Fighting the flu is one of the many drawbacks of the winter months. It never seems to fail that as soon as the temperatures drop and the snow starts to fall, people get sick! One of my biggest pet peeves are people who don’t properly take care of themselves when ill. You know the co-worker who “takes one for the team” and comes to work with a fever and a terrible cough, exposing you and everyone else in the office to potential germs!? Arg. STAY HOME and take care of yourself!
How are YOU supposed to be successfully fighting the flu when the people around you are dropping like flies? Lucky for you, I am here to boost your defenses.
As we are approaching February, if you are still looking for ways to prevent the flu or other illness, then this is the post for you. I haven’t gotten the flu yet, (knock on wood) and I believe the food choices I make each and every day are a large part of it. You want a flu treatment or prevention plan? EAT WELL. Your immune system is built on what you put in your body. Oh, and not being a germ-a-phobe helps too (you have to expose yourself to SOME germs!!).
Try to incorporate the following 5 foods in to your daily and weekly eating plan and you will be healthier than everyone at the office! This is MY list of the 5 BEST Foods for the flu!
The Quercetin Quota: Apples, Grapes, Blueberries/Blackberries, Broccoli, Cherries, Onions, and Leafy Greens.
Heard of quercetin before? Maybe, maybe not, but either way, I am here to introduce it to you this winter! Quercetin is one of a family of flavonoids that give produce its’ gorgeous color. Flavonoids are antioxidants which help ward off detrimental free radicals, which can cause a host of diseases. With illness fighting and also anti-inflammatory properties, quercetin is a flu-fighting powerhouse!! Since foods like apples, onions, broccoli, and leafy greens are easily found in the produce section this winter, I suggest you stock up! It could be a matter of sickness or health! Gosh, I just gave you 8 plus flu-fighters in one!
Glamorous Garlic: I’ve tooted the benefits of garlic in a recent post; Garlic; 5 Reasons Why You Need It In Your Diet, but I will reiterate it again here. Garlic is glamorous when it comes to warding off the flu! It contains a compound called allicin which has anti-microbial properties. Talk about backing up your defenses! I add garlic to just about everything! Try to do the same!
Feel good recipe: Agave Mustard Vinaigrette
Gustatory Green Tea: Green tea is full of antioxidants, making it a super immune booster. In fact, “a recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition showed that subjects taking a special preparation of green tea as a capsule experienced 23% less bouts of colds and flu overall and 36% fewer sick days. Their immune systems also produced more cells that fought off illness-causing bacteria and viruses.” (source) Now, I’m not telling you to go out and buy green tea capsules or scarf 4-8 cups of green tea a day. But I will recommend it as a smart beverage to incorporate on a daily basis. It has a mild flavor and is a great alternative to your morning coffee!
Feel good recipe: Citrus-Honey Green Tea
Awesome Almonds: Almonds are one of my favorite go-to snacks. They are easily portable, mighty tasty, and a little goes a long way to keep you full and satiated. Did you also know that incorporating almonds in to your daily routine can help fight off the flu!? Interestingly enough, the skin of the almond is the most potent when it comes to fighting illness. According to Scientists from the Institute of Food Research in Norwich, UK, and the Policlinico Universitario in Messina, Italy, the skin of the almond helps improve function of our helper T-cells (a type of white blood cells) in identifying viruses and enhancing the body’s ability to prevent the spread and replication of viruses. Sounds good to me! Choose RAW ALMOND varieties to reap the most benefits (as these are the least processed and retain the most nutrients).
Feel good recipe: 1/2 cup plain full-fat organic yogurt, 1/2 cup blueberries, and 12-24 raw almonds.
Marvelous Mushrooms: What you might not realize about mushrooms is that they are armed and dangerous when it comes to their flu-fighting capabilities. Mushrooms contain TWO immune boosting nutrients; selenium and beta glucan! Selenium is a trace mineral which help your white bloods cells do what they need to do in combat! Beta glucan is an antimicrobial which helps your cells locate and annihilate infections in the body! I love adding raw mushrooms to salads, but they are an excellent addition to just about any dish! Pick some up today!
Feel good recipe: Portabella Mushroom “burgers” with Blue Cheese Crumbles!
And there you have it! My pick for the 5 BEST foods for the flu! I realize there are WAY more than 5 BEST foods, but this list should give you a good start. I’m not telling you to mix together any magic potion or pick up super expensive “super-foods.” I simply want you to know that common grocery store staples can really amp your immune system this winter! I wish you all health and wellness this flu season!
QUESTION: Do you have any foods to add to the list!? What are your best defenses against the flu!?