Cold, flu season are fast approaching

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – As we head into winter, infections like colds and flu become more common and experts believe there are a variety of reasons why.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the first signs of influenza activity in temperate climates, areas where temperature and humidity fall, usually start around October and can last all the way through springtime.

In tropical areas like Southeast Florida, outbreaks can occur during rainy, humid months, which puts this region at risk for infection year round.

Health experts say this underscores the important of getting a flu shot, especially as cases of COVID-19 continue to emerge.

And when it comes to staying healthy and living longer, the focus is on so-called “ultra-processed foods.”

Baked goods, even whole grain breads and products, like yogurt with fruit on the bottom, are examples of ultra-processed foods that researchers believe could affect telomeres inside the body which impact how cells age.

“What the researchers investigated is that high intake of ultra processed food may decrease the telomere length in our cells.  Telomeres are really important because they are like end-caps and they protect our genes as we age,” said Candace O’Neill, a registered dietician with the Cleveland Clinic Weston.

O’Neill said it’s important to realize that even foods you think are healthy might be ultra processed.

She said watch out for ingredients like “high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenation, and protein isolates,” which can all be indicators of ultra-processing.

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