5 Essential Nutrients to Get Your Clients Through Cold and Flu Season
As the weather gets colder, a number of factors increase the chances of your clients catching cold and flu viruses. Stress, sudden changes in weather, and spending more time inside in closer quarters with other people, all increase their risk of getting sick.
You can help them stay healthier and avoid catching a nasty bug by encouraging them to incorporate a range of nutrients that prevent colds and flu by supporting immune function:
Nutrient #1: Zinc to Prevent Colds
This essential mineral helps keep the immune system strong, supports wound healing, and is important in normal growth.
If you have your clients start taking zinc as soon as they feel a tickle in their throat or nose that they may be able to dramatically decrease the symptoms and severity of colds. That’s because zinc also directly attack cold viruses so that they can’t multiply and grow stronger in the mucous membranes and upper respiratory tract system.
Foods high in zinc include oysters, beef, lentils, chickpeas, and mushrooms. But as zinc works best within 24 hours of developing symptoms, it’s good to advise clients to have zinc on hand in their cold and flu medicine cabinet.
Nutrient #2: Vitamin D to Support Immunity
This essential nutrient is important for bone health, as it helps improve the absorption of calcium. Studies have also shown that vitamin D may protect against colon, breast and prostate cancers, and it also has heart-protective factors.
It is also essential for the immune system to fight off invading bacteria and viruses. Studies have found that high levels of vitamin D are associated with a lower risk of upper respiratory tract infections.
In the summer, it’s easy to get plenty of the “sunshine” vitamin by exposing more skin to natural light while spending time outdoors. But as the days get shorter and colder, more people spend time covered up and indoors, so they don’t get access to this natural source of Vitamin D.
Fish like salmon, sardines, herring, and oysters are high in Vitamin D, and egg yolks are too. But if food sensitivities or mercury are a concern, fortified foods or a vitamin D supplement is a good addition to a client’s winter routine.
Nutrient #3: Vitamin C to Fight Infection
Vitamin C may not shorten the life of a cold, but it does contain powerful antioxidants that can help resist illness. They help support the production of white blood cells, which help protect the body against infection. And they protect against free radicals and oxidative stress, which causes inflammation.
This essential nutrient supports overall wellness and is necessary for the formation of collagen, for iron absorption, to support wound healing, strengthening the skin barrier, and maintaining cartilage, bones, and teeth.
Of course, citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, and so are broccoli, red peppers, and kiwis, parsley, and thyme. Citrus fruits are high in sugar, so if that is a concern, vitamin C supplements can help.
Nutrient #4: Probiotics to Support Digestion
There are about 100 trillion bacteria living in your digestive system as the gut microbiota. While much of this system is still a mystery, more studies are pointing to the influence of healthy gut bacteria balance in disease prevention and immune system strength.
Healthy guts start with good care and feeding of the microbiota with the right kinds of fiber-rich, prebiotic foods, such as apples, bananas, dandelion greens, asparagus, garlic and onions.
You can recommend clients also add probiotic foods, which contain the healthy live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your microbiome, such as yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles and miso.
Supplementing with probiotics has also been found to help reduce overall cold and flu symptoms and increase overall immune activity. Probiotics are most effective when taken as part of a regular supplement regimen.
Nutrient #5: Curcumin to Fight Inflammation
Also known as the key antioxidant in turmeric, this antioxidant compound is often used to fight pain, help with joint health and chronic inflammation. Because of its ability to fight free radicals and reduce oxidative stress, curcumin is associated with overall cellular health.
Curcumin has been studied for its ability to support the body’s natural defense against bacteria, viruses and fungi. Studies have also found that curcumin’s antioxidant properties support the immune system as well as good gut health.
Turmeric is a key ingredient in many Indian curries, some Southeast Asian foods, and it is also the ingredient that gives golden milk or golden lattes their color.
It can be difficult to get enough curcumin through food alone, so you can recommend that your clients supplement with a bioavailable form of curcumin during the winter months.
With the right foods, supplements, as well as encouraging frequent hand washing, your clients can avoid catching the seasonal ills and stay healthy all winter long.
Add Supplements Through Our In-App Dispensary
Did you know that you can now add supplements to your clients’ plans directly through your app? We have streamlined the process for you. You can recommend specific supplements and track their progress with your recommendations, all in one place. Read more about in-app supplements and increasing compliance here.