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5 Surprising Foods that Fight the Flu

By , SparkPeople Blogger

There are a variety of tips to prevent viruses. When you do find yourself not feeling well, there are various cold and flu survival guides to help you cope which is good since this year the fear of the flu is at an all time high.

We have long known that consuming hot liquids like tea or soup can help break up congestion and that unfortunately, viruses take time to run their course. However, what if there are specific foods you could try this year to help the cold and flu viruses move on more quickly to help you get back on your feet.

Here are five surprising foods that you do not typical hear recommended but that just might help you feel better more quickly.
  • Try a 1 oz serving of Brazil nuts to not only get protein but also the richest source of selenium. A small British study found that adequate selenium increases the immune cell production of proteins called cytokines. Cytokines have been found to help clear flu viruses from the body. Because the selenium content can vary and be quite high in Brazil nuts, only consume a serving several times a week and not every day.
  • Christopher Columbus called papaya the "fruit of the angels" because he found the great benefit of this special fruit especially during the winter. Rich in vitamins C, A, K, and E as well as magnesium, folate, beta-carotene and lutein, papaya has been found to help inactivate a variety of viruses so the body can flush them away.
  • Probiotic containing yogurt provides good bacteria that allow the body to defend against germ invaders. When you are fighting the flu, it is important to be sure the yogurt you select contains the seal indicating "Live and Active Cultures" which indicates at least two types of healthy bacteria are present. If you are experiencing a sore throat, try sweetening plain or vanilla yogurt with honey, which will help coat the throat for double the benefit.
  • Sweet potatoes provide a slightly lower glycemic response than traditional white potatoes but when you are sick that doesn't really matter. What does matter is that their high beta-carotene content, which converts to vitamin A, can help you feel better especially if you are experiencing a respiratory infection. Try them baked or pureed and mixed with a small amount of unsweetened applesauce to make a smooth sauce. Better yet have someone make you a nice batch of chicken and sweet potato soup and you will hopefully be on your way to feeling better in no time.
  • Tea has long been thought of as a necessity when battling colds and flu. At the same time, ginger has been found to be an aid to relieve motion sickness and nausea. This year ginger tea might be just the thing to help you feel better quicker. Fresh ginger contains a natural plant compound called gingerol which when heated converts to zingerone, which has been shown to be active against germs. To enjoy a hot cup of ginger tea cut a 1 inch chunk of fresh ginger root and use it to steep one cup of boiling water, sip and enjoy.

Have you ever heard of any of these as aids to battling colds and flu? Will you give any of them a try this year?

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