10 Best Foods to Fight the Flu
Go to battle against colds and the flu by arming yourself with a supply of immune-boosting foods. By: Ashley Johnson Kappel
Eat the Right Foods
Even if you missed this year's flu shot, it's still possible to fight off the seasonal cold and flu viruses. Instead of a pill, a balanced diet of immune-boosters can help you through winter's chill.
If you're already down for the count, we can help. While no foods are proven to cure or shorten the cold or flu, they can help squash the yucky symptoms that make you miserable. These 10 most powerful immune-boosting foods are just what the doctor ordered!
Think of Vitamin C as your best pre-cold and flu friend. While there's no real proof that loading up on the stuff will help once you've been bitten by the bug, there is power in keeping your immune system in top shape. Bake a batch of these light and fluffy Whole-Wheat Orange Juice Muffins for a daily dose of the immune-booster.
If disease fighting had a prize fighter, it would be green tea. Besides providing much-needed antioxidants (also found in whole grains, legumes, and nuts), green tea is said to have disease-fighting powers to prevent cavities and protect your gums. We understand that sometimes you just can't stray from your morning cup of coffee, so consider planning ahead and making a Green Tea Granita for a light and fresh dessert.
First it was fed to the Egyptian slaves to give them strength to build the pyramids, then it was hailed as the refuter of vampires–it seems there is nothing garlic can't do. Rumor has it that its real strength comes in its pungent flavor, key to clearing up congestion. Try our top-rated Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic. Yes, it actually has 40 cloves of garlic, and some of our online reviewers even asked for more. Overachievers.
Hailed as a "nutritional powerhouse," almonds are packed with fiber, folic acid, magnesium, calcium, potassium, riboflavin, and vitamin E. Take advantage of all that almonds have to offer by pairing them with a rich in Omega 3 fish, such as Almond-Crusted Salmon.
Long hailed as an aphrodisiac for young, starry-eyed couples, oysters also offer a hearty punch of calcium, niacin, and iron. But the reason these slippery suckers have gotten the good date-night PR is their powerful zinc levels. Zinc, said to help fight off colds by boosting the production of immunity-boosting white blood cells, also controls progesterone levels, which can alter the libido. Now there are two reasons to indulge in our Golden Oyster Bisque.
Packed with virus-fighting agents (such as gingerol, which has been studied as a cough suppressant), ginger is a prize-fighter in the battle against colds and flu viruses. It's lauded for opening nasal passages, clearing congestion, and even soothing nausea. When you find yourself saddled with a head cold, take our prescription for Ginger-Garlic Shrimp. It's ready to eat in 15 minutes (approximately 5 tissues), and comes loaded with pungent garlic and ginger–the perfect solution to the thick "I can't daste anything" problem.
Fight stuffy noses and chest congestion with a fiery helping of horseradish, hot sauce, or hot peppers. Consuming these zesty items not only allows you to taste something you're eating, but also encourages the congestion lingering in your sinuses, head, and chest to loosen up. The next time you're feeling stuffy, whip up a big batch of our spicy Chicken-Horseradish Salad.
When the worst of winter colds hits, steer your grocery cart toward the produce section and fill up on bitter greens, such as arugula and watercress. These fresh leafy veggies are packed with iron and vitamins A and C, and are believed to help relieve many flu-like symptoms, ranging from chest congestion to the sniffles. If salad isn't high on your list of comfort foods, try a flavor-packed sandwich like our Turkey Sandwiches with Roasted Romas, Fresh Mozzarella, and Arugula-Walnut Pesto. The pesto sauce, loaded with garlic and four cups of the leafy good stuff, adds bright flavor that you can taste through the worst stuffy nose.
A cousin of the parsley family, aniseed has been tested as a congestion fighter. It comes ground in the spice section of your grocery store, and has long been used to encourage digestion. That alone sounded good enough to us, then we found these crispy cookies and remembered that the dark chocolate topping is good for your heart. So grab a few Dark Chocolate-Dipped Anise Biscotti and snuggle under a blanket with a hot cup of tea.
This magical elixir has long held the throne for cold and flu fighting foods. Whether it's the chicken (packed with zinc), the hot temperature (to loosen congestion), or the veggies (loaded with vitamins) that should get the credit, no one's sure. We do know that it always warms us up right down to our fuzzy-sock covered feet. We're taking the power of chicken soup one step further, suggesting a zesty bowlful of Dijon Chicken Stew with Potatoes and Kale, packed with bright Dijon mustard and spicy crushed red pepper.