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6 wellness tips for flu prevention

Originally posted on benefitnews.com

The flu costs businesses approximately $10.4 billion in direct costs for hospitalizations and out-patient visits for adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition to encouraging workers to get immunized, employers can further minimize employee sick days and slow the spread of illness by communicating best practices in wellness and nutrition. Share these six preventive tips from Dr. Bruce Underwood, a certified nutrition and preventive care specialist with Healthy Futures, Inc., to keep workers and their families healthy this season.

1. Sufficient sleep

No matter whether an individual decides to get immunized for influenza, primary prevention should be their priority for avoiding illness. Dr. Underwood explains that a good basis for our immune system is to get a good night’s sleep, generally between six to eight hours every night.

2. Regular exercise

The surgeon general recommends all adults walk at least 10,000 steps or about 4 miles every day. If we over-exercise, then our immune system is weakened for a few days, explains Underwood. However, if we don’t exercise at all our immune system is also weak.

3. Vital nutrition

As the following three slides prove, we need vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids for our bodies to work well. Overall, Underwood recommends eating a wide variety of foods in amounts that allow you to maintain an ideal body weight.

4. Vitamin C

One of the most important vitamins for immune health is vitamin C. The upper safe limit for Vitamin C is 2,000 mg for adults, according to the National Institute of Health. Underwood and other experts recommend 1,000 mg of the vitamin as a good daily dose. Dietary sources of the vitamin come mainly from fruits and vegetables, but can also be found in certain cuts of meat, especially liver. Studies have shown that our bodies expend Vitamin C to mitigate toxins such as cigarette smoke and pollution. The antioxidant has also helps relieve the physical and psychological effects of stress on people.

5. Zinc

The mineral Zinc is also necessary in stressful situations. By ingesting 10 to 40 milligrams of Zinc each day, individuals can also help build up their immune system. Underwood advises people to keep their daily dosage under 100 mg per day, however, as too much of the metal might cause fever, coughing, stomach pain, fatigue, and many other problems. Meats, seafood, dairy products, nuts, legumes, and whole grains offer relatively high levels of zinc.