17 Cold-Fighting Foods To Eat During Flu Season
No matter how hard you try, it can seem impossible to avoid catching your coworker's death-rattle cough. When you come down with the cold or flu, medicine isn't the only way to get back on your feet quick. Load up on these specific foods to soothe your symptoms and boost your immune system.
If all those commercials haven't taught you about the benefits of "good bacteria" yet, it's time to listen up. Yogurt is a great source of probiotics that keep your gut healthy, which in turn helps alleviate severe cold symptoms. Grab a bowl for breakfast to shorten your sickness by two whole days.
Another morning meal that's got your back is the incredible egg. Whether you like them scrambled, poached or fried, they'll give you a good dose of zinc to snuff out your symptoms in record time. To take full advantage of the benefits, eat eggs within 24 hours of when you start feeling crummy.
A bowl of healty oatmeal might be your ticket to wellness. It's packed with beta glucans, a type of fiber that helps your body heal and bolsters the immune system. Add blueberries for an antioxidant boost or sliced banana to up your potassium, which is often depleted when you're running a fever.
This crunchy veg boosts glutathione, an antioxidant that gives your immune system some extra oomph to shut down flu symptoms. The best part is, there are lots of cauliflower comfort food to make you feel cozy.
Fish may not be what you crave when you're stuck in bed, but oily varieties like salmon and tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which your body needs to help activate your illness-battling T-cells. Oysters also provide a boost of Vitamin C and E, plus zinc, which keeps cells healthy and ready to fight viruses.
This might seem like a no-brainer thanks to the warm, fuzzy feeling that a steaming mug can give you, but there's science behind it as well. Green and black tea are key sources of antioxidants while chamomile and ginger teas calm upset stomachs and reduce inflammation. Hot toddies may be the best choice of all — honey soothes the throat, steam opens up your sinuses and a bit of booze helps you sleep soundly.
You know that tingly feeling you get in your nostrils when you bite into a particularly peppery dish? That's exactly what you want if you're dealing with awful congestion. Make one of our spicy weeknight dinners and the kick should help flush out your sinuses in no time.
This crunchy and sweet veg contains a bunch of Vitamin C and helps your body resist infectious diseases. Studies have shown that its presence in your diet might even allow your white blood cells to work at a higher level, banishing bacteria more effectively.
Carrots and Sweet Potatoes
Keep your sore throat and nasal congestion from getting worse by downing lots of carrots and sweet potatoes. The orange veggies are big on beta-carotene, which our bodies convert into vitamin A — key for keeping mucous membranes healthy.
Turkey and Chicken
Resist the urge to to avoid meat entirely, if possible. Lean protein like chicken and turkey breast provide the energy necessary to build antibodies and fight infection. If those items don't jive with your diet, try beans, nuts and dairy to get some protein in.
Red Bell Peppers
If you start chugging orange juice at the first signs of a cold, you might also want to consider this ingredient. Red peppers have twice the amount of Vitamin C found in oranges, so citrus isn't your only option.
Calcium, potassium, and sulfuric compounds are all found in garlic, so you can thank those tiny cloves for more than just flavor. Studies have shown that people who regularly take garlic supplements have fewer colds during the winter months, so why not add some to your meals to give unwanted bacteria the boot?
Cysteine, an amino acid found in chicken, is a secret weapon for thinning out mucous, so mom's chicken noodle soup actually does more that comfort your soul. A bowlful can aid in calming a cough and relieving a stuffy nose.
This "wonder herb" has anti-inflammatory properties that can do you all sorts of good when you're feeling under the weather. Whip up a Golden Milk Latte to help fight infection and lessen the damage caused by free radicals in your system. Gwyneth Paltrow and other celebs swear by this stuff!
Dehydration is a common side-effect of illnesses, and if you've been sweating out a fever, you're definitely in need of some electrolytes. Coconut water has plenty of potassium and doesn't contain the high sugar levels that drinks like Gatorade do.
Another way to hydrate is with frozen fruit juice treats, which also feel great on a swollen or dry throat. The extra fluids thin out your mucus so that congestion is a little less miserable, too.