Feel-good recipes to keep cold and flu season at bay
Matthew Kadey, MSc, RD
The much-dreaded cold and flu season is now upon us. Luckily, you can bolster your defences against lurking germs by eating the right foods. Include these immunity-boosting recipes in your culinary repertoire to keep the sickly season from bringing you down.
Oh no … you’re feeling that telltale tingle at the back of your throat, and your head is starting to feel like it’s being squeezed like an orange. It’s official: you’re coming down with something. ’Tis the cold and flu season, and chances are you or a loved one will suffer from a hacking cough or nose rubbed raw from tissues. But before you open the medicine cabinet, you may want to head to the kitchen. That’s because the age-old axiom that you should “feed a cold” is very much true. Modern science suggests you can fortify your immune system against pesky bugs and help keep the sniffles at bay by eating certain items found in your fridge and pantry. Want to avoid the loathed symptoms (hello, stuffed-up sleepless nights) of a cold or flu like, well, the plague? Or at the very least cut short their attack on you? Start with these potentially cold-busting recipes that can hold the answer to not being knocked off your feet.
In the end, the best nutritional strategy to help fend off colds and flu this winter is to load up your shopping cart and dinner plate with diverse, nutrient-dense foods. These items in particular are ready to give your immune system a helping hand.
Research says …
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|salmon||Higher levels of vitamin D may offer protection from developing upper respiratory infections such as colds and flu. Fresh or canned salmon is one of the few reliable dietary sources of vitamin D.||Use fresh or canned wild salmon in soups, salads, tacos, burgers, sandwiches, and pasta dishes.|
|kefir||Probiotics, friendly critters found in fermented foods such as kefir, may lessen the risk of coming down with the sniffles or reduce the severity and duration of symptoms.||Blend into smoothies, use in pancake and waffle batter, pour onto granola, or use for creamy salad dressings.|
|pumpkin seeds||Zinc, a mineral that pumpkin seeds have in spades, plays a vital role in immunity. Consuming zinc when you’re under the weather may help slash the duration of symptoms.||Toss onto salads, oatmeal, yogurt, soups, and roasted vegetables.|
|kiwi||A single kiwi supplies more than a day’s requirement for vitamin C, along with other potent antioxidants that may keep your immunity in tip-top shape.||Use in smoothies, parfaits, salsas, fruit salads, and DIY jams.|
|white button mushrooms||May enhance the activity of cells critical to the proper functioning of the body’s immune system.||Include in stir-fries, soups, pasta dishes, veggie burgers, egg dishes such as frittatas and scrambles, and homemade pizza.|
|barley||A soluble fibre in barley (and oats) called beta-glucan could rev up your immune response when sick to shorten the duration of symptoms. Whole grains such as barley may also improve your gut microbiome to bolster immunity.||Add to soups, grain bowls, salads, burritos, stuffed peppers, and pilafs.|
When dealing with a cold or flu it’s important to drink plenty of fluids, such as water, tea, and smoothies. Extra fluids may help ease sore throat symptoms. And if you’re battling a fever, drinking beverages replaces fluids lost through higher sweat rates.