Foods that fight the flu

By: Primacy Dietitians, Dec 07, 2009
  Article
foods to help colds, foods to help with a flu, colds, flu's

Try adding these healthy foods to your diet to ward of illness this winter

December always brings with it the wonderful holiday season, but along with holiday cheer often comes a bout of the cold or flu that can spread throughout the household.

Stay healthy this holiday season with a diet that can strengthen your immune system. And of course, there are plenty of foods out there that are rich in nutrients that can help you fight colds and the flu.

Try adding these foods to your diet.

Vegetables and fruits: Look for both veggies and fruits that are rich in antioxidants and are part of a healthy diet. Try green, leafy veggies like spinach, kale and arugula, along with broccoli, carrots, root vegetables, onions and garlic. And don’t forget the vitamin C! Not only can you find vitamin C in citrus fruit, it’s also in berries, red, green, orange and yellow peppers and even brussels sprouts!

Yogurt:  New research suggests that probiotics, such as the healthy bacteria found in yogurt and dairy foods, may play a role with immunity. While most of the studies show that a diet high in probiotics does not necessarily reduce the frequency of catching a cold, it may reduce the severity and length of a cold. While further research needs to be done in this area, including these foods when you are ill may be helpful. In addition to dairy foods, food sources of probiotics include tempeh and miso.

Chicken soup: There is something about mom’s chicken soup that makes you feel better when you’re sick. Besides being a comfort food, chicken soup, both homemade and store-bought, may contain anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce the symptoms of cold and flu as well as help to relieve congestion. But if you’re buying store-bought chicken soup, be sure to check the sodium content.

Water: Dehydration can cause increased stuffiness and achiness. Help loosen congestion and optimize the flow of nutrients throughout your body by drinking plenty of water. If you’re not a huge fan, you can also try other clear fluids such as broth or hot ginger tea to ensure you stay properly hydrated.

Easy chicken soup

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups/1.25 L low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 lb/500g skinless boneless chicken breasts/thighs
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp/25 mL olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1 medium potato, cut into cubes
  • 2 celery stalks diced
  • 1 cup/250 mL frozen peas
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp/10 mL dried dill
  • 3 tbsp/45 mL finely chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Lightly sauté chopped onion in oil in a large heavy pot over moderate heat. Stir occasionally, until softened but not browned, about six minutes. Add garlic, carrots, potato, celery, pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, eight to 10 minutes. Add stock, chicken, peas and dried dill, simmering until vegetables and chicken are cooked thoroughly. Stir in parsley just before serving.

Optional: Add cooked egg noodles or rice to the soup just prior to serving.

Primacy Dietitians is a panel of dietitians who are all members of the Dietitians of Canada.