September 16, 2020

Preparing for the Cold, Flu and Covid Season

by Stephanie Dang, RD

First things first, look at the detailed list of protective measures you should be taking during this pandemic on the BC CDC Website.

As for dietary modifications, there is currently no strong evidence that specific foods or nutrients can directly impact the prevention, duration, or severity of COVID-19. However, we know that good nutrition is the foundation of health and immunity, so it may have more impact than we think!

Gut Health
We have learned a lot about gut health in recent years, especially its impact on health and immunity. You can find 100 trillion live microorganisms (bacteria) in your gut that directly impact your immune system and protect your body from disease and infection. If we do not take care of our gut health, it cannot take care of us and therefore we become more susceptible to sickness. So what can we do to promote gut health and immune function? You should focus on prebiotic-containing foods that feed the beneficial bacteria in our gut, such as oats, wheat bran, barley, bananas, asparagus, and apples.

Here are a few Rogers products that are a good source of prebiotics that will help your beneficial gut bacteria thrive:

Porridge Oats Original Blend: https://www.rogersfoods.com/product/rogers-porridge-oats-original-blend/
Porridge Steel Cut Oats Blend: https://www.rogersfoods.com/product/rogers-porridge-steel-cut-oats-blend/
Porridge Oats Ancient Grain Blend: https://www.rogersfoods.com/product/porridge-oats-ancient-grain-blend/
Large Flake Oats: https://www.rogersfoods.com/product/rogers-large-flake-oats/
Wheat Bran: https://www.rogersfoods.com/product/natural-wheat-bran/
9 Grain Cereal: https://www.rogersfoods.com/product/rogers-9-grain/

Flavonoids
These compounds give fruits and vegetables their colour. Flavonoids have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-microbial, and antioxidant properties which help boost immune function, and may reduce your chance of getting infections. Ensure you are getting enough flavonoids by incorporating foods such as berries, leafy greens, green tea, red wine, legumes, and citrus fruits into your daily diet. For example, add fresh or frozen berries to your Rogers Porridge Oats blend (https://www.rogersfoods.com/product/rogers-porridge-oats-original-blend/).

Vitamin D
Also known as the “sunny” vitamin because we can make it from UV exposure through our skin. But depending on where you are located relative to the equator, you may not be making as much vitamin D as you think! Vitamin D plays a key role in immune function, and researchers have found that people with low levels of vitamin D were more likely to develop respiratory illnesses. It is hard for us to make enough from sun exposure, and there are few foods that will give us enough vitamin D through diet. Therefore, a vitamin D supplement of 1000-2000 IU per day is recommended (year round!).

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, which helps fight cell-damaging free radicals. We also know that vitamin C plays a crucial role in immune mechanisms that help your body fight off infection. We don’t usually recommend a vitamin C supplement because the best way to obtain vitamin C is through fruits and vegetables, such as citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, leafy greens, bell peppers, and more! Getting vitamin C through food instead of supplements makes sure you are also ingesting other important protective compounds, such as phytonutrients. So rule of thumb – make sure each meal and most snacks have some sort of fruit or vegetable, either fresh or frozen!

Echinacea
Echinacea is a herb that has shown to help prevent the common cold, and even help with recovery from illness. The recommended adult dosage from the literature is 2.4 g per day for prevention, and 4 g per day for treatment. Remember, if you have preexisting conditions or are currently on medications, check with your healthcare provider before making changes to your supplement routine. You can find echinacea at your local pharmacy or health foods store!

Physical Activity & Stress Management
Physical activity is well known for its beneficial effects on mental and physical health. All physical activity should be done with social distancing measures in mind, but being outside and getting a little bit sweaty can do wonders for your physical and mental health. Try going outside for at least 15 minutes per day to help you de-stress.

There is a lot of uncertainty during these times, so it’s completely normal to feel more anxious, stressed, or scared than usual. While these are great tips to help you stay healthy, it is okay if your eating habits are different than usual, or if you haven’t had the time or energy to be as active as usual.

On behalf of Rogers Grains, we encourage everyone to be kind to yourself and others during these times. We hope everyone stays safe, and tries their best to keep others around them safe as well.

Want a healthy treat to boost your immune system and create a healthy gut? Try Stephanie’s delicious cookie recipe!

Choco Oat Banana Cookies

These Choco-Oat-Banana Cookies are a real winner with the whole family!
Rogers Porridge Oats is a high fibre and high protein combination of oat flakes, wheat bran, oat bran and flaxseed that is excellent for cooking for adding to baked goods. This recipe is high in prebiotics, which will do wonders for your gut health!

Be sure to post your photos and tag @RogersGrains on social media platforms!

Ingredients:
4 medium overripe bananas
¼ cup almond milk (or other preferred milk)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
¼ cup natural peanut butter
2 ¼ cups Rogers Porridge Oats Original Blend (https://www.rogersfoods.com/product/rogers-porridge-oats-original-blend/)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Recipe:
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Mash bananas in a large mixing bowl until no big chunks are present.
Stir in milk, vanilla extract, applesauce, Rogers Porridge Oats Original Blend, and cinnamon until well combined.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Form dough into balls and flatten on a greased baking sheet.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, depending on the thickness of each cookie.
Enjoy!

Dietitian Tips:
Replace chocolate chips with raisins for a higher fiber option
Use pumpkin seed butter instead of peanut butter for a nut free option
Store cookies in the freezer to keep them fresh all week long!

References:
1. Efficacy of ginger for nausea and vomiting: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials (Ernst, E., Pittler, M. H., 2000)
2. Effect of Honey on Nocturnal Cough and Sleep Quality: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study (Cohen, H., Rozen, J., Kristal, H., Laks, Y., Berkovitch, M., Uziel, Y., Kozer, E., Pomeranz, A., Efrat, H., 2012)
3. Vitamin C and Immune Function (Carr, A., Maggini, S., 2017)
4. Effect of Flavonoids on Upper Respiratory Tract Infections and Immune Function: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (Somerville, V., Braakhuis, A., Hopkins, W., 2016)
5. Cough and Cold Remedies for the treatment of Acute Respiratory Infections In Young Children (World Health Organization, 2001)
6. Self-Care for Common Colds (Rondanelli, M., Miccono, A., Lamburghini, S., Avanzato, I., Riva, A., Allegrini, P., Faliva, M., Peroni, G., Nichetti, M., Perna, S., 2018)
7. Zinc for the common cold (Singh, M., Das, R., 2013)
8. The common cold in adults: Diagnosis and physical features (UpToDate, accessed October 1, 2018).
9. Clinical manifestations of seasonal influenza in adults (UpToDate, accessed October 1, 2018)
10. Dietary Reference Intakes, Health Canada (https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/healthy-eating/dietary-reference-intakes/tables/reference-values-vitamins-dietary-reference-intakes-tables-2005.html)
11. Echinacea purpurea, Health Canada (http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=echinacea.purpurea&lang=eng)
#cold #flu #sick #health #naturalremedies #homeremedies #holisticnutrition
12. Bischoff SC. ‘Gut health’: a new objective in medicine? BMC Med. 2011;9:24.
13. The role of gut microbiota in immune homeostasis and autoimmunity (Wu, Hsin-Jung, and Eric Wu. 2012). Gut microbes vol. 3,1: 4-14.

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