The Top 5 Flu-Fighting Foods

| by Mitzi Dulan

With the recent hype over the H1N1 flu vaccine, we are beginning to lose sight of the fundamental and simplest way to avoid getting sick: by filling up on wholesome, nutritious foods.

It’s time to get back to the basics and feed our bodies with a diet rich in essential nutrients such as vitamins A, C, E, B, potassium, zinc, protein, folate, magnesium, etc. to naturally maximize our body’s defense system.

Try a taste of my top 5 flu fighting foods, coupled with advice from my previous post on 5 Ways to Protect Yourself Against the Flu, and I promise you’ll be better equipped to fight off the toughest of germs. Lurking bacteria will find it harder to beat your immune system this flu season!

Who You Gonna Call? FLU-BUSTERS!

1. Tea:
For thousands of years, tea has been accepted as a cure-all for everything from the common cold to cancer. Tea contains powerful, cold-fighting antioxidants called tannins and catechins that effectively fight free radicals in our body. A study conducted at Harvard University found that drinking five daily cups of black tea quadrupled our immune system in just two weeks! For an even bigger antioxidant boost, try adding a teaspoon of honey which acts as an antimicrobial antioxidant, or squeeze in the juice of a lemon to increase the absorption of beneficial compounds found in tea. Check out my blog post, A Cup of Tea for Good Health, to find which tea is right for you.

2. Chicken soup:
Believe it or not, your mom wasn’t making things up when she said that chicken broth is one of the best ways to get rid of a cold…and now there’s science to prove it! Evidence shows that a chicken broth based soup can keep us hydrated, decrease inflammation, prevent the buildup of mucus, and help to lubricate our nose and throats to fend off the flu.

3. Garlic:
It doesn’t just keep people away from our bad breath, but garlic works to keep germs away too! A potent antimicrobial compound found in garlic called allicin has been shown to make us 3x less likely to get sick. Further studies also found that people consuming allicin supplements suffered from the flu ~50% less often and had faster recovery times when they did get sick.

4. Red Bell Pepper:
We’ve all heard that vitamin C packs a real punch against the flu–decreasing the length and symptoms of a cold by almost 80%! Most of us automatically associate this immune-booster with fruits—orange juice in particular. But did you know that red bell peppers actually have 2x the vitamin C as an orange? So instead of drinking gallons of O.J. this flu season, try get more diversity in your diet with vitamin C-rich fruits AND vegetables.

5. Wild Salmon:
Protein is a crucial nutrient to insure our bodies and immune systems are in top fighting form. Many fish, wild salmon in particular, are a great source of protein, along with providing the benefits of another “must-have” nutrient when it comes to warding off colds—Vitamin D. One study found that subjects with the lowest levels of vitamin D were ~40% more likely to have respiratory infections than those consuming higher levels.