Ready for winter? Take These 6 Vitamins During Flu Season

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Unfortunately, it’s still here — flu season. As our chances of getting sick increase, we hope our immune system is ready to fight.

In addition to drinking plenty of fluids, taking enough sleep and by maintaining a healthy, balanced diet, you can also boost your immune system with vitamins this flu season.

When is the 2022 flu season?

Health professionals predicted that this 2022 flu season could start earlier this year. This means that as early as October, your likelihood of getting the flu may increase. The peak of flu season is usually around Thanksgiving and Christmas, with the season ending around March.

If you want an immune system booster, we’ve got you covered. Vitamins and nutrients can help, and we’ve rounded up the top picks.

Immune Boosting Vitamins and Nutrients

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Generally speaking, a varied diet of whole foods with lots of produce should help you stay healthy in give your body the nutrients it needs. If you want to take it a step further, you can find ways to incorporate more of the best vitamins for flu season into your life.

When it comes to vitamins and nutrients that boost the immune system, some of the favorites include:

Vitamin C

No surprise here: Vitamin C can help boost your immune system. When you are weak, you have an increased risk of diseases and infections.

Women should aim to get around 75 milligrams per day, while men should get around 90 mg of this vitamin. It’s quite easy since you can find it in:

  • Citrus
  • Broccoli
  • Strawberries
  • pepper
  • Spinach
  • kale

Vitamin B6

Your body uses this vitamin to make red and white blood cells, which boosts your ability to ward off disease. If you’re looking for the best vitamins for flu season, you should definitely add this one to your list.

You can get it from:

  • Poultry
  • Fish like tuna and salmon
  • Bananas
  • Chickpeas

Some cereals are also fortified with B6, so keep an eye out for your next grocery store.

Vitamin E

Studies show that vitamin E can boost your immune system and reduce your risk of infection, making it a powerful player during the 2022 flu season and beyond. You can get this vitamin from:

  • Certain vegetable oils, including sunflower, soybean, and safflower oil
  • Dark leafy greens like spinach or collard greens
  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Pumpkin
  • Lawyer

Vitamin D

This is another one of those immune-boosting vitamins that doesn’t get much acclaim, but makes a big difference. Too little vitamin D increases your risk of infection, while getting enough helps your immune system work at its best.

The problem is that some sources of vitamin D aren’t generally considered palatable (think: beef liver, cod liver oil, sardines). You can get it naturally through more palatable choices like salmon and tuna, but vitamin D is high on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. nutrient deficiencies report (PDF).

If you’re looking for a way to get more of this vitamin without turning to supplements, keep an eye out for groceries. You can find milk and juice fortified with vitamin D.

Polyphenols

Don’t stop your search for the best vitamins for flu season at vitamins alone. Certain nutrients can greatly help you stay healthy.

Take the example of polyphenols. These compounds come from plants and help to regulate your immune systemmaking it easier for your body to take the right steps to fight infection.

Fortunately, most fruits and vegetables contain polyphenols. A produce-rich diet should give your body plenty of these nutrients.

Beta carotene

Another plant powerhouse for the 2022 flu season, beta-carotene gives red and orange plants their hue. This too gives your immune system one leg up.

To incorporate more into your diet, look for brightly colored produce like sweet potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, and mangoes.

Can you take vitamins during the flu?

Despite your best efforts, you still fell ill. Now that you’re sick, can you take vitamins to cut short a cold or flu? Absolutely.

You should continue to take plenty of the vitamins listed above, which are best for flu season, but don’t stop there. In fact, some of the nutrients you might have hoped to see on the previous list work better once you’re already sick. We’ll take a look.

Which vitamins are best for illness?

When you are sick, it is very important to have a healthy and balanced diet. This helps give your body the nutrients it needs to fight your disease.

Beyond that, there are two nutrients that can help you bounce back faster:

  • Zinc: Your body needs this nutrient regularly, but it can be particularly useful once you are already fighting an infection. You can find zinc lozenges to give an extra boost to get healthy faster.
  • Vitamin C: Some of the best vitamins for flu season work to prevent illness, but can also play dual roles by fighting active infections. Vitamin C is a prime example. While most people need 100 mg or less of vitamin C each day when healthy, a high dose of vitamin C could help shorten the duration of your illness. Like zinc, you might want to find a supplement to add when you’re sick. Just make sure you don’t take 2000mg a day or else you might face some unwanted side effects.

Should you take vitamins this flu season?

Hand holding vitamin C supplements

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It depends. How do you usually eat? If you already eat a nutritious, whole-food diet with lots of colorful fruits and vegetables, you may already be getting most of the nutrients on this list. If your diet isn’t what medical experts would call balanced, however, adding vitamins to your daily routine can help you get through the 2022 flu season with less risk of getting sick.

Specifically, you may want to explore taking vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin D, and zinc. According to National Health and Nutrition Surveys from 2005 to 2016, among all adults 19 years and older, 46% of adults do not consume enough vitamin C, 95% do not consume enough vitamin D, 84% do not consume vitamin E and 15% zinc. Talk to your doctor. They can help you explore possible nutrient deficiencies through diagnostics like a blood test. Armed with this information, you’ll be better able to make choices to help you stay healthy, whether it’s changing your diet, taking vitamins, or both.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.

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