Last week we discussed the different symptoms between a cold and a flu and in yesterday’s “how to Tuesday” we shared some remedies for fighting off a cold or flu. Today’s post will focus specifically on foods that can help fight your infection. The importance of good nutrition cannot be underestimated.
It might be pungent but it is powerful too and does a whole lot more than just flavour your food. Garlic contains allicin which is a sulfuric compound that produces potent antioxidants when it decomposes and has direct antiviral effects. We don’t know many people who cold chew a raw clove every three to four hours though – you might have no friends or a job left but add it to your food as often as possible or try getting a garlic and parsley supplement.
Like garlic, onions also contain the antimicrobial compounds allion and allicin. Again, eating a raw onion every few hours is not ideal so add it to your meals.
Turmeric, cloves and cinnamon are packed with antioxidants, which help improve the function of the immune system. Add these spices to your food or brew a tea using all of them.
All berries have a high concentration of antioxidants to help fight off flu viruses but blueberries have the most. You should have 1 – 2 cups of blueberries daily to obtain the full benefits and the easiest way to do this is definitely by making a fruit smoothie (click here to see how we make our berry smoothies).
Oily fish such as salmon and tuna are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. These compounds help reduce harmful inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation prevents your immune system from working properly which can contribute to colds and flu as well as more serious diseases.
These licorice-flavoured seeds have antibacterial properties and have been shown to ease coughing and help clear congestion from the upper respiratory tract. Anise seeds are often found in rolls and biscuits but the best way to consume them to fight off infection is brewed in tea.
Most people are well aware of the infection fighting benefits of consuming vitamin C. Eat a lot of oranges and grapefruits and put slices of lemons or limes in your rooibos tea or in your water to reap the benefits of this nutrient.
Yoghurt and keffir
We have written before about the benefits of probiotics and foods that contain probiotics (read that here) but essentially these microorganism are essential for good health by replenishing the strains of bacteria in our systems that promote digestive health and prevent stomach ailments.
All strains of tea – black, green or rooibos – contains a group of antioxidants known as catechins, which have flu-fighting properties. A steaming hot cup of tea also helps breaking up chest congestion and soothes a sore throat.
Red pepper are very high in vitamin C which is not a very well known fact. One red pepper has twice the recommended daily allowance for women!
Vitamin D is very important for our bodies to build strong bones and bolster our immune systems (read more here) and as our skin doesn’t get enough exposure to the sun – and there are other negative consequences of this – it can be found in fortified food such as milk.
All mushrooms contain some form of immune boosting antioxidant, potassium, vitamin B and fibre.
Gram for gram, pure coca contains more of the disease fighting antioxidants known as poluphenols than most berries – and it is loaded with zinc!
Carrots and sweet potatoes
Carrots and sweet potatoes (and other orange fruits and vegetables) are rich in beta-carotene. Our bodies convert this organic compound into vitamin A, which is essential for maintaining a strong immune system. Vitamin A is also especially important to keep mucous membranes, that line our noses and throats – one of the body’s first lines of defense – healthy and functioning properly.
What foods do you eat to improve your health?