There is no doubt that healthy eating habits are an inexpensive health insurance policy, which increases immunity and health to fight various illness and infections. However, there still would be some conditions, which would keep striking us, once in a while, regardless of how well we plan our meal options. Common cold and flu are perhaps one of those conditions. Whilst nutrition cannot eliminate the chances of contracting flu, it would certainly be helpful in strengthening our immune system and lessening the duration and severity of flu’s symptoms. In this article, we have listed some foods to beat flu this season.
Recently, scientists have unraveled the complex mechanism of the immune system and its dependence on the diet. If you have good immunity, you can prevent anything from common cold to viral infection, stomach disorders chronic fatigue to even deadly cancer. Foods contain antioxidants, which stimulate immune functioning and increase your resistance to infections.
Instead of turning to antibiotics, it’s always better to try natural flu-fighters present in foodstuffs all around us and enhance our immune system. Pump up your immune system with these suggested guidelines-
- Vitamin C is well-known for treating and preventing colds by boosting our immunity and aiding the white blood cells to destroy the invading viruses and bacteria. Include the rich sources like oranges, amla, sweet lime, broccoli, pineapple, cabbage, cauliflower, and sweet potato. If you smoke, then getting an increased amount of vitamin C becomes especially important as smoking not only increases your risk of catching a cold but also steps up the body’s need for this protective vitamin.
- Ginger contains a natural plant compound called gingerol that can help to fight off infections and flu. You can have ginger in a ginger tea, or make fresh ginger juice and have it with honey and warm water. So, it is one of the best foods to beat flu. Try it!
- The next wonder food is garlic. This marvel of nature helps fight bacteria and virus. On testing the blood of some garlic eaters who were made to eat about 15 cloves a day, it was found that their blood contained more potent T-lymphocytes and macrophages, (which increase natural killers activity and increase immunity) than non garlic eaters. Eat 4-5 cloves of raw garlic every day.
- The herb Echinacea is known to strengthen the immune system by exhibiting antiviral and antibacterial properties. It is especially effective against the cold virus and may be taken at the very onset of flu like symptoms.
- Eat Foods rich in beta-carotene or vitamin A such as carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, broccoli, spinach, apricots, peaches, cherries to keep your immune system strong.
- Foods rich in zinc can also improve immunity. These include bajra, jowar, wheat bran, most lentils, skimmed milk, spinach etc.
- Take antioxidants like Vitamin A, selenium, chromium, zinc, Vitamin C and E daily either in the natural form or in a pill form.
- Any food which is spicy enough to make your eyes watery will have the same effect on your nose, promoting the release of mucus and breaking up of congestion. Taking a bowl of chili or other spicy foods containing horseradish, hot pepper sauce, ginger, cloves, hot mustard or garam masala helps.
- Radish is an excellent remedy for thinning down mucous clearing sinuses, blocked nose, mucous related migraine etc. Raw radish can be grated or chopped & chewed. Its juice helps to thin down mucous, to reduce phlegm & to correct a sore throat, usually associated with flu.
Don’t smoke, eat right, exercise and reduce stress. Apart from that choosing nutritious food options such as raw vegetable juices, garlic, ginger, colored fruits like pomegranate, strawberries, cherries, leafy vegetables and lean protein as a part of your cold and flu armor always works better to boost your immunity and to keep your body ready to strike back whenever any illness strikes.
As Published on January 21, 2019 in Hindustan Times