When you have the flu, eating may not be among the options of things you’d like to do. However, you have to eat.
Taking pain to eat the right kinds of foods, regardless of how little, can go a long way to speed up your recovery.
Certain foods are high in nutrients that can help boost your immune system. Read on to check out the 12 best foods for flu.
Before then, let’s learn a few things about the flu.
What is the Flu?
Flu is a contagious respiratory illness that infects the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. Flu can cause illnesses that are mild or severe.
There have also been cases of people who have died as a result of the flu. The symptoms of flu usually include cough, sore throat, runny nose, fever, fatigue.
People often get the flu when they come in contact with the respiratory droplets of infected people.
A 2018 CDC study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases reported that an average of 8% of the US population gets sick from flu each season.
Anybody can be infected with the flu, with people within the range of 0-64 years being more susceptible, according to the same CID study. Therefore, it is important to know the right food to eat if you have the flu.
What foods may aid flu recovery?
The following food can help ease the symptoms of the flu and boost the immune system.
1. Chicken Soup
Inflammations trigger flu symptoms and lead to further complications. The chicken soup comes with several important ingredients.
The cut-up chicken itself contains iron and proteins. Other ingredients, such as carrots, herbs, and celery, contain helpful nutrients.
A 2000 study suggests that the collective ingredients in chicken soup may help reduce inflammatory responses. Therefore, you would expect that chicken soup will help clear congestions in the nose and throat.
The good thing about chicken soups is that they are easy to prepare and digest. They promote hydration, which soothes the body system.
You might regard garlic as a food seasoning agent, but it is a lot more than that.
Over the years, garlic has proven to be one of the best alternative medicines for several illnesses. Garlic has several health benefits, which may be due to its antimicrobial properties.
A study aimed to examine the effects of garlic supplements in adults with flu. This study found that these supplements enhanced the immunity of patients and reduced the severity of flu symptoms.
Raw garlic also has beneficial effects. This means that you do not have to take the supplements.
It would help if you considered eating garlic as soon as you suspect a symptom of the flu.
3. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and others are a good source of vitamin E.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps rid the body of free radicals that could cause inflammation.
According to a study published in the Nutrition Research Journal, if you supplement your daily diet with 200 IU of vitamin E, there may be a significant decrease in the severity of lower and upper respiratory infections.
So, you might want to include a leafy green salad in your diet or make a smoothie with them. You could also eat the leafy greens raw, adding a bit of lemon or olive oil.
Yogurt that contains live bacterial cultures (probiotics) are popular for easing a sore throat, which is a major symptom of the flu.
This kind of yogurt can also help boost the immune.
A study reported in the International Immunopharmacology journal confirmed yogurt’s ability to aid a healthy immune system.
You must always remember that yogurts without any added sugars are the best options in this case.
If you do not fancy yogurts, then other fermented foods such as sauerkraut can be great options as well.
5. Citrus Fruits
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can help in boosting the immune system. Vitamin C can contribute to the immune system by supporting the proper functioning of the cells.
A good amount of vitamin C is required to compensate for the flu’s high inflammatory responses. It also compensates for high metabolic demands and optimizes cell levels.
Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemon, and grapefruits are rich in vitamin C.
It would be best if you considered including these fruits in your daily diet to help speed up your recovery from the flu.
You can make fruit juices with them, but it is always better to eat the whole fruit to benefit from the gut-regulating fiber.
Honey offers another great addition to your foods if you’re looking to hasten your recovery from the flu.
Honey is very effective in treating sore throat and cough, especially in children under one year.
The authors of a 2018 review found that honey was more effective than cough medications like diphenhydramine and salbutamol. It also produced similar results as dextromethorphan.
Hence, honey is one of the best foods to take if you have the flu. It soothes the back of the throat and breaks up induced mucus.
When it comes to flu recovery, ginger is one of the best food that can provide relief. Ginger has potent anti-inflammatory properties that give it the power to fight flu and the common cold.
As previously mentioned, inflammation adversely affects the body’s immune response.
The anti-inflammatory gingerols present in ginger will play a key role in boosting your immunity.
Another potent constituent of ginger is the sesquiterpenes. This chemical target the most common family of cold viruses.
Adding some tablespoons of grounded ginger root to your green tea could aid quick recovery. Also, ginger tea or chews can do the trick.
Broccoli is little green trees that are popular for their high fiber content. Not only do they contain enriching fiber, but they also have an incredible value of vitamin C.
Since vitamin C helps eliminate antioxidants that cause inflammation, Broccoli will be a good addition to your diet.
Broccoli is said to contain a chemical called sulforaphane that turns on antioxidants and immune enzymes. These will prevent you from getting sick or hasten your recovery.
Eating the vegetables raw will give you superior nutritional benefits. So, you can add them to salads and eat till you get well.
Tomato soup is the perfect substitute for vegans who won’t fancy the chicken soup. Tomatoes also contain an antioxidant constituent – Lycopene.
According to a study from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, eight weeks of lycopene supplements decreased oxidative stress in patients.
Oxidative stress is caused by an imbalance in free radicals in the body. This imbalance can cause several illnesses and worsen the severity of flu symptoms.
You should, therefore, try to incorporate tomatoes in your meals if you have the flu.
10. Wild Blueberries
Cultivated blueberries contain high contents of anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants.
Anthocyanin is a flavonoid that, when consumed, reduces your likelihood of catching the flu.
So, you can head to a grocery store and get yourself some bags of blueberries. Try to eat them daily to ease your symptoms faster.
11. Elderberry extract
Berries are generally potent when it comes to fighting diseases. They contain infection-fighting compounds, mostly anthocyanins.
The less popular Elderberry extract is a very effective food that fights against influenza (flu).
A study posted in the Journal of Internal Medical Research confirms elderberries’ potency in alleviating the respiratory infection severity.
When you notice symptoms of the flu, elderberry extract can prove helpful.
Broth offers a versatile option for a wide range of people. Whether you are a vegan or you prefer chicken or beef, the broth is one of the best foods when you have the flu.
You can start eating broth once you begin to see symptoms of the flu, and you can continue it till you’ve fully recovered.
The broth is a great option because it prevents dehydration and helps soothe sore throat and congestion in the respiratory tract.
It may take a few days to weeks to totally recover from the flu. However, eating the right foods will make recovery even faster.
A general rule of thumb is that you must stay hydrated. Try to eat the best foods for flu until your symptoms are gone, and your health is restored.