When you have the flu, you may not feel like eating anything at all. Or, you may resort to eating things that your body doesn’t need. The problem? While your body is busy fighting off viruses, it needs support to do its job. What’s one primary source of that support? Nutrition.
But what are the best flu foods that help increase your body’s defenses, while replenishing your system?
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Green, oolong, and black tea offer disease-fighting antioxidants. Also, breathing in the steam can help relieve congestion. Add a spoonful of honey and lemon slices to help detoxify your system and soothe a sore throat. If caffeine bothers you, opt for decaf or herbal versions.
Turkey is a good, lean protein, essential to solid nutrition. And although you may not feel like it, eating can help give your body energy to fight illness. Try adding cranberry sauce for a spike of flavor and comfort-food taste.
An icy popsicle can soothe a sore or dry throat. It can also help keep you hydrated, which is essential when fighting the flu. Getting enough fluids can keep mucus thin and help lessen congestion. Look for popsicles made from 100% fruit juice to make sure you’re getting vital nutrients and not just sugar water.
Making and eating a salad may be more than your weakened body can handle. Instead, try drinking a glass of low-sodium vegetable juice, which is filled with immune-boosting antioxidants. If you’re craving something sweeter, try 100% fruit juice.
Nourishing and hydrating, there’s also some scientific evidence that chicken soup may help with healing and have mild anti-inflammatory effects. Studies have found that hot chicken soup can improve the ability of cilia, the tiny hair-like parts of the nasal passages, to protect the body from bacteria and viruses.
If you can manage food, try toast or crackers. They can be convenient foods when you’re fighting illness. Plus, they pair well with chicken noodle soup, and their satisfying crunch can take the edge off hunger when your stomach is having trouble with other types of food.
If you feel up to it, garlic can be a good thing to try, particularly in chicken soup. It appears to have antimicrobial and immune-stimulating properties and may give you slight relief from congestion.