The Importance of Hydration
Staying hydrated during illnesses can help you and your family recover and fluids and electrolytes help the body work properly. Water is key to regulating core temperature, and dehydration can exacerbate an already existing fever.
When it comes to fighting illness-triggered dehydration, fluids aren't the only factor. Electrolytes, including sodium, chloride and potassium, are also lost. They are important to maintaining the body's pH and helping cells absorb and use the fluids you're taking in.
For more on how hydration can help you get over the flu, click here.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), vitamin A plays a role in helping the immune system function properly. Beta-carotene is one form of vitamin A, and it gives many foods a bright orange color. It's easy to get adequate levels of this vitamin through your everyday diet. Some food sources rich in vitamin A include:
- Orange and red vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes and red peppers.
- Fruits such as cantaloupe, apricots and mango.
- Some types of fish, such as salmon.
- Dairy products.
Vitamin C is a well-known immune system booster. Your body cannot produce or store vitamin C, so it's important to include it in your daily diet. But because it's found in many foods, most people have little issue getting enough vitamin C. The NIH states that the best immune-boosting foods rich in vitamin C include:
- Citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruit.
- Other fruits, such as strawberries, kiwi and tomatoes.
- Vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach and kale.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that keeps the body's immunity strong. According to the NIH, your body uses vitamin E to help your immune system fight off any invading bacteria and viruses. Excellent sources of vitamin E include:
- Nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts and peanuts and their butters and oils.
- Sunflower seeds.
- Wheat germ, sunflower and safflower oils.
- Fortified foods, including some breakfast cereals, fruit juices, margarine and spreads.
If you find it a challenge to get enough fruits and vegetables into your daily diet, try one of these nutrient-rich smoothies or yogurt bowls. That may be just the ticket to boosting your immune system and warding off the flu easily and deliciously.