What To Eat To Avoid Colds And Flu

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The holiday season is here, but it can also mark the start of the cold and flu season. With the hustle and bustle of the holidays combined with colder temperatures, we seem more prone to colds and flu. What you eat could make a difference in whether you get a cold or the flu and how long you will be sick. QUESTION: WHY DO WE GET A COLD OR THE FLU? Colds and flu are caused by viruses spread by coughing, sneezing or direct contact with someone who is sick. You are contagious for 3-4 days after symptoms occur. Cold weather does not make you get a cold or flu, but many viruses thrive better in colder temperatures. Colds take 7-10 days to clear while flu can take 2-3 weeks. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, colds and flu are most likely to strike when we are under psychological stress, overworked, tired, taking exams or pre-holiday jitters. We tend to get a cold or flu virus because our natural defenses are low. Stress, lack of sleep and a poor diet are the key culprits. QUESTION: WHAT CAN WE DO TO PREVENT COLDS AND THE FLU? You need to boost the immune system to help your body to resist colds and the flu or at least shorten their duration. Here are some things you can do: TIPS TO REDUCE COLDS AND FLU: Wash hands often Get enough rest Drink lots of fluids Exercise moderately Reduce sugar and sweets Eat immune boosting foods QUESTION: WHICH FOODS HELP US REDUCE COLDS AND THE FLU? Scientists have identified certain foods that improve immune function. Eating these on a regular basis may help to prevent or reduce the severity and duration of colds and the flu. Chicken broth – collagen and cysteine in chicken broth fights infection and hot liquids reduce mucus, sooth sore throats and move bacteria and viruses out of the body Garlic – allicin boosts our fighter cells and increases resistance to infection Cayenne pepper – capsaicin relieves congestion, stuffy nose, muscle aches and sore throat Horseradish – has vitamin C and anti-infection properties that boost immune function Gingerroot – induce sweating; reduce nausea & diarrhea; soothes coughs; antimicrobial Chicken soup – make with garlic, onion, herbs Miso – fermented soy broth also boosts immune system Fermented foods – lactic acid bacteria boost immune function and reduce pathogenic bacteria, viruses and fungus Sauerkraut or Kimchi – lactic acid fermented cabbage and vegetables Yogurt or Kefir – lactic acid fermented milk Lemon – bioflavonoids and antioxidants boost immune function; natural antiseptic reduces infection and mucus Mint – treats headaches associated with colds and flu; settles stomach Green tea – EGCG boosts immune function Peppermint green tea – relieves headache and nausea and boosts immunity