We all know that we're suppose to eat more of what's on the perimeter of the grocery store than what's in the isles - but that's hard to do. When the flu and cold virus comes around, though, it may be even more important to stick to the perimeter.
"We live in a society that eats so much processed and manufactured food, that I think there's some genuine confusion about what qualifies as a whole food," says Tara Gidus, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. Eating whole foods is all about eating as close to the natural state of foods as possible, which means reading the ingredient statement on the back of the packing, not just trusting front of the package or an engineered nutrition facts statement. The ingredient statement declares the contents of the food and it's the truth to eat by.
"When you eat whole foods, you're getting the food in its natural state," Gidus says. "You're getting it intact, with all of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that are in the food." These whole foods are the fuel for your body to fight infection, inflammation, and viruses.
There are many places to get whole food items, from your own, home-grown fruits and vegetables, to your farmers market, to the perimeter of your local grocer. But don't stop there, frozen and dried fruit is also an exceptional source of whole food that supplies all the nutrients you need to help stay healthy.
The best thing to remember as you face the seasonal issues with viruses and the flu is to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, eat well (whole foods), and stay hydrated. It's all about giving your body its best shot at making a great defense!
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