Thursday, November 21, 2013

Flu-Fighting Foods

I work with the public, and know I'm going to have germs flying my way.  However, I was still startled (and grossed out) today when a woman sneezed right in my face as I was answering her question about the closest mall rest rooms.  I could tell by the look on her face she hadn't meant to; she claimed it was allergies, but still!

Last month I got a flu shot and I'll do whatever else I can to stay healthy.  I remembered last month's issue of the AARP Bulletin had a list of 9 Natural Flu-Fighting Foods.   When I read it I'd been pleasantly surprised to see I already ate many of the foods on a regular basis, but now it was time to look the information up again and put it to good use.

The foods:
  • Black-Eyed Peas (along with pinto beans, peanuts, roasted pumpkin seeds and wheat germ) are full of zinc, a mineral that helps keep your immune system in working order.
  • Carrots (and dark green vegetables, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and winter squash) contain beta-carotene, which your body uses to ward off respiratory infections.
  • Tea (green, black, oolong, and decaf varieties, but not herbal) contains compounds that reduce the risk of flu, including quercetin, a powerful antioxidant, and L-theanine, an amino acid found only in tea.
  • Yogurt (along with its fermented cousins cottage cheese, kimchi, and sauerkraut) are full of probiotics, the beneficial bacteria that strengthen the immune system.
  • Tomatoes (including tomato juice) are loaded with Vitamin C which boosts the body's natural defense system.
  • Mushrooms are rich in selenium, which increases the body's resistance to viral infections.
  • Almonds are a rich source of Vitamin E that helps your body ward off viral infections. (Chopped almonds, almond butter, or almond oil are best to maximize the vitamin absorption)
  • Salmon is high in vitamin D, which the immune system needs to kill harmful bacteria and viruses. Wild salmon has more Vitamin D than farm-raised salmon, but it's also a good source.
  • And, although it may not prevent the flu, Chicken Soup can help your immune system fight off the virus in its early stages, thanks to a compound called carnosine. The only catch--a 2012 study says you need to consume chicken soup throughout your illness to reap its benefit.
Based on this information I mentally put together the perfect flu-fighting meal: a bowl of chicken soup; a main-dish salad with leafy greens and salmon, beans, tomatoes, and mushrooms, topped with a dressing of yogurt and almond butter; and a cup of tea.  Doesn't it sound yummy?

Five years ago today: New Thing #315--Extreme


  1. oh Kathy how awful to have her sneeze like that!

    1. I was used to it when I worked with two year olds in a preschool, but coming from an adult it felt different

  2. Thank you for sharing. I am all into naturally healing foods.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! I'm trying to get away from junk food and eat more 'whole', too.

  3. I'm glad we're already doing some of those things. I always make a huge pot of chicken soup when anybody gets sick. Actually they get sick of the chicken soup after a while. Oh yuck with that person coughing in your face. That's awful. I'm so sorry. I also take Airborne even though I know it's probably more a placebo.

    1. I know a lot of people who swear by Airborne, but I've only used it once. Didn't seem to help.