Natural Flu Fighters
- Water helps cut down thick mucus.
- Omega 3s, found in fish like salmon and tuna, boost the immune system by reducing inflammation.
- Vitamin A, found in beta-carotene-rich foods like carrots and sweet potatoes, helps fight respiratory infections by boosting immunity.
- Yogurt and kefir boost the good bacteria in the body, which help prevent bacterial infections (a possible secondary illness of the flu).
- Fennel and anise seeds can be eaten or made into a tea to ease congestion and cough.
- Rest: the body requires time to heal. Denying yourself this time will only prolong and/or exacerbate your symptoms.
- Chicken soup truly does help; it’s not just an old wives’ tale. When the chicken is cooked in the soup, it releases the amino acid cysteine, which helps reduce mucus and inflammation.
- Tea not only reduces congestion and makes it easier to breathe, but all teas contain the flu-fighting antioxidant catechin. One study reports those who take catechin in supplement form for a half-year are 75% less likely to catch the flu.
- Honey: add it to your tea to soothe a sore throat and help fight infection.
- Vitamin C can shorten your symptoms by about a day, and it’s so hard to overdose that you can practically feast on orange juice, citrus fruits, and supplements and enjoy their added benefits. Moderate consumption of Vitamin C year-round, however, is probably a better approach.
- Zinc and ginseng are both great for bolstering the immune system by increasing white blood cells. Warning: more than 50 mg per day can have the opposite effect.
- Information about the flu, as opposed to misinformation — and there’s a lot of that going around — is just as important as the above; for without knowledge, how can we make good decisions that will affect our health and that of our children?
For flu and flu vaccine information presented from all sides of the issue, including facts versus fiction; treatment options; why there’s so much contradiction in the news; how other countries are responding to the flu “epidemic” compared to the U.S., read my guest post about the flu at One Ruud Mom.