Lower risk of cold symptoms with fruit and fitness

Woman with a cold is lying on a couch

Winter is the peak of cold and flu. If you have not been thinking about what lifestyle changes you can make to improve your immunity, it’s time to start. Chief allies in the battle lines against infection: fitness and fruit.

David Nieman, PhD – one of the superstars of the  North Carolina Research Campus, home to Dole’s Nutrition Research Laboratory – looked at the dietary and lifestyle habits of 1,002 people (age 18 to 85, of both genders) during a twelve week period during the cold season while monitoring symptoms of Upper Respiratory Tract Infection.

Fewer days of sickness thanks to healthy eating

The major  finding: 43% fewer days of symptoms (4.4 vs. 8.2 days) among fit individuals (i.e., 5 days or more of activity) plus 32% less severity of symptoms. Another finding was 27% fewer days of sickness (4.7 vs. 6.5 days) among those who ate more than 3 servings of fruit per day.

A woman is drinking a fruity smoothie after she had done some sports
Picture: Perfect team to prevent colds – fruit and fitness

Rethink your habits

Taking all factors into account, the most vulnerable lifestyle typology was young, unfit, highly educated, divorced female who doesn’t eat any fruit at all. If some of that sounds like you, jump on factors within your immediate control by finding more time to exercise and prioritizing fruit! Bananas, pineapple, kiwis, papaya, mango – tropical fruit in general tends to supply good quantities of immune-supporting vitamin C.

What else can you do to arm yourself against illness?

  • Get zinc – not from supplements – but from healthy sources like crab, oysters, turkey, beans, and oats.
  • Take time for tea: Harvard researchers found  tea drinkers enjoyed significantly higher anti-viral interferon in their bloodstream.
  • Go Brazilian: One Brazil nut supplies 160% of the RDA for selenium, which supports synthesis of proteins that suppress flu viruses.

Get healthy through the winter! Your Dole Team

Some Brazil nuts in a glass
Picture: Selenium from Brazil nuts can help in the fight against influenza viruses

 

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