So you’ve had your seasonal dose of the flu vaccine, you’re constantly washing you hands in scalding hot water, and you’ve been abusing the hand-sanitizer pump at work. Sure these are all effective ways to stay sniffle free during cold & flu season, but your body may be missing out on simple and effective ways to keep you healthy during the cold & flu seasons. Learn how you can fight off cold & flu with simple and basic nutrition. Adding these five nutrients to your diet will help keep cold & flu away, and help you recover from an infection faster.
# 1- Garlic: Garlic is well known for adding lots a flavor to any dish, but also has antiviral properties as well. In an Iranian study, researchers found garlic extracts to contain sulfur containing compounds, which enhances the body’s immune system and inhibit viral replication.
What to eat: fresh garlic cloves, garlic bread, add to minced soups and sauces.
# 2- Green Tea: Green teas is a popular beverage in most east asian countries, and has thought to have many health benefiting properties. Researchers discovered a compound called catechins to have unique anti-viral properties and is high effective against the influenza virus. Green teas is rich in catechins.
Also found in: blackberries, apples, oolong & black teas
# 3- Vitamin C: For many years research has show vitamin C to have antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. According to one study vitamin C highly supports and enhances the immune system and when taken in proper dosages exhibits fewer infections, faster immune response, and faster recovery.
What to eat: sweet red peppers, guava, oranges, strawberries, grapefruit, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts
# 4- Vitamin D: Getting enough vitamin D may be a challenge during the cold and cloudy winter months. However, it’s still important that we get enough of it to keep us healthy. According to one study, vitamin D shows to have protective properties against many upper respiratory infections like tuberculosis, cystic fibrosis, and the common cold.
What to eat: fish and fish oils, mushrooms, dairy productions, eggs, vitamin D fortified beverages, sunlight.
# 5- Stay Hydrated: Keeping yourself well hydrated helps to loosen and expel mucus secretions and maintain electrolyte balance.
What to drink: water, broths, soups, sports drinks, herbal teas, fruit juices.
Written by Christina Turner, Dietetic Intern
Mehrbod, P., Amine, E., & Tavasoti, K. M. Paper: Antiviral activity of garlic extract on influenza virus
Iqbal, K., Khan, A., & Khattak, M. M. A. K. (2004). Biological significance of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in human health-a review. Pakistan Journal of Nutrition, 3(1), 5-13.
Urashima, M., Segawa, T., Okazaki, M., Kurihara, M., Wada, Y., & Ida, H. (2010). Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren. The American journal of clinical nutrition,91(5), 1255-1260.
Song, J. M., Lee, K. H., & Seong, B. L. (2005). Antiviral effect of catechins in green tea on influenza virus. Antiviral research, 68(2), 66-74.