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Did you know there's a quick and simple way to boost immunity and decrease our family's risk of getting the flu?
WHAT DO WE KNOW?
According to the CDC, the 2017-2018 flu season was a high severity season, with a total of 183 pediatric deaths reported (that exceeds the previously highest number of pediatric flu-associated deaths). Unfortunately in the U.S., up to 20% of the population will get the flu each year.
On top of having to review statistics like this, the research organization I work for sends me weekly updates on the flu outbreak in the military. It's my friendly reminder to do everything I can to reduce my family's risk of getting the flu. After all, I really hate to see my kids suffer with a fever, chills, vomiting, and achy discomfort!
By now, most of us are well aware that proper hand washing and keeping our kids home from school when sick can go a long way to stop the spread of the illness. In addition to vaccines, there are many foods and supplements intended to boost our immune function to decrease our susceptibility to common illnesses. Foods high in vitamin C and zinc are a well-known ways to boost immunity. However, here's a natural and effective way to reduce our family's risk that you may not have heard of!
WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?
Researchers believe a substance called beta-glucan can boost our immune system in a way that provides extra protection from common infections like the flu. To review the nerdy ins and out of how scientists believe it works, check out this study that found short-term oral application of beta-glucan stimulated physical endurance in children with respiratory problems and helped boost their immunity.
But does that mean we have to give our kids beta-glucan in a medication? Nope! Beta-glucan is found in nutritional yeast, a food available at most health foods stores and available online.
When just 1/16th of a teaspoon of nutritional yeast was given to a group of children in a 12 week study, the rate of common childhood infection was cut in half. Of those kids who did acquire an infection, the length of illness was reduced to 3 days verses 9 days in the placebo group. Scientists believe the specific immune cells stimulated by beta-glucan go off to fight foreign invaders like the flu.
So let's stop and think about this...by adding a super small amount of nutritional yeast to my family's food I might be able to significantly reduce our risk of getting the flu? Yes, please! And given there are so many other great benefits to nutritional yeast, why the heck not give it a try?!
Team Valentine's Favorite Ways to Use
Sprinkle on veggies prior to oven roasting (our kids gobble up diced carrots!)
Cut zucchini in half, then length-wise into fry-like shapes. Season with nutritional yeast, oregano, and garlic salt prior to oven roasting.
Toss cauliflower with light BBQ sauce and nutritional yeast, oven bake.
Sprinkle on kale prior to oven baking into "chips." Add sea salt and additional spices as desired.
Sprinkle on Green Giant microwavable riced cauliflower.
Use to season fry-shaped red or white potatoes prior to baking. Add garlic powder, pepper, and sea salt as desired.
Sprinkle on a salad.
Sprinkle on Simply Legumes healthy pasta alternative.
Bake into your favorite casserole recipe.
Team Valentine Project is all about finding realistic, simple, and science-based ways to make wellness work. Make sure to see all of our wellness content by "Liking" us on Facebook, following us on Instagram @TeamValentineProject, and subscribing to teamvalentineproject.com.
Additional Flu Resources
CDC parents resource:
When to stay home from school:
Fun hand washing songs and videos:
More about the science of beta-glucan: