In spite of extensive vaccination campaigns every flu season, millions of people still contract the influenza virus every year. Unfortunately, over-the-counter medications don’t always work to eliminate the uncomfortable symptoms. Luckily, nature is more than willing to help with a number of foods that can boost your immune function, helping you to fight the flu more quickly, or even preventing you from getting the flu to begin with.
As it turns out, there is some wisdom behind your grandmother’s bowl of chicken soup. Not only does eating soup help to keep your body hydrated, chicken soup can also reduce the inflammation that can make your symptoms feel more severe. Adding some extra garlic, onions, and leeks to the soup can help it pack and immunity-boosting punch, helping to fight and prevent further virus attacks.
Citrus fruits are full of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce the severity of your flu symptoms. If oranges and grapefruit aren’t your things, you can also find high concentrations of vitamin C in foods such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, red bell peppers, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, papaya, and sweet potatoes. However, it is important that you consume vitamin C with caution, as it can cause digestive problems when consumed in high concentrations.
Ginger ale can do more than simply soothe your sore throat when you have the flu. Ginger is full of substances that can help reduce pain and fever, suppress coughing, and even help you sleep. Adding ginger to hot tea can help speed your relief, or you can drink ginger ale – just make sure that it is made from actual ginger and not artificially flavored.
Not only can honey coat your throat, easing soreness, it also has antimicrobial properties. This allows it to help your body fight of viral infections like the flu. When possible, buy buckwheat honey, which has the highest antioxidant and antimicrobial levels. For a truly flu-fighting punch, combine ginger tea with lemon and honey.
Yogurt with activated cultures contains Lactobacillus reuteri, that can prevent viruses from replicating inside your body. This helps your immune system fight the infection before you even get sick. The best type of yogurt to buy is organic to ensure that you receive a product that has activated cultures. Even better, consuming this type of yogurt can aid your digestion as well.
As with yogurt, the compounds in red wine prevent the flu virus from multiplying in your system. For best results, opt for a pinot noir, which contains the highest levels of resveratorl and polyphenols. If you prefer to stay away from alcohol, eating peanuts or grape leaves can provide a similar (though slightly less strong) effect.
Mushrooms have long held a place in herbal medicine chests. Eating mushrooms encourages your body to produce cytokines, which help to fight off infections. In addition, the plysaccharides in mushrooms help to further boost your immune function, helping to keep you from getting sick in the first place. For the most flu-fighting power, eat Chinese mushroom varieties such as reishi, maitake, and shiitake.
One of the most common spices in your kitchen can also be used to fight off the flu. Black pepper is known to provide pain relief, and reduce fevers. Additionally, consuming black pepper can help to boost the absorption of other herbal remedies. For a truly flu-fighting dish, consider cooking up some chicken soup with onion, garlic, leeks, mushrooms, and plenty of black pepper. Then, down a glass of hot ginger tea with honey and lemon.Read More