According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, October is the beginning of the flu season. This time of high-risk will last until March and be at its highest from December to February. If you fell victim to this disease already, you can speed up your recovery through diet. Some types of soups and broth can help you beat the infection and there are specific foods you should avoid to do this faster.
5 Best Foods to Eat When You Have the Flu
- Chicken soup
- Beef broth
- Garlic in any dish
- Bell peppers
Chicken soup has long been believed to be the best remedy for cold and flu, and there is even some evidence to support this according to CNN. Scientists may need more studies to prove that chemical compounds in chicken soup can fight viruses. However, it’s a fact that nutritious hot fluids with anti-inflammatory components do wonders for fighting flu. That’s why both chicken soup and beef broth, spiced up with things like garlic, anise, and ginger, will help your recovery.
Garlic is not only a delicious spice, it’s one of the nature’s strongest anti-inflammatory agents. It also has a variety of other health benefits, so eating garlic regularly is always a good idea (Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine). Note that the anti-inflammatory compounds in garlic are strongest when it’s raw, so eat it fresh and fast after mincing.
Yogurt boosts your gut health, which is essential for both fighting and preventing flu. About 80% of the human immune system is located in the gut, so keeping it healthy makes you more resistant to any disease. It also helps you restore your gut microflora after taking antibiotics for flu.
Note that not all yogurts are equal. To get health benefits you should avoid flavored varieties that contain lots of sugar. Greek yogurt is the healthiest option and it can also help you lose weight as it’s one of the best appetite suppressants. If you plan to go on a weight loss diet during the flu season, be sure to eat it regularly. Some diets might restrict your intake of other immunity-boosting ingredients. Therefore, Greek yogurt is essential for maintaining your natural defense.
Leafy greens are one of the best sources of antioxidants and generally some of the healthiest foods out there. You should eat them regularly to stay healthy, restore your health, and lose weight. Kale and spinach are particularly effective in boosting your immunity. They also contain large amounts of vitamin C, which is an essential flu-fighting nutrient.
Top 5 Foods to Avoid When You Have the Flu
- Refined sugar
- Processed foods
- Beverages high in caffeine
- Crunchy foods
Note that alcohol, processed foods, and refined sugar are to be avoided by default as they don’t fit into a healthy diet. They don’t provide you with beneficial nutrients. Even when they do have some ‘good’ elements, like resveratrol in red wine, the overall effect is damaging long-term.
When you have the flu, alcohol is to be avoided because it worsens the dehydration caused by fever. It also naturally lowers your immunity. Refined sugar has a similar effect and processed foods are bad because they give you ‘empty calories’. This means that they don’t provide the nutrition your body needs to fight off disease.
Caffeinated drinks also contribute to rapid dehydration. As it’s a major issue for people suffering from flu or any other kind of fever-inducing condition, those beverages should be avoided short-term. If you can’t go without your morning cup of joe, be sure to drink lots of water afterward.
Crunchy foods are safe health-wise, but they can damage your sore throat with their rough edges and lengthen your recovery. Be sure to abstain from anything like this to reduce the pain and get well faster.