So you have started to feel the inevitable nastiness of influenza sneaking up on you. The symptoms of influenza are well known and marked by fever and chills, nausea, stomach upset and a general feeling of malaise. We are all aware of the old adage “you are what you eat”, so can this theory be applied to flu prevention?
Proper diet is of the utmost importance when it comes to keeping healthy, especially during flu season. Let’s explore some of the most common foods associated with flu prevention. It might be easier than you think to prevent an untimely illness this year.
This one is obvious. Hot chicken soup helps to clear clogged airways, and the broth (while in some cases high in sodium) will give you more energy. Add plenty of vegetables (garlic in particular) for extra healing power , and hopefully, flu prevention.
This can include chili peppers or any type of spicy sauce. A good way to incorporate this into your regular meal schedule is to cook certain types of spicy ethnic food a couple of times a week. Spicy peppers have been shown to help unclog sinuses and provide some relief.
This popular nut is a good source of vitamin E, which is a disease-fighting antioxidant. Grab a handful for your mid-afternoon snack or use them to flavor main dishes. Antioxidants are very important during cold and flu season as a preventative.
The boost of Vitamin C is helpful when it comes to flu prevention. This one should be easy to incorporate. Drink orange juice for breakfast, snack on half a grapefruit, or add tangerine slices to a lunchtime salad.
Many people find fresh ginger root helps treat the coughing and fever that often accompany colds and flu. Try making a ginger tea: Pour a cup of boiling water over 2 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger and let it steep for 5 to 10 minutes.
Not unlike carrots, sweet potatoes contain beta carotene, a nutrient that is converted to vitamin A in the body and has been shown to help fight respiratory infections. Try to incorporate sweet potatoes into your soups, salads and side dishes for flu prevention.
This fragrant bulb contains a flavoring agent called alliin which acts as a decongestant. Garlic is also believed to act as an antioxidant and destroy free-radicals, the active oxygen molecules that damage cells, so add garlic liberally to your favorite foods.
As you can see, when it comes to the flu, it isn’t all about stocking up on over the counter cold and flu medications and tissues. Your diet plays a large role in the possibility of acquiring the flu.
While these foods are widely considered to be some of the best in terms of flu prevention, nutritionists say that any food containing vitamins A, C and E are key when it comes to boosting immunity and preventing the flu.
Related: Power foods from your kitchen