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Sometimes it's like we can't rest from the cold and flu season, and now we have another virus to worry about. But, there are some things you can do to prevent yourself or your family from contracting some of these repulsive germs. One of the easiest things you can start with is the food you are eating. Yes, there are some foods that are packed with antioxidants and vitamins that will naturally keep your immune system going strong and fighting disease.
Eleven essential foods to fight the flu
Here are eleven of the best foods that can help combat this germ season that is upon us. These are foods you may not have thought were so powerful to our bodies, and you may already be eating them! If not, just add a few to your shopping list to keep them handy all year long!
Blueberries not only help with memory and heart health (among other things), but are packed with flavonoids (a class of antioxidants) that reduce your chance of catching a cold by a third! No wonder WebMD calls blueberries a "Food Wonder." This is one of the BEST foods to fight the flu!
I was really excited to see that dark chocolate can help me during cold and flu season. Like my slice of dark chocolate, it's a bonus that has more benefits than just being a delicious treat! Dark chocolate contains theobromine (found in cocoa), which will help to suppress the annoying cough you may have contracted. In fact, according to a small study, dark chocolate was more effective at stopping coughs than codeine (and with fewer side effects)!
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Eggs have had good and bad press over the years. But, like an egg almost every morning, and it was comforting to know the benefits they have for our bodies (especially the yolks). Eggs are full of all kinds of vitamins and nutrients, but in our case, the most important is vitamin D. Vitamin D helps to strengthen immunity, and isn't that the goal of preventing disease? If you love eggs and want to see the full list of benefits, you can see them all here.
As a food blogger, I have used my fair share of garlic in recipes. It has earned a good reputation over the years as a cold-fighting beast! That's good news for me, and I'll gladly add more garlic to any recipe. It has a compound called alliin, and when garlic is crushed or chewed, it turns into allicin. I'm not a scientist, but knowing that garlic helps boost my immune system, that's enough for me! If you want to read more about the studies being carried out, you can find that information here.
Ginger is packed with anti-inflammatory properties to help fight a cold or flu. It also has antioxidants (a common theme in many of these foods) and an antibacterial power that makes it beneficial in many ways, not just for fighting germs!
Ginseng tea is not only delicious, but it can also help lessen cold or flu symptoms. Like ginger, it has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help our bodies keep germs at bay. To learn about all the benefits of ginseng, you can read about them here.
You couldn't have a list of essential foods to help you deal with cold and flu season without mentioning oranges! Most of us know that oranges are full of vitamin C, which can boost your immunity in a big way. This is especially helpful for those of us who live in colder climates where illness often surrounds us!
Spinach is definitely a superfood! It is full of nutrients, vitamin C being one of them. Vitamin C is key to keeping our cold or flu symptoms more bearable or to help fight the germs our body comes into contact with every day!
Two main components of our immune system are phagocytes and T cells. And these parts need vitamin C, so I have included tomatoes as a food to fight the flu. Tomatoes are full of vitamin C. So, don't forget to add that tomato to your salad or sandwich next time.
Brussels sprouts are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, making them a perfect complement to maintain a healthy diet. They may also come with additional health benefits, including the potential to reduce cancer risk, decrease inflammation, and improve blood sugar control. Brussels sprouts are an important dietary source of vitamin antioxidants, including vitamins C and vitamin A.
The reason wild salmon appeared on my list is because of one nutrient: zinc. Wild salmon is full of zinc, and zinc is one of those things you need for your body to function at its best. There are some studies that show that taking a zinc pill as soon as you feel like a cold is coming will reduce your symptoms. If salmon is not for you, there are some other foods that also contain zinc that you can see here.
Granted, water isn't super exciting, but the benefits of drinking water should get you excited (and hit another glass this cold and flu season). Regardless of the time of year, you should drink about 8 glasses of water per day. Water helps flush germs and viruses from your immune system. If you're sick, you're probably dehydrated, so it's even more important to keep drinking that water!
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