When temperature drops and in changing weather conditions, the flu is near. You can fight it off with the right diet.
Among other things, the best flu-fighting foods are fermented diary, mushrooms and cruciferous vegetables described in the first part of this article, now let’s take a look at another four great foods that can help you prevent the flu.
1 Manuka honey
This has a fairly potent anti-bacterial/viral action. It’s been used in conventional medicine for years and is now being looked at by researchers in the light of increased antibiotic resistance.
While much of the evidence on its flu-combating qualities is anecdotal, University of Wales nutrition scientists have been looking at how the honey interacts with three sorts of bacteria that generally infest wounds – including the dreaded superbug MRSA – and discovered that manuka honey can bazooka the growth of these bacteria.
Take: Simply stir a teaspoon of manuka honey into your hot lemon drink to prevent the cold bug taking a grip.
2 Coconut Oil
Lauric acid has anti- microbial properties which are already used in human nutrition such as in breast milk to fend off infection. Coconut oil has also been proven to reduce inflammation which has a strong benefit for immune competence.
The key component is the lauric acid, which isn’t found in many foods but there’s a hearty dose in coconut oil. The body converts this into monolaurin which can destroy lipid coated viruses such as influenza. The product has another benefit for athletes because it stokes up the thyroids to boost metabolism.
Take: It’s perfect for cooking and works well at high temperatures – combine it with sweet potatoes, to make oven-baked sweet potato chips brushed with coconut oil.
A nice flu-fighting meal as curries often contain a variety of herbs and spices, such as garlic that improves immune function and reduce inflammation – while the ginger and chili will stimulate the TRP V1 and TRP A1 receptors which help relieve cold symptoms.
A US study discovered phytochemicals derived from spices such as turmeric, chili, cloves, ginger and cumin strengthen the immune system.
Take: Salmon curry – the fish packs a day’s filling of vitamin D, which helps keep the immune system in working order. Add some goji berries to send the sniffles packing.
Not your off-the-shelf kids stuff that makes the milk turn chocolatey. No, instead combine wheatgerm and oats (try pinhead oats) with yogurt or porridge. And add some almonds, too. Almonds are probably the greatest source of vitamin E, which is a crucial nutrient for the immune system.
The wheatgerm is also a good source of vitamin E – along with folate and magnesium. Pinhead oats are home to beta-glucan fibre which can reduce respiratory infections too.
Take: During the flu season start the day with chopped almonds on top of cereal or porridge – and look to add a tablespoon or two of wheatgerm to smoothies to increase their impact on your immunity.