Sometimes we get it. No matter how much we try to prevent it, we end up catching the flu anyway. Once we feel the flu’s achy, congested grip, many of us feel like giving up, crawling in bed and saying goodbye to the world. Well, take heart. You can help fight the flu with some everyday foods you may have on your shelves or in your refrigerator right now. You can eat well, and fight the flu at the same time.
1. Chicken Soup
This classic soup is often prescribed for colds and the flu. It has multiple benefits within its warm embrace. The broth will clear congestion and slow down mucus production while the vegetables have antioxidants. The chicken provides energy and protein, and a little extra salt in the broth can help to soothe a sore throat.
Besides its nutritional benefits and real flu-fighting power, curling up with a hot bowl of chicken soup can be a comforting part of getting well again.
Raw or cooked garlic contains natural antibodies and a decongestant called Allicin. It strengthens the immune system and destroys bacteria. Another chemical in garlic, Ajoene, destroys viruses. Although raw garlic is the most potent, it is still strong enough to help when put in soup or other cooked dishes.
So when you are ill with the flu, enjoy your favorite garlicky dishes – because when you’re contagious, nobody’s going to be kissing you on the mouth anytime soon anyway!
3. Dark Chocolate
Yes, that’s right! Chocolate — dark chocolate to be exact. Cocoa has an ingredient called theobromine, a cough suppressant as it calms the nerves in the throat. Two ounces of dark chocolate equals a regular dose of medication. It supports T-helper cells in our bodies. This increases our immune systems’ infection defence.
So if you needed an excuse to stock up on chocolate, this is it. If anyone questions you, simply let them know you are preparing for flu season – just in case.
4. Chili Peppers
These peppers clear nasal passages with a natural decongestant called Capsaicin. It also acts as a decongestant. They have vitamin C too, and one pepper can have up to four times as much as an orange. Peppers have B vitamins as well. This can help shorten the length you have the flu. Collagenase and prostaglandin reduce swelling and pain, and both chemicals are found in the mighty chili pepper.
5. Orange juice
One glass of this juice gives our bodies more than half of the daily requirement of vitamin C. It boosts the immune system and decreases the duration of the flu. The fresher the orange juice, the more potent it seems to be.
Any type of tea is a good flu-fighting warrior, although Chinese herbalists claim ginger tea is the best for colds. White and green teas have high antioxidants, whereas black tea has high theaflavins. One hot cup of tea will place polyphenols in your system. Polyphenols reduce inflammation and are a decongestant. Its warmth soothes aches and helps you relax while boosting your immune system.
Salmon contains not only omega-3, zinc, selenium and antioxidants, but also holds a good amount of vitamin D. It gives the immune system a “jump-start.” One serving of Salmon gives you almost half of the daily requirement of vitamin D.
Yogurt contains a healthy bacteria needed to help your stomach fight off illnesses and other stomach upsets. You need a healthy digestive tract to fight the flu. Yogurt has both probiotics and prebiotics. One serving a day will increase immunity and digestive function.
There are more foods with health-assisting properties. Elderberries, cranberries, onions and bananas also help in fighting the flu’s grip. Blueberries and carrots can also be honored with the title, “flu fighters.” With the knowledge there are flu-fighting foods out there, take a trip to the grocery store or local farmer’s market, and stock up on these edible superheroes who are just waiting to help. Above all, get the rest you need. We all disliked taking naps as children, but when the flu hits, nothing is better than eating well and resting in our favorite chair.
What are your favorite flu-fighting foods? Share your suggestions in the section below: