(WTNH) — We are in the heart of cold and flu season as well as the pandemic, which means it is important to take steps to stay healthy. One way to do that is through nutrition.
“There’s this idea of boosting your immune system. You really can’t ‘boost’ it,” said Chris Barrett, a registered dietician with Hartford HealthCare. “So, the use of your wholesome diet — foods that have Vitamin A, C, D, Zinc — those are going to be really good sources.”
Barrett said a great way to start is by eating more fruits and vegetables.
“Right now, we’re in a really great time to have Vitamin A, which is also beta carotene is a sub-group of that,” explained Barrett. “Those include winter squashes, like butternut squash that’s so delicious, sweet potatoes, carrots. They also include broccoli, tomatoes, and something even more foreign like mango.”
The key is mixing it up.
“It’s about having a variety,” said Barrett. “Diversity of fruits and vegetables also gives you a better diversity of your gut and your immune health is really driven from your gut health.”
Barrett also urged extreme caution about herbal remedies.
“They’re not regulated, except by the company,” said Barrett. “The FDA only really steps in when things start to go bad, or people get hurt, or worse.”
He also debunked a misconception you might have about Zinc and Vitamin C.
“The thing is, it doesn’t prevent you from getting the flu or the common cold, it just reduces the duration of it and potentially the duration of the symptoms,” Barrett told News 8.
Beyond nutrition, Barrett said it’s important to get the recommended amount of sleep, find time to move and exercise, and practice good hand hygiene.