Protect your health this flu season

Protecting yourself and others against seasonal illness through immune boosting nutrition.

It’s that time of year again that everyone dreads – cold and flu season! The timing of the flu can be unpredictable and varies from season to season. Flu activity most commonly peaks between December and February. Every day preventative measures such as healthy eating, hand washing and adequate sleep can boost your immune system health and decrease your chances of contracting seasonal illness.

Good nutrition is essential for a strong immune system, which may offer protection from seasonal illness, such as the flu. The best nutrients to include in your daily diet include: protein, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc.


  • Part of the body’s first defense
  • Food sources: lean meat, poultry, beans or unsalted nuts

Vitamin C

  • Protects you from infection by stimulating the formation of antibodies
  • Food sources: citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit and tangerines

Vitamin E

  • Works as an antioxidant to improve immune function
  • Food sources: almonds, hazelnuts and spinach


  • An important mineral that is essential to the body for wound healing
  • Food sources: lean meat, poultry, beans, milk and whole grain products

Hand washing tip: Keeping your hands clean is one of the most important steps to take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs. Many diseases and illnesses can be prevented by washing hands with soap and clean, warm, running water. This can also be helpful in areas with high concentrations of people that are exposed to illness, such as a school or hospital.

Sleep tip: Maintaining adequate amounts of sleep is vital to your health and wellbeing. The immune system works the most while you’re resting. It is recommended to obtain seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

Looking for more information on how to protect yourself and your family this flu season? Contact Michigan State University Extension worksite wellness coordinator, Dawn Earnesty at or visit

Did you find this article useful?