33MD for February 17, 2009

POSTED: Tuesday, February 17, 2009 - 7:16pm

UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 10:57pm

It may be warming up here in South Louisiana, but you need to keep in mind the Flu season isn’t over yet. There are things you can do to help keep yourself healthy until Spring arrives.

When it comes to fruits and vegetables, the more colorful, the better for your health. Registered Dietitian Don Mankie says, ‘The deep greens, yellows, oranges have a lot of Vitamin C in them and a lot of Vitamin A, and they have immune boosting properties. Some people know them as antioxidants.”

Carbohydrates also help, as long as you’re taking a bite of fruit, oatmeal, or whole grains. “A lot of studies, they have found a high fat diet like 38% fat in the diet can stress the immune system.”

That’s why adding exercise is the key. The right amount of exercise can rid your body of stress, which in turn alleviates the level of Cortisol in your body. Fitness trainer Jesse Hilmandolar says, “When you have too much Cortisol in your body, basically your immune system and the white blood cells can’t function like they should.”

Combine a good workout with those colorful fruits and vegetables and don’t forget to add some protein. “Protein is what makes up the actual immune system cells in your body.”

Putting you on a track to a healthier lifestyle well after the winter months thaw.

If you’re a woman, that cup of Joe may have more benefits than you think. A new Harvard study says drinking coffee may help ward off strokes. Scientists say women who regularly drink at least two cups of coffee a day, reduce their risk of stroke by nearly 20%. The catch is, you can’t really benefit if you have a cigarette with your coffee.