The only way to avoid colds and flu would be for you to become a hermit, living far from the sneezes of co-workers, the runny noses of children, and the coughs of strangers on city streets. Since that’s not possible to seclude yourself on a desert island because you have bills to pay, the next best thing is to eat all the immunity-boosting foods you can find. As it turns out, there are plenty to choose from.
The nine I’ve chosen have powerful compounds that can stop viruses from taking hold. Even if you’re already sick, choosing the right foods will ease the discomfort and possibly help you get better more quickly.
2. Chamomile tea
3. Chicken soup
4. Chile peppers
5. Garlic and garlic soup
7. Vitamin C
9. Eat more fruits and vegetables
Acerola is a small, read, cherry like fruit and the foods made from it are hard to find. Although it is small it packs a huge disease-fighting punch. One little Acerola fruit, measuring an inch or less across, contains a whopping 81 milligrams of vitamin C! That’s well above the Daily Value of C, which is a mere 60 milligrams.
It is grown in Florida although the vast majority of it is harvested in Brazil.
Tea has a compound called theophylline, which helps break up congestion. It also contains quercetin, a compound that may help prevent viruses from multiplying. Instead of black tea, sip chamomile. Researchers in London (where else?!) found that people who drank 5 cups of chamomile tea a day for 2 weeks had increased blood levels of polyphenols. These plant-based chemicals have been associated with antibacterial activity.
According to The Doctors Book of Food Remedies, Selene Yeager says, “Chicken soup is another folk remedy that has been proven to be effective. In fact, having a bowl of chicken soup is one of the best ways to relieve stuffiness and other cold and flu symptoms. In laboratory studies, for example, researcher at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha found that chicken soup was able to prevent white blood cells from causing inflammation and congestion in the airways.”
If you have a cold and feel like you’re breathing through a thick blanket, you may want to take a bite of hot pepper. Jalapeños, ground red pepper (cayenne), and their fiery kin contains a compound called capsaicin. This compound, which is similar to a drug in cold and flu medications, will help you breathe easy again. According to Dr. Haas, mixing ¼ teaspoon of ground red pepper in a glass of water and drinking it can be very effective, “It’s heating, but not irritating,” he says.
Garlic and Garlic soup
The next time you have an infection, reach for the garlic. “Formerly known as Russian penicillin, garlic is great for infections,” say Janet Maccaro, PhD, ND. In lab studies, garlic has wiped out Candida albicans, the fungus that can cause yeast infections.
Dr. Haas says, “you probably need to eat about a bulb of garlic a day to get the maximum healing benefits.”
Pineapple is known as the Tropical Inflammation Soother. It contains bromelain and that compound has been shown to ease swelling and inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis, soft tissue injuries, inflammatory conditions in the colon and even chronic pain. It has also been used in healing following surgical procedures especially in the nose and sinuses.
It is a great source of vitamin C.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, meaning that it helps thwart free radicals, unstable oxygen molecules that damage cells and contribute to the development of cancer and heart disease. It is especially important for holding collagen bundles together, which helps wounds heal. It has been shown to relieve cold symptoms by reducing levels of histamine, a naturally occurring chemical that makes your nose run.
Colds lead to flu and the onslaught of bacteria. One way to stop the microbial invasion is by eating a food that might surprise you; yogurt. A healthy bacteria is added to some yogurts called Lactobacillus reuteri. When ingested a person will be 2 ½ times less likely to catch a cold. In the United States, the only yogurt brand currently with Lactobacillus reuteri is Stonyfield Farm. Researchers think that the bacteria in yogurt stop viruses from binding to tissue.
Fruits and vegetables
Another way to stop the microbial invasion is to eat more fruits and vegetables. These good foods contain a variety of substances that strengthen the immune system, making it better able to destroy viruses before they make you sick. They are alkaline as opposed to the more unhealthy acidic foods such as coffee, sugar, sodas, processed foods and animal based protein.