Ask the Expert: Shauna Lindzon on nutrition that boosts your immunity

We are what we eat. It thus stands to reason that we can vastly improve our health and immunity by consuming healthy foods. But how can we identify which foods are helping and which are hurting? Shauna Lindzon, ​registered dietitian and culinary instructor, joined our Ask the Expert webchat today to answer this question and explain how we can optimize our health through diet. Shauna has over 24 years of experience. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Foods and Nutrition at The University of Manitoba and then went on to do her Graduate Clinical Nutrition Internship at Sunnybrook Health Science Centre.  Post internship, she worked as a Clinical Dietitian at Sunnybrook Health Science Centre in Nephrology and Neurosurgery for 12 years. Shauna now works in the community as a Consulting Dietitian, sees private clients and is a program developer and nutrition leader at Wellspring Cancer Support Network.

Here are the highlights from our webchat with Shauna Lindzon. For our French users, we ran a similar webchat with nutritionist Isabelle Huot, which you can access here. Please keep in mind all user participation is anonymous and confidential.

Boosting your immune system through food

QUESTION — “I am curious as to what are some of the nutrition tips or foods that would boost your immunity.”

Shauna Lindzon — “In order to boost your immunity, you want to make sure that you eat foods that are a source of probiotics. Examples include yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, etc. These are sources of healthy probiotics. If you eat foods that are high in fibre like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, you will be feeding yourself prebiotics which are the ‘food’ for the probiotics. This will definitely help with your immune system.”

Vitamin C supplements for fighting colds

QUESTION — “Is there any value in taking vitamin C supplements during cold season?”

Shauna Lindzon — “When we get a cold, our bodies use vitamin C to help heal. If we deplete our sources, a vitamin C supplement will help restore it. In terms of boosting your immunity before you get sick, I would recommend to eat plenty of fruits that are high in vitamin C. These include oranges, strawberries, kiwis, bell peppers, etc. Remember, if you take too much vitamin C through supplements, your urine will be a bright yellow colour. This means that your body cannot absorb the high amount.”

Getting enough protein

QUESTION — “I do not eat a lot of meat, and I find that I am feeling really tired. My doctor said I need to eat more protein, but I am not sure what to eat to get more protein.”

Shauna Lindzon — “You should try to have a protein source at every meal. On average we need 20-30 grams of protein with each meal. Here are some examples: Vegetable omelette with a glass of milk (cow or soy milk have the most protein), Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and hemp seeds, whole grain toast with almond butter, a grilled cheese sandwich, a turkey and cheese sandwich, etc. Beans and lentils are also a good protein source. If you have lentil soup, I would also suggest to have some cheese with it to boost your protein intake even more. You can also add some edamame (immature soybeans) to salads along with some nuts, seeds, and cheese!”

Don’t miss our next Ask the Expert session!

If you weren’t able to catch our webchat with Shauna Lindzon, you can always sign into your LifeSpeak account to read the transcript. And be sure to log in December 10 at 12PM EST to chat with Dr. Melissa Snider-Adler, who will be separating truth from fiction about cannabis. If you don’t have a LifeSpeak account, please have your HR team reach out to us about your company subscribing.

What is Ask the Expert?

Our Ask the Expert sessions allow our users to have regular access to our experts in real time, which allows them to have their pressing questions answered. This opportunity provides our users with practical and easily implemented tips to help them make real changes in their lives. To learn more, don’t hesitate to book a walk-through.