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Top 10 Flu-Fighting Foods

flu-fighting foods

As winter falls upon us, our immune systems might be a bit weaker, leaving us susceptible to cold and flu infection. While your annual flu vaccine is your best defense against this seasonal virus, you should also eat nutrient-rich foods to ensure your immune system is functioning at its best.

The following are some of the best foods to eat when fending off symptoms of the cold and flu.

1. Raw garlic

The allicin found in garlic has powerful anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, which can help keep viruses and bacteria from replicating in your bodies. Research studies have showed that people who received garlic supplements experienced fewer and less severe colds compared to those who received placebo.

To get the most out of garlic’s flu-fighting properties, it’s best to chew a raw clove every three or four hours. If you can’t bear the taste, try cutting cloves into pieces and swallowing them down like pills. You can even add garlic to your soups.

2. Onions

Like garlic, onions also contain the antimicrobial compounds Allicin. Therefore, eating raw onions offers the same benefits as eating raw garlic. Also, onions are a good source of quercetin which helps fight off the flu virus. It is best to consume onions raw, however they can still be effective when added into meals.

3. Carrots

Carrots are an excellence source of beta-carotene. This compound is converted to vitamin A in the body, which aids vision and helps maintain a strong immune system. It is the perfect flu-fighting food because you can add it to soup, curry, or stew it for an added nutrient boost.

4. Citrus fruits

Citrus fruits, such as lemon, orange, grapefruit, and lime, have high concentrations of vitamin C and flavonoids, both of which improve the body’s white blood cells and immune system.

A 2006 Japanese study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that people who take 500 mg of vitamin C a day had 18 percent fewer colds than those in the 50 mg per day group [1].

5. Cranberries

Like citrus fruit, cranberries are also a good source of vitamin C and flavonoid quercetin that may give your immune system a big boost.

In one preliminary study, researchers found that cranberry juice significantly increased the cells responsible for defending the body against viral invaders in participants who drank it daily. During the study, the cranberry juice drinkers reported fewer cold and flu symptoms than those who didn’t drink the juice [2].

6. Tea

All teas – black, white, or green – contain a group of antioxidants known as catechins, which may have flu-fighting properties. However, green tea has more catechins than other teas which make it the better choice for treating flu.

In one study involving 108 healthy adults, those taking catechin capsules for 5 months had fewer occurrences of the influenza-like symptoms by 32.1% than those taking a placebo [3].

7. Honey

Honey has long been used as a home remedy for colds and flu due to its antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Honey can also boost the immune system while helping to relieve sore throats.

Try taking two teaspoons of honey before bedtime to relieve a cough. But, honey should not be given to children under 1 year old due to the risk of infant botulism.

8. Chicken soup

Chicken soup is an excellent source of the compound carnosine. Preliminary studies have found that carnosine has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may stave off viral infections such as the flu by stopping it from spreading inside cells. The warm broth of this soup may also help loosen mucus to ease congestion and alleviate sore throat.

9. Dark leafy greens

Dark leafy greens, like kale, spinach, and arugula, are also great sources of the cold-fighting properties like Vitamins A, C and K which helps boost your immune system and therefore they could fight viruses that cause flu.

10. Spices

Spices, such as turmeric, cinnamon, and clover, are packed with antioxidants, which help improve the function of the immune system.

Try to consume a teaspoon of spices every day to help ward off the flu. You can mix some cinnamon into your porridge or oatmeal, or brew them in a tea.

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