Get Your ZACES On!

It’s bound to happen this season. You come in contact with someone who is coughing and sneezing or you touch surfaces that harbor all sorts of cold pathogens. Next thing you know, you are sneezing and congested, your throat is sore, and you have a runny nose. It happened to me several weeks ago. I felt fine one day, and the next day a tissue was my constant companion.

The common cold is a group of symptoms caused by any number of viruses. Most colds last seven to ten days and are little more than an annoyance. Symptoms that last longer may be the result of a bacterial infection that requires greater attention. Since colds are caused by viruses, not bacteria, it is best to avoid antibiotics when you have a cold unless your physician diagnoses a secondary bacterial infection. Note: Antibiotics kill bacteria, they do not kill viruses.

We are all aware that general immune health is highly dependent on how we treat our bodies. Nutrient-dense, well-balanced meals, nourishing fluids, exercise, plenty of sleep, stress management, and good hand-washing practices go a long way toward preventing illness.

As someone with food sensitivities, I know the benefit of keeping my diet as free of my triggers as possible. When I let my diligence slip, my immune system has to work overtime to keep up…and that’s what happened several weeks ago when the cold came knocking at my door. It was a good reminder of the importance of giving my immune system extra care, especially during this seasonal transition. So now it’s time to up my game!

The micronutrients best known to guard against colds and flu are zinc, vitamins A, C and E, and selenium. Referred to as ZACES, these micronutrients protect the body from life’s stressors, support the body’s cell protection system, strengthen the immune system, and are known to interfere with the disease process.

As a result of my experience several weeks ago, here are some of the foods I’m adding to my diet this fall to give my body the support it needs during cold and flu season. I encourage you to do the same!

Zinc: Brazil nuts, lima beans, pumpkin seeds, pecans, almonds, ginger root, split peas, fresh oysters, walnuts.

Vitamin A: Liver, dried apricots, sweet potatoes, mustard greens, collards, parsley, mangoes, carrots, kale, spinach, chili peppers, squash.

Vitamin C: Kiwi, sweet potatoes, collards, Brussels sprouts, red chili peppers, kale, turnip greens, cauliflower, parsley, broccoli, citrus.

Vitamin E: Spinach, avocados, sunflower seeds, almonds, cabbage, prunes, asparagus.

Selenium: Brazil nuts, salmon, calf’s liver, turkey breast, tuna, Swiss chard, brown rice.

Here’s to your health and vitality!

Julie's signature

LinkedIn logoFacebook logo

Julie Thenell, BS/MS/NC, believes good health is as close as your kitchen. Her nutrition practice is based on nutrient-dense, whole foods and lifestyle choices that support health and wellness, especially during times of high stress and transitions. Julie’s role is to educate, guide and support individuals who want to break the stress-induced cycle of depletion and regain control of their health. Having recently passed the HNCB exam, Julie is a Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition® (Candidate). To learn more, contact Julie at 303-594-4401 or