From curing sniffles to a stomach bug, certain foods have proven beneficial for prevent and alleviating illness.
As flu and cold season approaches, it’s important to know what foods to eat. Selecting nutrient-rich, whole foods is crucial for a speedy recovery, and may even prevent sickness in the first place.
According to television health guru, Dr. Mehmet Oz, the best food for a cold is chicken soup. The zinc in chicken, particularly dark meat chicken, helps shorten the duration of a cold, while the water and salt keeps the cold sufferer hydrated. Adding a squeeze of lemon will also give you some much-needed vitamin C.
The cold remains common for a reason. “The average adult gets three colds per year, each lasting an average of nine days,” says Jane Sadler, M.D., a family practice physician at Baylor-Garland Hospital in Garland, Texas, in this Huffington Post article.
According to this article from Health.com, “super foods that fight colds” include:
Garlic: garlic contains allicin, a sulfuric compound that produces potent antioxidants when it decomposes. Garlic packs the biggest antioxidant punch when eaten raw, but is also available in capsule form.
Anise seeds: These licorice-flavored seeds have antibacterial properties and can ease coughing and congestion. According to the American Pharmaceutical Association’s Practical Guide to Natural Medicines, a typical recipe is to add one cup of crushed anise seeds to one cup of hot water, and flavor with sugar, garlic, cinnamon, or honey (if desired). Sip up to three times a day.
Citrus fruits: Studies do show that taking vitamin C at the first sign of illness may reduce a cold’s duration. Also, red peppers are high in vitamin C.
Yogurt and Kefir: Eating probiotic foods such as yogurt and kefir is a good way to replenish healthy bacteria, which promote digestive health and help prevent stomach ailments.
Consuming probiotics, whether in food or supplement form, also lowers the risk of upper respiratory tract infections.
Tea: A hot cup of tea can help break up chest congestion and soothe a sore throat. All tea; black, green, or white, contains a group of antioxidants known as catechins, which may have flu-fighting properties.
In a 2011 Japanese study, people who took catechin capsules for five months had 75% lower odds of catching the flu. Other research suggests catechins may help boost overall immunity, metabolism, and help protect against cancer and heart disease.
Blueberries: Are full of antioxidants and immunity boosters, especially when they grow in the wild. In 2007, Cornell University scientists found that wild blueberries contained the most active antioxidants of any fresh fruit.
Oats: Oats contain a type of fiber called beta-glucan, known for its cholesterol-lowering and immune-boosting properties.
Dark chocolate: Ounce for ounce, pure cocoa contains more of the disease fighting antioxidants than most berries—and it’s loaded with zinc, to boot. Look for chocolate that contains 70% or higher cocoa.
Above all else, the most important thing to do is stay hydrated. According to William Schaffner, MD “this cuts down on symptoms like a sore throat and stuffy nose.”