There’s nothing worse than waking up with a sore throat and stuffy nose. Very quickly, your whole body also starts to ache and it feels as though all your energy has been sapped away. Hello, flu, so nice to meet you – not!
Unfortunately, getting a cold or flu is extremely common these days. Besides doing what you can to boost your immunity, eating right can also go a long way in helping you feel better and recovering faster.
Load up on these nine foods to fight off infections while soothing pesky symptoms. Think of them as comfort food with benefits!
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Turns out that eating an orange a day is what helps keep the doctor away. Oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruits are a good bet if you’re looking to up your vitamin C intake. Studies have also shown that citrus fruits are high in other phytochemicals like flavonoids that have antioxidant, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Besides eating citrus fruits, you can also make yourself a glass of warm lemon water with honey. The comforting drink will act as an immunity booster while soothing your sore throat.
When your throat feels like sandpaper, it can be hard to swallow anything. Make a meal out of warm chicken soup. The nourishing broth will help to replace fluid loss so that you don’t become dehydrated. Chicken meat also contains selenium and B vitamins to support your immune system, plus the protein will give you energy when you’re feeling weak.
Try our Herbal Tonic Chicken Soup recipe (pictured above).
You can’t go wrong with a serving of salmon, tuna or mackerel. All of them are high in omega-3 fatty acids that help your body fight off infections and inflammation. Fish is also a good source of protein which your body needs in order to recover faster.
Try our salmon recipes here!
When you’re suffering from a cold or flu, it’s more important than ever to make sure you get your daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Dark leafy greens like spinach and kale are high in multiple immunity-boosting vitamins and nutrients. If you’re having trouble chewing all the veggies, juice them and sip on your green smoothie throughout the day.
Take your pick from the many types of herbal teas out there – green, peppermint, ginseng and ginger, just to name a few. Teas are chock-full of antioxidants that can help fend off free radicals to speed up the healing process. Staying hydrated is also key to faster recovery as you tend to lose a lot of water when you’re down with a flu or cold.
Bananas are especially good if your flu is accompanied by gastrointestinal issues like diarrhoea. They’re full of potassium and vitamin B6 to replenish energy stores and help your body ward off infections.
Eat as colourfully as you can when you’re having a cold or flu. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are all renowned for their high antioxidant content and can help to bolster your immune system when it’s compromised. Berries are rich in vitamin C to speed up your recovery, plus the vitamin hit also helps to minimise your risk of getting sick again.
Chow down on hearty beef stew if you’re feeling under the weather. Besides being protein-rich, beef is also high in zinc, another key mineral that supports your immune system and boosts your body’s ability to fight off infections.
Try out yummy Asian-style beef recipes here!
Gastrointestinal health also plays a huge part in your overall wellbeing. A healthy gut leads to healthy immunity. If you’re taking medication for your flu, you’ll also want to stock up on probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir or kombucha since certain drugs can cause an upset tummy.
Garlic is well-known for its immunity-boosting properties, as it contains a compound called alliin (or allicin) that helps the body immune system fight germs. A UK study of 146 volunteers found that those who ate garlic supplements for a period of three months had a 63 per cent lower risk of catching a cold, compared to those who didn’t.
So whether enjoyed sliced or crushed, you can load up on garlic when you’re well to build immunity, and eat it when you’re sick to help reduce symptoms and recover faster.
Text: Dawn Chen/Shape