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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Flu-Fighting Foods

469103861If you are like most people, as soon as the fall season arrives, it’s time to get your annual flu shot. This is definitely recommended; however, can you also choose certain foods to help fight off influenza? What you eat can help lower your chances of catching that nasty bug.

Here are some foods and drinks to fill up on:

  • Green tea: Green tea is packed with antioxidants. Sip it hot or cold throughout the day to help keep illness away.
  • Sweet potatoes: This bright-orange food is packed with Vitamin A to help keep at bay the free radicals that can threaten to weaken your immune system. Pop a sweet potato in the microwave for 7 minutes for a quick and easy addition to lunch or dinner.
  • Yogurt: Yogurt naturally contains probiotics that help to keep your immune system healthy and strong. It’s such an easy and filling snack to grab or use as a substitute for sour cream, mayonnaise, or cream in any of your high-fat recipes. (See some tasty Greek yogurt recipes here.)
  • Tuna: Tuna is an excellent source of selenium and Vitamin D, which helps protect cells from free radicals and improve your immune system. Try mixing a pouch of tuna with some plain Greek yogurt and place it atop a bed of leafy greens.
  • Mushrooms: Mushrooms are rich in selenium. It has been found that low levels of selenium in your body increases your chance of getting the flu. Chop them up and add them to a pasta dish, salad, or soup.
  • Peanuts: This tasty snack is full of zinc, which helps keep your immune system working properly. A handful is the perfect amount to grab for an afternoon snack or to throw in a stir-fry at dinner.
  • Water: This essential nutrient keeps the body running efficiently. Getting fluid in various forms such as tea, 100% juice, coffee (preferably decaffeinated), and water-filled foods such as fruits and vegetables all counts toward filling your hydration needs.

With most things, a balanced diet is the key. A diet high in a variety of produce, lean meats, whole grains, and low-fat dairy, along with moderate exercise, adequate sleep, and minimal stress, contributes the most to well-functioning immunity and faster healing if the flu does strike. Incorporate the above foods but continue to work on overall balance to your life.

This blog was written by Angie Scheetz, RD, Wellness Coordinator. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

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Topics: nutrition healthy eating disease prevention

“Fight for Air Climb” Raises Money to Beat Lung Disease

Imagine the last time you ran up a few flights of stairs because you were running late to a Fight for Air Climbmeeting or were struck with a sudden burst of energy. Your legs probably began to tighten up and burn a little. Your heart rate suddenly climbs and you begin to consume more and more oxygen with every step. You have to, your body is craving oxygen to supply a rich blood flow to the working muscles so you can get to that meeting on time.

Now try to imagine that same climb up the stairs, but this time you have lung disease and you are unable to deliver that much-needed oxygen to your working body. I think it would be safe to say that you may be late to that meeting.

The Fight for Air Climb

The Fight for Air Climb is an event that can give you a taste of feeling unable to breathe while trying to get somewhere. This annual event, presented by the American Lung Association, helps raise money for lung disease research and educates people on the seriousness of this group of debilitating conditions.

The unique format is unlike any other race or fitness challenge out there. The site for this year’s event is the Chase Tower, and the challenge is to climb all 47 floors. If that’s not enough of a challenge for you to climb the tallest building in Indianapolis, do it twice or even three times for a total of 141 floors. There is a challenge for everyone.

A True Fitness ChallengeFight for Air Climb

I climbed my first event last year at the Regions Tower, made up of 35 floors, with a motivated and determined group from NIFS. Now I have run my fair share of half marathons, and even conquered a Tough Mudder, so I was pretty confident that this would be a challenge I could soar through. It wasn’t until I reached the 17th floor on my first run that I realized I was very much mistaken.

I took the Ultimate Challenge course and climbed the tower three times. It was about that time, halfway up on my first run, that I knew I was facing a mountain of a challenge (insert lame-joke rim shot here). It really is like no other feeling, midway up, and not being able to breathe very well at all and having 18 floors to go, plus 70 more. It really was like no other challenge I have ever faced.

Although the physical effort was immense, it did not compare to the empathy I felt for those who can barely walk around their homes without feeling this way. It’s for those individuals that we climb, because they can’t. It is so uplifting to see so many climb in hope of making the lives of those suffering from a lung disorder better by supporting the research needed to battle these conditions.

Fight for Air Climb Boot Camp

Last year, I also had the pleasure of helping train many of the individuals participating in the climb here at NIFS through our Fight for Air Climb Boot Camp. It was great to work with so many inspiring climbers all with a unique story of why they have decided to put their body through a grueling challenge. Many of them have loved ones battling a lung disease or have lost someone to the same battle. No matter the details of the story, there was always a consistent message: “Let’s climb for those who can’t.” 

The American Lung Association and NIFS have joined together to bring participants a FREE training program for the climb. You do NOT need to be a member of NIFS to participate, you just need to be registered for the The Fight for Air Climb event.

Tony Maloney is NIFS Fitness Center Manager and leads group training Sunday through Thursday. Follow Tony on Facebook at NIFS Elite. Meet all of our NIFS Bloggers.


Topics: NIFS cardio running step group training challenge boot camp endurance training disease prevention

NIFS Lifestyle Program’s 6th Annual Silent Auction

It’s that time of year: the holidays are just around the corner, which means NIFS is hosting the Lifestyle6th annual Lifestyle Program Silent Auction.

The Lifestyle Program serves individuals who have a chronic condition and need extra guidance, education, and assistance with living a healthy lifestyle. This includes individuals with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, COPD, neurological disease, and cancer, to name a few. Members of this program are taught how to manage and prevent progression of their condition through exercise in conjunction with their physician’s recommendations. Our goal is to help participants progress to independence and maintain optimal health. Because of this program, many participants are successfully living with heart and kidney transplants, neurological disorders, and pulmonary disease.

“Being a part of this program has improved my overall health. It is a great way to start BIDmy morning by getting up and exercising, which helps me to feel good throughout the day.”

—Current Lifestyle Scholarship Participant

This auction funds the scholarship portion of the program, which allows individuals with chronic diseases or conditions in a financial hardship to work with NIFS staff members at little or no cost. This event wouldn’t be possible without the generous donations from companies and organizations on a local and national level. We want to give a HUGE shout-out and thank you to St. Elmo Steak House, Green Mountain Coffee, AMC Theatres, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Segway Tours of Indiana, Redbox, and others still coming in!

To participate and see all of the items up for auction, you can visit the auction website. Bidding opens at 8:00am on Black Friday, November 29, and closes at 8pm on December 14. Bidders who place the highest bid will win the item. Last year, the auction raised nearly $1,000 and we can’t thank those who participated enough for their kindness and generosity! We hope to make this year as successful (or more!) Let the bidding begin!

If you or someone you know might be interested in the Lifestyle Program or have any questions about the auction, please contact Stephanie at sgreer@nifs.org.

This blog was written by Stephanie Kaiser. To meet the NIFS bloggers click here.

Topics: NIFS programs health diabetes disease prevention