Uh oh. Cold and flu season is right around the corner. Besides the usual prevention tips – washing your hands often, getting eight to ten hours of sleep each night, and drinking plenty of fluids – there are specific foods that can prevent and even help shorten the length of this year’s colds and flu.
Certain vitamins, minerals and amino acids are essential when combating cold and flu bugs. These essentials can be found in common foods that may even be in your fridge right now!
Most chili dishes contain onions, garlic, beans and a variety of spices. Both onions and garlic contain antiviral properties, which can help combat viruses. Kidney beans are packed with vitamin B, which strengthens the immune system and can ultimately help build your defense system against germs. Lastly, spices not only add a hint of flavor to meals, but can clear your sinuses of congestion as well. 1 cup of vegetarian chili: 160 calories
Clementines are packed with vitamin C, which we all know is an antioxidant powerhouse. Although loads of vitamin C cannot ensure total cold and flu prevention, it can decrease the duration of both. Two clementines account for 100% of your vitamin C intake for the entire day, so stock up! 2 clementines: 138 calories
Roast Beef Sandwich
Both roast beef and whole grain bread are loaded with zinc. This mineral has been known to stop the growth of microorganisms, including harmful bacteria. A half of sandwich with a cup of chicken soup can make for a comforting meal if you are feeling under the weather! Don’t forget, chicken soup has been known to help control inflammation and congestion. 2 ounces of roast beef and 1 slice of whole grain bread: 210 calories and 1 cup of chicken soup: 190 calories
Tuna contains an amino acid, glutamio, which aids in immune health. Spice up this basic lunchmeat with one tablespoon of low-fat mayonnaise and spread on whole grain crackers. 1 six-ounce can of tuna, 1 tablespoon of low-fat mayonnaise and 6 whole grain crackers: 290 calories
Ginger helps relieve congestion and can calm the throat if you have a cough or slight irritation. Make a cup of homemade ginger tea with a bit of honey and a side of ginger snap cookies for a comforting treat. 1 cup of ginger tea and 2 ginger snaps: 85 calories
Don’t let the cold or flu get you down this fall! Incorporate one or all of the above suggestions and do your part in cold and flu prevention this season.
With assistance from future RDN Ashley Martens