One of the best ways to ward off any flu is to build up your overall immunity. A diet rich in a variety of produce, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products along with adequate sleep, moderate exercise, and minimal stress, may contributes to a better functioning of immune system and may promote a faster recovery from a cold or flu. Some key nutrients and tips that will help increase the likelihood that you’ll fly through the winter months in good health. Diet rich in vitamins and minerals is your best bet for the cold weather months, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables (for vitamins C and E); whole grains, lean meats, and poultry (for zinc); and low-fat dairy products (for vitamin A). whole grain like quinoa or rye bread offers fiber, B vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, which support overall good health and citrus, like grapefruit, oranges, kumquats, tangerines, and clementines as well as canned tomatoes, chilies, or pineapple provide vitamin C.
- Garlic. Garlic contains compounds called allion and allicin, which have direct antiviral effects. If you happen to come in contact with a flu virus, garlic can help fight it before it becomes a full-blown flu in the body. best to chew a raw clove every three or four hours. If you can’t bear the taste, try cutting cloves into pieces and swallowing them down like pills.
- Mushrooms. Mushrooms contain selenium, which helps white blood cells produce cytokines that clear sickness, and beta glucan, an antimicrobial type of fiber, which helps activate cells that find and destroy infections.
- Tea. Researchers at Harvard University found that drinking five cups of black tea a day quadrupled the body’s immune defense system after two weeks, probably because of theanine. Tea also contains catechins, including ECGC, which act like a cleanup crew against free radicals. Grotto suggests drinking one to three cups of black, green or white tea every day.
- Onion. Onions also contain the antimicrobial compounds allion and allicin. To get this superfood’s full flu-fighting action, consuming a serving of raw onions every few hours is recommended. If that seems unpalatable, add extra servings to your meals, like in a Onion Soup.
- Probiotics. The digestive tract is one of your biggest immune organs, so keep disease-causing germs out with probiotics and prebiotics, found in naturally fermented foods like yogurt. One serving a day labeled with “live and active cultures” will enhance immune function.
- Fish. Omega 3s may fight colds on more than one front. Fish is also an excellent source of selenium, which helps protect cells from free-radical damage and boosts your immunity. Try this healthy Mediterranean Tuna Sandwich to ward off the flu in a delicious way.
- Anise Seed. Anise Seed have been shown to ease coughing and help clear congestion from the upper respiratory tract. Anise seeds can be eaten (in rolls and cookies, for instance), but for cold-fighting the delivery method of choice is usually tea.