Body aches, fever, congestion, and swollen lymph nodes – Ugh! You may be getting the flu. If your symptoms are bad enough, a visit to your doctor is certainly in order. However, a visit to your local grocery store can also help. Immune boosting foods may provide some relief and extra protection from the aches and pains of the flu. Using food in addition to medicine to treat what ails you isn't a new concept. In fact, an ancient Greek physician named Hippocrates is quoted as saying, "Let food be your medicine, and medicine be your food." In other words, what you eat has a powerful impact on your health, especially when you're sick!
The Powerhouse Seven
Next time you feel those flu symptoms coming on, reach for these seven nutrition packed foods:
Garlic is a well-loved food that gives aroma and flavor to some of our favorite dishes. It also has healing properties that are great for fighting the flu. In particular, garlic contains allicin, which fights harmful bacteria. Eating garlic balances the bacteria in your stomach and gets rid of toxins. Concerned about fresh breath? No worries. Garlic supplements are available in pill form. However, experts agree that consuming fresh garlic is the best way to ward off those flu symptoms. Add it to a favorite dish to make it easier to consume.
All berries have antioxidants that are powerful in fighting the flu. However, blueberries have antioxidants in higher concentrations than other berries. Make sure to stock up on fresh blueberries if possible. If you're sick during winter months, you can substitute frozen blueberries. Frozen blueberries are also great for soothing a sore throat.
It's true! Chicken soup really can help heal you. Soup increases the temperature in your nose and throat. This wards of viruses like the flu that like cold, dry places. Chicken soup is so powerful because it also has proteins that have antiviral properties. Whip up a batch of homemade chicken soup, and store a supply in your freezer as a go to meal to ward off the flu.
Sweet potatoes may not be the first immune boosting food that comes to mind when you think of the flu. However, the vitamin A found in sweet potatoes keeps your mucous membranes and skin healthy. We often forget that our skin is the first line of defense in warding off the flu. Healthy membranes keep the flu from being able to infiltrate your body.
Dark Leafy Greens
Your doctor isn't kidding when they tell you to eat your greens! Spinach, kale, arugula, and swiss chard are packed with Vitamin C. Consistently consuming foods high in Vitamin C can help keep the flu at bay. Add leafy greens to rice, pasta, and casseroles to up your intake. Eating leafy greens and other sources of Vitamin C like citrus fruit is a great way to stay healthy.
Tumeric may be a spice with a funny name, but it offers serious health benefits when you're fighting the flu. It's most commonly found in Asian dishes, especially curry. Luckily, it's now widely available in almost any supermarket. It boasts high antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Some studies have shown that people who consume turmeric regularly are less likely to get colds, coughs, and congestion. Next time you feel the flu coming on, add some turmeric to your meal!
Almonds are a superstar of the nut family. They deliver high levels of vitamin E which protects your cells from damage. Eating almonds boosts your immune system when you have an illness like the flu. Products like almond butter, slivered almonds, and almond milk make it easy to add almonds to your daily diet.
Getting the flu is no fun, but there are ways to make the healing process faster. A combination of prevention, medicine, and nutrition is important in fighting the flu. Adding immune boosting foods to your diet is important for your overall health, especially when your body is fighting an illness.