The arrival of the fall and winter months signals many things, including the beginning of flu season. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, flu activity peaks between December and February.
Seasonal influenza can cause serious complications for people of any age, but children and the elderly are more vulnerable. The flu is most often associated with the sudden onset of fever, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, congestion, cough and sore throat. Most people recover within a few days to less than two weeks. Occasionally, complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis or other infections can occur.
The flu vaccine is your best chance of preventing the illness. Currently, the Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that anyone over 6 months of age receive an annual flu vaccine.
While there are many different types of flu viruses, the vaccine protects you against the viruses that experts believe will be most common that year.
In addition to getting your annual vaccine, here are some other tips to stay healthy this season:
You’ve heard the saying, but it turns out there’s truth in the statement. Apples are rich in flavonoids, which can help you reduce your risk of disease, according to a recent study published in the Nature Communications journal.
Flavonoids are a diverse group of naturally occurring plant chemicals that pack a powerful punch of antioxidants and anti-inflammation properties. There are a wide variety of foods that are considered flavonoids, including strawberries, blueberries, green and black tea, onions, kale and celery.
The research found that those who consumed at least 500 milligrams (mg) of flavonoids per day had the lowest risk of developing cancer or heart disease. Additionally, the health-boosting effects of flavonoids appeared to be strongest for smokers and those who drank more than two alcoholic beverages per day.
The study’s authors note that flavonoid consumption shouldn’t be used as a quick fix to remedy poor habits, but that when combined with living an overall healthy lifestyle, it could be useful for keeping disease at bay.
Yet another study has linked drinking soda to negative health effects. The European study, which researched the health of participants for an average of 16 years, found that drinking more than two sodas per day is linked to a risk of earlier death.
The researchers explained that the sugar in soda—regardless of whether the soda is diet or regular—can lead to obesity and can affect how your body uses insulin. Both of these conditions can shorten your life. In addition to this study’s findings, soda consumption has also been linked to an increased risk for cancer and heart disease.
To protect your health, try opting for water as your beverage choice whenever possible. For more information about the health risks of soda, please consult your doctor.
Place the rutabaga, carrots, parsnips, celery and chickpeas into a large pot.
Makes: 6 servings
Source: Government of Canada
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