Unfortunately for many of us, along with holiday cheer, the winter months also bring cold and flu season, making our immune systems work a little harder than they do during the rest of the year. Despite the commonly prescribed remedies of chicken soup and bed rest, there is no sure cure for the common cold or flu. The best way to fight off illness is to keep your immune system healthy to begin with, and the best way to do that is to get proper nutrition. If you have a Canteen Choice Plus better-for-you vending program or micro-market service in your school or workplace, you already have access to any number of the flu-fighting nutrients you need to stay healthy.
The following nutrients, and foods where you can find them, will help keep your immune system strong throughout the winter months.
– Vitamin C: Vitamin C is one of your immune system’s strongest comrades. In the body, it acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from damage. In addition, vitamin C helps our bodies absorb iron and helps the immune system work properly to protect the body from illness.
You can find Vitamin C in any number of citrus fruits, berries, and fruit juices. To get your daily dose, select a bottle of 100% orange or berry juice, a dried fruit strip, or any variety of dried fruit mixes from Canteen’s Choice Plus better-for-you product selection.
– Vitamin D: Vitamin D helps our bodies fight off bacteria and viruses, and is extra important to get from food in the winter, since in many regions, our levels drop due to lack of sun exposure.
Vitamin D can be found in dairy products, fish, eggs, and mushrooms. In addition, many of the granola bars, cereals, snack mixes, and even juices that meet Canteen’sChoice Plus criteria are fortified with Vitamin D.
– Vitamin E: Vitamin E, like Vitamin C works as an antioxidant and like Vitamin D is important to boosting the immune system to help fight bacteria and viruses.
Vitamin E can be found in nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, and whole grains. For a healthy snack throughout the day, grab a trail mix or granola bar with almonds, cashews, or peanuts to load up on Vitamin E. Any Canteen vending machine or Refreshment Services program can be tailored to provide a variety of snacks that contain this essential vitamin and meet our Choice Plus criteria.
– Selenium: Selenium is part of more than two dozen proteins with key functions in our bodies including protection from infection.
Selenium can be found in certain nuts, like Brazil nuts, as well as tuna and poultry. Opt for a sandwich or salad with tuna or chicken from an Avenue C micro-market.
– Zinc: Zinc not only supports our immune system, but is also needed for proper sense of taste and smell.
Oysters are the highest source of zinc, but it can also be found in meat, beans, nuts and fortified cereals. In addition, many teas, juices, and vitamin-enhanced beverages available from our Choice Plus product catalog can offer you additional zinc.
It’s always important to get the right nourishment throughout the day, but even more so throughout the holiday season. With Canteen Choice Plus products andAvenue C micro-markets, you have access to the nourishment your body needs, even on your busiest days at school, work, or wherever you’re out and about. The best part about our Choice Plus offering is that you can incorporate products meeting our dietitian-developed nutritional criteria into any vending machine or office coffee services program.
For businesses, helping employees stay nourished and healthy will impact your bottom line, by keeping cold and flu season from clearing out your workplace for the winter. Along with getting proper nutrition throughout winter, make sure to follow the tried-and-true tricks like washing your hands, dressing warm in cold weather, and staying home to get well at the first sign of an illness.
Contact Canteen to learn more about the better-for-you vending or micro-market options in your region.