8 flu fighting foods
What to eat to boost your immunity and help you fight the flu.
Lite n’ Easy dietitian Ashleigh Jones helps to separate fact from fiction and tells us what we really should be doing to help boost our immunity and give some relief to symptoms when we’re battling the flu.
Many people, when they’re not feeling well with a cold or flu, don’t feel like eating healthy foods. But this is exactly what your body needs to recover.
Soup is a great option as it’s a gentle and comforting way to get your vegetables, protein and fluid which will put you on the road to recovery as quickly as possible. The steam from hot soup can also help to break up any congestion and soothe a sore throat. Just be wary of the sodium content in store bought versions, particularly canned and “just add water” varieties.
2. Hot tea
There’s nothing more comforting than a hot cup of tea when you’re under the weather. Tea is full of antioxidants and can provide much needed relief to a sore throat and stuffy nose. It can also help suppress coughing. Turn your tea into a flavour bomb by adding a teaspoon of honey or a squeeze of lemon. Ginger tea can be a great option when you’re unwell, as it can help fight nausea. Ginger also has a whole stack vitamins and minerals, including chromium, which can help prevent chills and fevers.
Garlic contains a type of fibre called fructans, which is food for our native gut bacteria. If we keep our gut bacteria well fed and happy they can help us in return by crowding out the bad bugs and helping to fight disease!
If you’re a meat eater, beef contains lots of iron and zinc. Having low blood levels of iron and zinc can weaken the immune system which can make us more susceptible to illnesses such as the flu. Enjoy a portion of beef twice per week to help maintain your iron and zinc levels.
5. Chickpeas and other legumes
Chickpeas may not sound very glamorous, but they’re actually nutrition powerhouses! Chickpeas and other legumes, such lentils, kidney beans, black beans and baked beans, are high in fibre as well as protein. Fibre is important for keeping your gut healthy, which is crucial during cold and flu season, as your gut plays a major role in immunity. Protein is also key because it will help to build and repair cells, which is vital when fighting illness.
6. Vitamin C
When thinking of flu fighting foods, vitamin C is probably the first thing you think of, and for good reason. Vitamin C promotes the development of antibodies that can destroy toxins and bacteria in our bodies. Rather than reaching for juice, opt for a whole piece of fruit like oranges, grapefruit or kiwi fruit. Aside from being refreshing, citrus fruits are bursting with vitamin C which can help with making symptoms milder and can shorten the length of illness.
Leafy greens like spinach, silver beet and kale, and other veges like broccoli, are a bursting with nutrients and can also help boost your immune system when you’re not feeling well. They’re full of vitamin C and fibre, which your body needs to stay healthy and fight disease.
It’s easy to get dehydrated with the flu. Not only do you tend to eat and drink less due to a decreased appetite, but you also lose hydration with sweat when you have a fever. If water on its own doesn’t appeal you can add some citrus to your water for some extra vitamin C, or drink tea, broth or even the odd cup of coffee just to keep your fluids up.
Lite n’ Easy meals provide a complete solution to your nutritional needs. For optimum health and convenience, our full 5 or 7 day meal plans includes everything you need for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks each day.