Monday, October 12, 2009

Boost Your Family’s Immunity

Flu season is fast approaching. This year parents are more concerned than usual due to the swine flu’s epidemic and its possible hard-hitting effect on young children. We all want to protect ourselves and our children. So how can we boost our family’s immunity and our body’s ability to resist disease?
Today, Judy Caplan, Registered Dietitian, Nutrition Editor for FAMILY Magazine and author of the children’s book Gobey Gets Full – Good Nutrition in a Nutshell (, shared tips on how to Boost Your Family’s Immunity during the Moms Like Me segment on WUSA9.
Judy suggests:
While there is no magic bullet to prevent coming down with a virus, you can reduce your chances of getting sick by improving the overall health of your body. Take a three pronged approach to building resistance:
· Get plenty of rest
· Exercise regularly
· And on the nutrition side, eat plenty of vegetables and foods high in vitamin A

Foods high in vitamin A help fight infections:

Studies show that Vitamin A and its metabolites play a role in immunity to infectious disease by keeping mucosal tissue healthy. Viruses often enter the body through mucus membranes. However this does not mean you should go out and start taking vitamin A supplements. Vitamin A supplements in large doses can cause liver toxicity. So instead of supplements, increase foods that are high in vitamin A.

Vitamin A rich foods:
In the vegetable group broccoli, carrots (either cooked or raw), kale, and spinach are very high in Vitamin A. Baked yams are also a good source. In the fruit department, apricots, cantaloupe, papaya, avocado and tomatoes are the best sources for Vitamin A. Yes avocados and tomatoes are technically fruits!

How to work Vitamin A rich veggies into your diet on a daily basis:
Kids like dipping, so steam some broccoli and have them dip it in ranch dressing. Carrots are great in soups (so is broccoli), grated in salads, and baked in muffins and breads. You can make a delicious and healthy spinach and artichoke dip with low fat cheese, served hot with whole grain crackers. (We can post some recipes on the web site) Baked yams are also a hit with kids.
How to work in Vitamin A rich fruits into your diet on a daily basis:
Apricot jam can be spread on whole grain toast with natural peanut butter or added to plain yogurt. Dried apricots and papaya make a great sweet snack. But just eat a few as they are high in calories. Avocados are great as toppings on sandwiches, salads, and beans. Guacamole makes a great snack with baked whole grain chips.

For more articles and resources about how to “Boost Your Family’s Immunity,” visit the Washington FAMILY Magazine web site –

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