Cold and Flu

Foods With Natural Flu-Fighting Super Powers

How well do you protect yourself against the common cold and flu? I’m not talking about taking over-the-counter medications here. One of the best ways to ward off the flu is by strengthening your overall immune health, and the most natural way to do that is with food.

What you eat has serious effects on your body’s ability to ward off illness. So incorporate these 10 foods with natural, flu-fighting super powers into your daily diet and enjoy a germ-free winter…

Garlic

Garlic does more than ward off vampires, it also stinks out sickness! Fresh garlic is high in an antimicrobial compound called phytochemical allicin, and a few cloves can proactively banish cold germs and help the body recover faster from the flu.

Tea

Green tea gets the most buzz when it comes to its immune-boosting prowess, but any tea—black, white, or green—contain catechins, which are responsible for wiping away traces of those nasty free radicals.

Chicken Soup

Dubbed Mother Nature’s penicillin, chicken soup really does warm the soul and cure the flu by clearing clogged airways with its nourishing broth. Plus, you’ll get a blast of healthy energy from the vegetables, garlic, and lean protein.

Strawberries

Just 1-cup of sliced strawberries provides a whole whack of illness-preventing antioxidants, which help reduce the intensity and duration of colds and flu, as well as their symptoms.

Mushrooms

The underrated mushroom packs a powerful, wham, bam, flu-fighting punch thanks to two secret weapons: selenium, which encourages the white blood cells to produce germ-fighting cytokines; and beta glucan, an antimicrobial fiber that obliterates infection.

Almonds

It seems that almonds provide more than heart-healthy properties; they’re also jam-packed with immune-boosting antioxidants, including vitamin E, which diminish the symptoms of respiratory infections.

Citrus

Everyone knows to reach for oranges (and orange juice) when you feel a cold coming on. However, citrus fruits like grapefruit, tangerines, or lemon/lime squeezed into tea will increase your vitamin C intake and give your body the strength it needs to fight off the flu.

Sweet Potato

Beta-carotene encourages immune system cell growth, improving your immune defense and neutralizing flu germs. That’s why sweet potatoes and squash should be on your cold-defense menu.

Yogurt

Did you know that the digestive tract is one of your biggest allies against fighting off microorganisms? As your largest immune organ, a healthy and functioning digestive system will flush out disease-causing germs in a snap. That’s why you should eat yogurt with “live and active cultures” (i.e., probiotics and prebiotics) when you feel like you’re getting sick.

Wild Salmon

Vitamin D is a valuable partner when it comes to warding off respiratory infections. However, during the winter, it’s tough to find.  The good news is that you can easily increase your vitamin D stores with one 3.5-ounce serving of wild salmon.

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Emily Lockhart

Emily Lockhart is a certified yoga instructor and personal trainer. She believes that being healthy is a lifestyle choice, not a punishment or temporary fix to attain a desired fitness or body image goal. Anna helps her clients take responsibility for their own health and wellness through her classes and articles on ActiveBeat.

Julie Ching, MS, RDN, CDE

Julie Ching, MS, RDN, CDE

Julie Ching is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator in Los Angeles. She decided to become a Dietitian after traveling through Europe, South America, and Asia and discovered a passion for food. She now works with people of all ages and varying disease states to improve their health. She is passionate about teaching people about nutrition so they can live their best life while still considering their cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.

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