A snotty nose, a mucus-filled throat and a feeling of never ending drowsiness all contribute to making a cold and flu one of the most frustrating, debilitating wet illnesses.
There are ways to prevent cold and flu, and incorporating the following five foods into your diet will arm you with the vitamins and nutrients needed to keep you fighting fit this season.
Garlic contains a compound known as allicin which is responsible for its striking aroma. This compound is also a potent anti-viral and antibacterial agent helping to eliminate microbes that cause cold and flu. Research suggests that a diet consisting of garlic reduces the risk of becoming infected with the flu by up to 50 per cent. On top of this garlic is rich in vitamin C which has been identified to minimize the length of time the flu bug persists.
Ginger is both an antihistamine and powerful decongestant which works to ease the symptoms of cold and flu. Ginger root also has antispasmodic and cough reducing properties helping to eliminate coughs for centuries. It also helps to thin bronchial mucus and allow it to easily move away from the lungs. Grate, or thinly slice some ginger and throw it into your curries or stir frie to take advantage of gingers flu prevention properties.
Citrus fruits, such as oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes, are rich in vitamin C. It’s been known for a long time that vitamin C is effective at keeping cold and flu at bay but a recent review of over thirty studies examining the relationship between vitamin C intake and flu revealed that just 200mg of the vitamin per day could help cut the risk of becoming infected by 50 per cent, especially in high stress individuals.
The review also found that vitamin C intake is responsible for reducing the length of time infected by a cold or flu by eight per cent in adults and 13 per cent in children. This is only a small reduction, but anything that helps to cleanse our system of this illness faster is worth it.
Mushrooms – but more specifically reishi, shitake and maitake varieties – have been used across Asia for centuries for boosting the immune system and fending off cold and flu. Beta-glucan is the active ingredient in these mushrooms and it works to increase the ability of the white blood cells to fight off bacteria, microbes and viruses. This helps in three ways: first, it reduces the risk of catching the flu, second, it speeds the recovery process, and finally it reduces the chances of catching a secondary infection.
It’s the old cliché that chicken soup cures a cold, but a recent study reported in Science Daily reported that it really can work to keep flu at bay and to speed up the healing process. The study suggested that a chicken soup made with onions, sweet potato, parsnips, turnip, parsley, celery, carrots, salt and pepper was the most effective. I’d suggest adding some extra thyme and rosemary for added flavour plus an additional nutritional boost. Plus, why not include mushrooms, ginger and garlic which, as we have revealed in this article, will make your chicken soup and even more powerful cold and flu buster.