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Please Help Me Avoid the Flu Epidemic of 2013

Young Male Doctor Wearing Protective Headgear and Face MaskThis morning, before I left the house, I went to the usual section of my wardrobe that has all the winter clothes in it. I put together an outfit of warm clothes. Then, before I left, I grabbed the warmest coat I have, gloves and even a hat because it was pretty chilly. But, if you are like me, you fight the temptation every morning to put on some sort of mask to protect you from all the flu germs that seem to be saturating the air this time of year. This winter is no exception! Every day, there is a breaking news story about how the flu outbreak is affecting so many Americans. So, even though we don’t all hide from it like the plague, most of us are still concerned about how to avoid getting the flu and letting it infiltrate our houses.

As many of you know, there are other measures you can take to avoid getting the flu besides getting the flu shot. Although the flu is very tricky and can’t be figured out completely, we’ve identified some power foods to be sure to include in your diet this time of year to help fight the flu germs that threaten us at every grocery store, office meeting and social gathering.

Citrus Fruits: I know. Usually you’ll see multiple blog posts in the Spring and Summer encouraging you to eat fresh fruits and veggies. They’re in season and so fresh at that time of year. Plus, they’re easy to find and fun to eat. This time of year, they kind of get left in the dust (literally). But, citrus fruits like Oranges, Grapefruits and Limes contain high levels of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is a great food to have on hand when it comes to fighting cold and flu viruses.

Milk, Cheese and Yogurt: That’s right. Did you catch the trend here? Dairy! Dairy foods are a common source of Vitamin D. Vitamin D goes to work to fight viruses like the flu, helping to protect your body from their effects.
Meat: You may not pay a lot of attention to the amount of Zinc in your diet. But, zinc is important in keeping your immune system healthy and fighting off the flu. So, if you want to have a well-rounded flu prevention program, be sure to incorporate the appropriate servings of meat to take advantage of the zinc benefits. Just another little tip, red meats tend to have higher zinc levels than other meats.

Berries and Green Tea: If you’re looking for anti-oxidants, welcome to anti-oxidant central! Berries contain high levels of antioxidants, which are great for cleaning the free radicals out of your blood stream. Along with making your body healthier to help prevent the flu, antioxidants have also been touted as a great anti-aging tool and a way to help prevent many diseases.
So, here’s wishing all of you a flu-free 2013. And, be sure to share these tips with all of your favorite friends to help them avoid the flu too.

Do you have a place to display the best flu prevention tips? If so, NCES has created a free printable poster all about flu prevention. Click here to view and download this free poster.

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Over the River and Through the Woods… Across the Country We Go!

The holiday season is quickly approaching. And, if your family is like ours, you’ll be traveling to destinations across the country to share holiday cheer with as many family members as you can fit in to one jam-packed season! The holidays are all about family and traditions. So, the last thing you want to do is miss out on one of your family get-togethers. But, how do you keep your family healthy during all of your travels? There are a few tips and tricks that can give your family a heads up on staying healthy, even when you’re on the go!

  1. If your travels require you to eat out, try incorporating at least one serving of fruit and one serving of vegetables with each meal. (By the way, French fries and ketchup do not count as a vegetable!)
  2. Squeeze in exercise whenever and where ever you can.  Get creative with it: If you’re flying, try walking the airport terminals between flights. If you’re driving, when you stop for a break, race your kids around the car a few times to get everyone’s blood flowing and hearts pumping a little faster. This is a much better alternative to seeing who can pick out the most sugary snack at the convenience store.
  3. Limit yourself to one sweet a day.  It’s tough when your Aunt makes the best chocolate chip cookies ever and your Grandma makes a pecan pie that you may be willing to trade one of your kids for! But, try setting a goal that you will only allow yourself one sweet treat each day. Remember, you can always take some home to enjoy throughout the following couple of weeks.

Alright, are you ready for your healthiest holiday season yet? Providing resources that will help you stay healthy is our #1 goal. That is why we have compiled the best list of health and nutrition education resources available. Be sure to visit www.ncescatalog.com to view the latest, greatest nutrition products, including our Holiday Gift Baskets… wrapped and ready to give!