. Defend yourself by practicing sound nutrition and consuming enough calories.
A healthy diet is made up of a balance of protein, fiber-rich carbohydrates, and healthy fats, especially plant-based fats like those in nuts, olive oil, and avocados. Begin your morning with a quality source of protein. After all, your immune system needs dietary protein to build protective antibodies that defend you against infection. Give it the building blocks it needs!
When it comes to high-quality protein, reach for an Eggland’s Best egg. Research shows egg protein has the highest biological value of all protein sources, meaning it contains the ideal combination of amino acids your body needs and can use. With each Eggland’s Best egg you place on your plate, you're getting six grams of protein in a form your body can best utilize. Whether you prefer your eggs scrambled, fried, poached, or boiled, Eggland’s Best will help you get a jumpstart on your protein needs for the day.
Get Enough Vitamin D to Keep Your Immune System Healthy
The best source of vitamin D is exposure to direct sunlight. Unfortunately, in the winter, you don't get as much sun exposure and the sunlight that does hit your skin is weaker. Plus, you're all covered up! Why is vitamin D so important? This vitamin, which functions more like a hormone, helps your immune system function properly. Some studies show influenza is more common in people who have a low vitamin D level. As you know, it can be a struggle to get enough vitamin D when you have less sun exposure. To make matters worse, most foods are not a good source of vitamin D.
Here's some good news. Each Eggland’s Best egg contains 120 International units of vitamin D, about 4X as much as an ordinary egg and more vitamin D than in most dietary sources. When you enjoy an Eggland’s Best egg in the morning or any time of day, you're supplying your body with the vitamin D it struggles to get during the long winter months.
Eggland’s Best eggs also contain more of other types of nutrients than regular eggs. For example, an Eggland’s Best egg has more than double the omega-3s, a type of fat involved in heart health and healthy immune function, as standard eggs. Plus, each Eggland’s Best egg has almost 3-times the amount of vitamin B12 as other eggs. When you bite into an Eggland’s Best egg, you're getting great taste and superior nutrition.
Practice a Healthy Lifestyle Every Day
Taking other common-sense steps to protect yourself by washing your hands several times a day, avoiding sick people, and getting enough sleep each night. Not sleeping enough and "burning the midnight oil" suppresses your immune system and makes you more susceptible to illness. Exercise in moderation enhances your body's defenses against colds while excessive exercise without enough rest between sessions has the opposite effect - it suppresses immunity.
Keep these tips in mind this winter and, hopefully, you'll avoid the sniffles and the coughs and be your healthiest until the first signs of spring.
References: EUFIC. "Nutrition and the Immune System"
Medscape Multispecialty. "An Update on Vitamin D and Human Immunity"
Vitamin D Council. "Influenza"