Nutritional essentials for flu season

With flu season upon us, we can make little changes to our habits, day by day, to keep the flu at bay and stay healthy.

Cold or flu?

As the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) explains, the flu is highly contagious. They go on to say that flu can spread quickly and easily—and that we pass the flu on to others even before we feel the symptoms ourselves1 People often confuse a cold with the flu. The Healthy Canadians website will help you tell the two apart. One final thing to remember is that a cold, while generally not a nice thing to have, has complications that are much less severe than those associated with a case of the flu.

Preventing flu

The PHAC2 also reports that there are lots of ways to prevent flu: getting your flu vaccine, washing your hands often, coughing and sneezing into your arm (not your hand), washing and disinfecting objects and surfaces that many people come into contact with, getting enough rest and sleep, engaging in moderate physical activity and eating well to ensure your immune system is strong.

Your immune system

According to a recent study3, nearly 80% of Quebecers report that they make changes to their living habits to help their immune system during the cold and flu season. However, only 18% of them modify their diet to include nutrients that help their immune system4.

However, for people who eat a balanced diet, their immune system is certainly more likely to be effective because a healthy diet will ensure your nutritional needs are fulfilled. Taking a multivitamin is also an excellent habit to get into to support your immune function.


A number of nutrients5 play a role in immune response. These include vitamin A, vitamin C, and zinc. Here are some examples of foods you can add to your menu to get these nutrients.

Vitamin A: liver, fish, eggs, carrots, mangoes, sweet potatoes, etc.

Vitamin C: bell peppers, oranges, cantaloupe, strawberries, broccoli, tomatoes, etc.

Zinc: raw Atlantic farmed oysters, beef, sesame seeds, legumes, etc.

Adopting a routine and certain daily habits can help support your immune system. It’s just a matter of making a few changes at a time, starting today.

Sources and references 


3. Perceptions And Behaviours Around Healthy Eating Survey, Oct. 2016.

4. Perceptions and Behaviours Around Healthy Eating Survey, Oct. 2016.

5. Isabelle Huot & Al., Stimulez votre système immunitaire, Les Éditions de l’Homme, 2008.

Nathalie Regimbal

Nathalie Regimbal is a dietician-nutritionist and mother of 3 kids. She oversees Manger Futé, a team of people passionate about diet that empowers those who want to feed children healthily. To demystify nutrition and diet, Nathalie gives advice on the show La Cantine on Channel V. In addition to her collaboration with, you can read her articles in several print and online magazines. Among others, she is a collaborator in nutrition for Yoopa and Célébrons magazines. To make meal time easier for families and initiate kids to cooking, Nathalie has worked hard to write inspiring books: the best-seller Du plaisir à bien manger… 80 recettes gagnantes pour les familles, and the Mandoline series of illustrated cook books for children, the latest one having just won the prestigious prize of the best French Healthy cooking book from the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2010. To help with meal preparation in daycare centres, the team of dieticians at Manger Futé offers classes and coaching. Manger Futé has also published the practical guides Élaborez rapidement un menu équilibré dans votre service de garde and Élaborez rapidement une politique alimentaire. Discover Nathalie Regimbal's books: Du plaisir à bien manger – 80 recettes gagnantes pour les familles Mandoline – J’ai ça dans le sang! Mandoline – Développe tes défenses naturelles!

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