How to protect yourself against the flu this fall

Protection from the flu

The dreaded flu season is arriving, and now is a good time to start preparing your defence system.

Immunity is your body’s ability to prevent the invasion of pathogens, which include bacteria, viruses and other foreign disease-causing substances. There are several simple ways to boost your body’s defence system and be your healthiest self this fall.

If you aren’t sure where to start, here are my go-to tips as your local Kelowna registered dietitian.

Eat a variety of whole foods – It’s important to make sure your body is getting an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals daily. The best way to achieve this is by eating a diet packed with fresh unprocessed whole foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains. A high-fibre, plant-rich diet with plenty of immune-supporting nutrients can help build and maintain a strong immune system. Immune-supporting nutrients can be found in plant foods, such as sweet potatoes, spinach, carrots, mango and broccoli. You can get most of the essential nutrients from eating a balanced diet through real food. If you are not sure whether you need a supplement, talk to your dietitian first.

Eat foods high in zinc – Zinc can help the immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses. Seafood (especially shellfish), meat, nuts and seeds, cooked dried beans, peas, lentils, soybean and its products (including tofu), are excellent sources of zinc. It's also found in grain and grain products such as wheat germ, bran cereals and wild rice.

Stay hydrated – Hydration is one of the key elements to maintaining good health and a strong immune system. Water in particular, helps to prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells and regulate body temperature. It is vital for the functioning of all our organs and plays a major role in keeping our immune systems functioning at high quality. After all, our body is made up of up to 60% water. Every cell in our body needs water to function properly therefore if we are dehydrated, our systems of immunity could start to break down. To help identify if you are adequately hydrated, pay attention to the colour of your urine. Aim for pale yellow (the colour of lemonade) or clear, which indicates good hydration status.

Get your flu shot – In addition to living a well-balanced life that includes physical activity and healthy food, the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones is to get the annual flu shot. Be sure to get your flu shot at your local Your Independent Grocer pharmacy when it becomes available to reduce your chance of getting the flu.

If you are looking for more nutrition and well-being advice this flu season, I am here to help.

As a registered dietitian at Peter’s Your Independent Grocer, I provide a range of services, such as virtual one-on-one consultations, store tours, and recipe ideas.

To discuss, book an appointment with me at https://www.dietitianservices.ca/.

Joy Zhuang is a registered dietitian in Kelowna at Peter’s Your Independent Grocer.

Harissa Tofu Breakfast Scramble


• 2 tbsp vegetable oil

• 1 red onion, finely chopped

• 1-1/2 cups PC cremini sliced mushrooms

• 5 PC steam-cooked fingerling potatoes

• Half pkg PC Blue Menu extra firm tofu

• 2 cups thinly sliced stemmed kale

• 1 tsp salt

• 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

• 1/2 cup PC sliced sweet red peppers

• 1/3 cup PC Memories of Tunisia red pepper harissa sauce

• 2 green onions, thinly sliced


1. Heat oil in large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add red onion and mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, 5 to 8 minutes.

2. Add potatoes; cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add tofu; cook, stirring often, until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes.

3. Add kale, salt and pepper; cook, stirring, until kale is wilted, about 1 minute. Add red peppers and harissa sauce; stir gently to coat. Sprinkle with green onions.

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