The old adage is to “feed a cold and starve the flu,” but the truth is, your body needs fuel to fight illness, and some foods are more effective than others. Had enough of chicken soup and ginger tea? Here are five unusual flu-fighting foods:
1. Sweet Potatoes
These orange tubers are a great source of beta-carotene, which not only helps immune system cells develop, but also helps stop harmful toxins from spreading. If you’re not a fan of sweet potatoes, go for other orange veggies like carrots, squash and pumpkin.
2. Dark Chocolate
Chocoholics rejoice! Cocoa helps in the fight against infection by supporting cells that boost the immune system. But remember, sugar is an immunity-dampener, so choose at least 70% dark organic chocolate or cacao.
The idea of sucking down oysters while feeling under the weather may not sound terribly appetizing, but just one oyster has the recommended amount of zinc you need for a day—and zinc appears to benefit the immune system (some studies suggest it can shorten the duration of a cold). To get that much zinc without the raw bar, you’ll need more than a cup of roasted pumpkin or squash seeds, about three-quarters of a cup of wheat germ…or a good quality supplement.
Here’s a reason to add mushrooms to your soup recipe: these fungi contain selenium, a mineral that helps the body produce bacteria-destroying cells. While all mushrooms contain selenium, maitake, portobellas, morels and button mushrooms have higher amounts.
5. Fermented veggies
Like yogurt, fermented veggies are filled with beneficial probiotics, but lack mucus-producing dairy. The good bacteria in fermented veggies will help fight the bad bacteria in your body, and keep your digestive system running smoothly. So add an extra helping of kimchi or raw sauerkraut to your salads.
It’s a gourmet way to get well.