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Healthy Food to Fight Colds and Flu

Posted Nov 03 2009 10:00pm 1 Comment

Boosting your immune system with better food and healthy lifestyle choices can prevent you from coming down with colds and flu. The key is not waiting until you get sick to make these changes; you need to revamp your diet and lifestyle before the cold and flu bugs hits you.

Drink lots of water (Take your weight - divide by 2 and this is the ounces of water your body needs. So if you weigh 170 divide by 2 = 85 ounces of water per day), eat a healthy balanced diet supplemented with a whole food supplement for extra protection, exercise often and get restful sleep.

Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

You know you need to eat lots of fruits and vegetables. The problem with this age - old phrase is that people tend to like the fruits more than the veggies. If you really hate a certain vegetable it's probably not going to do you a lot of good if you have to force yourself to eat it. To keep your immune system strong, you have to actually get the fruits and veggies in your body, you have to make it happen.

People tend to eat fewer fruits and vegetables in the winter, which is the opposite of what you should be doing. Everyone needs at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day to get adequate vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants -- all things we need for a healthy immune system.

Make sure that fruits and vegetables are part of every meal. You can add berries or a sliced banana to your whole grain cereal at breakfast and drink a glass of 100% orange or grapefruit juice. Pack a bunch of grapes or an apple with your sandwich for lunch, and top that sandwich with tomato slices, avocado, sprouts and lettuce. Start dinner off with a salad or vegetable soup, or serve a big salad as a healthy dinner. Keep a bowl of oranges, apples and pears on your counter top to grab as quick snacks.

Keep Up Your Healthy Diet

While you want to focus on increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables you eat, don't forget to choose other healthy foods to supply nutrients your immune system needs. A healthy balanced diet with lean meats, fish, poultry, low-fat dairy, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds provides your body with all of the nutrients you need for general health. A healthy body tends to have a healthier immune system.

Protein sources such as lean meats, dairy, eggs and legumes are especially important because they supply the amino acids that your body needs to build the components of your immune system. Lean meats also contain iron and zinc; deficiencies of these minerals can depress your immune system.

Of course, avoiding unhealthy food is important too. Stay away from excess sugar and unhealthy fats, such as saturated fat and trans fats. Make a real effort to give up the Mc Junk meals. Keep healthy snacks handy so you won't be so tempted to eat less healthy options. Try dried fruit or trail mix.

If the cold or flu bug bites here's a daily menu based on experts' recommendations:


Orange juice or half a grapefruit. Both are great sources of vitamin C, which could shorten the duration of colds.

Whole-grain cereal or bread. Whole grains are rich in vitamins and minerals, including zinc and vitamin E, which can help keep your immune system healthy.

Black tea. Real tea leaves (not herbal) have substances that speed the action of cilia, the tiny hairlike cells lining your nasal pas-sages, helping them expel germs.

Mid-morning snack

Yogurt with fresh fruit.


Chicken soup. Nebraska researchers used a traditional recipe they called "Grandma's Soup," which had veggies like onions, parsnips, and carrots, along with chicken. But most of the commercial varieties they tested reduced inflammation, too. For even more protection, add a clove or two of garlic.

Anise-seed cookie. Anise seeds, with their licorice-like flavor, have been found to help break up congestion.


Salad of bitter greens. Watercress and arugula can make a salad special-and research shows they may also have antiviral effects. Bitter greens are especially helpful in relieving chest congestion, sniffles, and coughs.

Pasta with tomato sauce and plenty of garlic. Because the pungent bulb is one of the most potent disease-fighting foods around, it's worth having at least two servings a day. Raw garlic has the most benefits, but cooked garlic also packs a punch.

Ginger tea. It's different and refreshing-and ginger is loaded with virus-fighting substances, including several that act directly against cold viruses."(One substance, gingerol, can suppress coughing.) Boil water; then steep a tablespoon of fresh shredded ginger for 2 or 3 minutes.

Honey and lemon drink: for a bedtime drink that helps to soothe sore throats and coughing - squeeze the juice of a lemon into a mug of hot water and add a teaspoon of honey, stir to dissolve.

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Comments (1)
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Good stuff, Robin. Thanks for the post.  I've always believed in grandma's chicken soup--even if the broth has a lot of sodium.  And the fruits and veggies are always at the top of the list.
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