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Top 10 Foods to Eat During Cold and Flu

Nov 05, 2009
Many people know the old saying that you should feed a cold and starve a fever. Most doctors agree that you should not force yourself to eat during illness, but you also should not restrict yourself if you feel hungry. So what is best to eat when you have cold or flu? Here are the most powerful foods that boost your immunity to fight off common cold and flu.

Garlic


Garlic is long known to be a great food that protects the immune system from a wide range of bacterial and viral infections. People, who eat garlic regularly, are less likely to catch cold or flu thanks to a number of helpful compounds. Garlic contains allicin, ajoene and thiosulfinates, which guard your body against cold and flu. Eating garlic during cold will shorten the amount of time it takes you to heal and alleviate the common cold and flu symptoms, such as cough or nasal congestion.

How to eat during cold or flu: Have two raw cloves of garlic a day or add freshly-crushed garlic to your meal for best treatment.

Carrots


Opt for orange when you want to boost the defensive power of your immune system against viruses and bacteria. Carrots are a good source of beta-carotene, a phytonutrient that contributes to the production of immune system cells that fight with the diseases by destroying microbes. Also beta carotene in carrots turns into vitamin A, which is important for skin health. And skin plays a crucial role in protecting your body from viruses and bacteria.

How to eat during cold or flu:Eat half a cup of fresh baby carrots a day or eat other foods, rich in beta-carotene such as sweet potato, pumpkin, squash and cantaloupe.

Yogurt


Eating yogurt with live bacteria when you have cold or flu is a good way to improve your health. Friendly bacteria stimulate the production of white blood cells, which fight off the diseases. People, who ate yogurt with live bacteria on a regular basis, had higher levels of immune system T cells, which keep our body from disease-causing germs. Bacteria in yogurt also help to absorb many nutrients, which are important for our immune system.

How to eat during cold or flu:The best way to reap all the benefits from yogurt is to have one or two 6-ounce servings of yogurt a day. Choose low-fat, sugar-free yogurt with "live active cultures" seal.

Whole Grain Cereals


Morning cereals are not only a good start of your day, but also great food to eat when you have common cold or flu. Whole grains such as oats and barley are rich in beta-glucan, a soluble fiber with powerful immune boosting properties. Beta-glucan in oats and barley boosts immunity acting like a well-known Echinacea. Eating whole grain cereals will help you prevent flu, herpes and other viral infections. Also compounds in whole grains contribute to faster wound healing and increases the effectiveness of antibiotics.

How to eat during cold or flu:Have at least one serving of whole grains a day for the best results.

Seafood


Do not forget about eating seafood when you have cold or flu as it contains a lot of beneficial nutrients. Shellfish such as crabs, lobsters and oysters is a good source of selenium, which contribute to the production of white blood cells that fight off flu viruses. Oysters are also rich in zinc, an important element for cell functions and your immune system. Zinc prevents infections, acting against viruses and bacteria and stimulating immune system response. Shrimps are also a good source of zinc, iron, protein and vitamin B, which are all vital for immune system. Fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel contain essential omega-3 fatty acids, which help to protect your respiratory system from common cold and flu.

How to eat during cold or flu:Have two servings of seafood per week for optimal health.

Berries  


Berries not only taste good, but also are rich in vitamins and nutrients that help to protect your body from a great number of diseases, including common cold and flu. Brightly colored berries like cranberries, blueberries, cherries and others are all a great source of antioxidants, which prevent cells damage and boost immune system. Raspberries are a well-known natural remedy to relieve fever and treatment of sinus infections. Blueberries and wild cherries can be used to treat cough. Warm black current juice is known to relieve sore throat.

How to eat during cold or flu:Have at least 1 ½  to 2 cups of fruit or berries a day during cold.

Chicken Soup


Warm liquids like soups, tea, water and juices are especially important when you have common cold and flu. Scientists proved that traditional chicken soup is a good home remedy during cold or flu. Chicken soup contains cysteine, an amino acid that acts like common bronchitis drug acetylcysteine, which protects the bronchial tubes from the accumulation of inflammatory cells. Warm salty chicken broth also prevents thickening of the mucus, keeping the temperature in the throat high and relieving cough symptoms. Garlic and onion, which are often added to the chicken soup have immune-boosting effect.

How to eat during cold or flu:Have a bowl of chicken soup when you feel sick.

Mushrooms


Mushrooms are popular home remedy for cold and flu in China and Japan. Mushrooms are known to boost immune system, by helping your body produce white blood cells, which fight off the infection. Shiitake mushrooms are especially rich in beta-glucan that activates your immune system and guard your body against infections.

How to eat during cold or flu:Have an ounce of mushrooms several times a day for the maximum protection against common cold and flu.

Honey


Honey is a common natural remedy used for centuries for cold and flu. A study conducted at Penn State Colledge of Medicine showed that honey is very effective home remedy for coughs for children. Honey relieves sore throat, reduces cough and help you sleep more soundly. Children, who were given 1 to 2 teaspoons of buckwheat honey before bed, coughed less. It also contains a lot of antioxidants and has antibacterial effect. Warm water with honey and lemon is a good remedy for relieving congestion and staying hydrated during cold and flu.

How to eat during cold or flu:For adults, have 2-3 teaspoons of honey every two hours, and for children over 1 year try a teaspoon of honey before bed.

Lemon


Lemons are among most popular remedies during common cold and flu due to its great properties. Lemons, like other citrus fruits including oranges, contain the highest amounts of vitamin C, which protects your body from cell damage and boosts immune system. The rind of the lemon is rich in liminene and liminoids substances that improve immune system functioning. Lemon juice helps to relive congestion, keeping the mucus thin.

How to eat during cold or flu:Drink warm water with the juice of one lemon and one tablespoon of honey to relive common cold and flu symptoms.


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