North America CEO George Abercrombie discusses global and corporate preparedness.

Click here to view the video.

capture0013.png
Mushrooms

Mushrooms, ranging from the portobello to the cremini and white button, all contain beta-glucans, which can strengthen your ability to fight off a cold. The theory is that they help the immune system recognize and destroy disease-causing cells, says Chicago-based registered dietitian David Grotto. Mushrooms make a great side dish or addition to a stir fry.

Best Cold- And Flu-Fighting Foods

By Allison Van Dusen, January 23, 2008, FORBES.com – Every new year, Lisa Hark finds herself waiting for her kids at the bus stop with a bunch of other moms, most of whom have colds. Hark, on the other hand, can’t remember the last time she was sick.

Her secret? Hark, longtime director of the Nutrition Education and Prevention Program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, credits, in part, her well-balanced diet. She regularly eats a variety of citrus fruits and lean protein, which she says helps her immune system stay strong.

Seems she’s on to something. As colds and the flu make the rounds at your office this winter, Hark and other nutrition experts say there’s no reason to assume getting sick is inevitable. By regularly incorporating certain foods into your meals, in addition to maintaining good hygiene and an exercise regimen, you may be able to stave off illness or, at the least, shorten its duration.

“If we take a look at the common cold and influenza, these are bugs that we’ve been using drugs somewhat ineffectively to fight,” says David Grotto, a Chicago-based registered dietitian and author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life. “Now there’s really good research that shows foods can help with fighting virulent strains of bacteria.”
Grotto, who makes house calls for clients seeking nutrition makeovers, says eating foods such as cremini, portobello or white button mushrooms and barley can have a real impact. Sources of beta-glucan, they support the immune system. If you’re looking for an antibacterial boost, pour on the garlic. It contains phytochemicals, such as allicin, which can kill bacteria.

Top Superfoods

It turns out that many of the foods mom made when you were sick also can help you fight off a cold. Tea with honey is a combo that packs antibacterial and antiviral polyphenols and can aid in treating a sore throat or bacterial infection, Grotto says. Warm broth, full of phytochemicals leaked by steeping vegetables, may have antibacterial properties, too.

One way to make sure you’re getting enough of these types of foods in your diet is to avoid skipping meals, Hark says. If you always eat breakfast, you can regularly aid your immune system by eating oats. Skip it and you’re not giving yourself the fuel you need to recover from an overnight fast, potentially compromising your ability to fight off infection. When you’re feeling run down, you’re also more likely to grab whatever is available to keep you going, such as a nutritionally lacking donut, creating a vicious circle of bad eating.

.If you’re spending most of your time eating out, order a side salad packed with spinach leaves–not a Caesar. Skip the side of pasta and order a double helping of colorful veggies. Going out for drinks? Hark suggests having a screwdriver, which will at least give you a dose of vitamin C. While it’s not clear how much of an impact vitamin C has on the common cold, it is an antioxidant that the body uses to stay healthy.

What’s more, by adding nutritious fare to your diet, you might be getting a bigger benefit than you realize. Research is beginning to show that when some foods are combined they produce a healthy synergy, says Wendy Bazilian, a doctor of public health, registered dietitian and author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet. Pairing a tomato with a bit of olive oil, for instance, may improve absorption of the antioxidant lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that’s been demonstrated to have protective properties.

Susan Atkins, 50, a San Diego-based accountant, has been following a diet full of disease-fighting, healthy “superfoods,” such as peppers, nuts, grains and sweet potatoes, since May. Not only has the switch eliminated her acid reflux and gastrointestinal problems, but it’s also given her a lot more energy.

“Within a week,” she says, “I noticed a difference.”

But if you can’t stand cabbage, don’t force yourself to eat it just to keep a cold away. Focus on adding healthy foods you like to your diet. Many experts believe that the act of enjoying your food also can have a therapeutic effect on the body.
“Go for convenience, accessibility and, first and foremost,” Grotto says, “it’s got to taste good.”

List of Best Cold and Flu Fighting Foods

Tea
Virtually calorie-free, inexpensive and readily available, tea is full of polyphenols, which are protective antioxidants. Polyphenols are antibacterial, antiviral and act as anti-inflammatories, says Wendy Bazilian, a doctor of public health, registered dietitian and author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet. If you want to get the most out of your cup, be aware that milk may interfere with the absorption of disease-fighting catechins, says Chicago-based registered dietitian David Grotto.

Garlic
It may not be good for your breath, but garlic is great for your body. That’s because it contains the phytochemicals that kill bacteria, soak up cholesterol and fight cancer, says David Grotto, a Chicago-based registered dietitian and author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life. To get the most out of your cloves, peel, crush and cut them, then let them sit for 15 minutes before cooking.

Mushrooms
Mushrooms, ranging from the portobello to the cremini and white button, all contain beta-glucans, which can strengthen your ability to fight off a cold. The theory is that they help the immune system recognize and destroy disease-causing cells, says Chicago-based registered dietitian David Grotto. Mushrooms make a great side dish or addition to a stir fry.

Oats
Full of fiber, oats contain vitamins E and B, a number of minerals and immune system-boosting beta-glucans. They’ve been used to address everything from stomach discomfort and digestive ailments to cholesterol, says David Grotto, a Chicago-based registered dietitian and author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life. To up your intake, sneak oats into your meatloaf or meatballs or use them in chicken breading.

Elderberry
They’re not always easy to find but they’re worth the trouble. Elderberries contain more vitamin C than most fruits. They’re also packed with phytochemicals that have anti-inflammatory, antiviral and cancer-fighting properties, says Chicago-based registered dietitian David Grotto. Juice from these berries is also a traditional cold remedy. Grotto suggests adding elderberries to an apple pie.

Cabbage
A source of vitamin C, fiber and phytochemicals known as glucosinolates, cabbage is thought to prevent cancer and heal ulcers. Scientists also have reported that the leafy vegetable has helped animals recover from viruses, says David Grotto, a Chicago-based registered dietitian and author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life. Although it’s high in sodium, try adding sauerkraut to your hot dog to offset its processed contents.

Honey
Full of antioxidants, honey has long been used to help treat sore throats and other bacterial infections. It also can assist in the growth of friendly bacteria, improving gut health, and some research has shown it may help fight cancer, says Chicago-based registered dietitian David Grotto. Sneak more honey in your diet by using it to replace sugar in tea and coffee.

Whey Protein
It’s not just for body builders. Whey protein is full of branched chain amino acids, which aid in muscle repair and development, says Chicago-based registered dietitian David Grotto. Studies also have shown it can enhance the immune system, neutralizing the effects of free radicals. Grotto recommends adding whey protein to fruit smoothies.

Barley
Another source of fiber and beta-glucans, barley has been shown to improve immunity as well as lower cholesterol. The antioxidants found in barley also protect cells from damage, says David Grotto, a Chicago-based registered dietitian and author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life. Grotto. Barley can easily be added to soups, stews and salads.

Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are full of fiber and immune system-boosting betacarotene, says Chicago-based registered dietitian David Grotto. Pop one in the oven whole or thinly slice, season and bake them for a healthy bowl of chips. Look for potatoes with darker flesh, which have higher betacarotene content.