Whether it’s a seasonal cold or some other bug, it’s important to keep soothing, immune-boosting, vitamin-rich foods stocked up in your cabinet and fridge just in case the cooties decide to dance on your doorstep. If you’re not already, you should start taking a multivitamin supplement now so your immune system with be that much stronger when those pesky cooties come knocking.
Depending on the kind of sick you’re feeling, it’s also good to know which foods to avoid when your body is fighting a virus. Processed foods, which typically contain a lot of sugar and dairy, can contribute to mucus build-up. Not that you would want to, but it’s a good idea to avoid alcohol, which also contains a lot of sugar and is known to cause inflammation in your body. If you’re feeling stuffy, eating spicy foods can help loosen mucus and clear your sinuses; however, if you’ve got tummy trouble, spicy foods can make matters worse, causing bloating, stomach pain and nausea, so proceed with caution.
Besides the go-to chicken-noodle soup and hot tea with honey, what about those foods that are equally (or even more so) rich in nutrients and help fend off illness, but aren’t your typical remedies? Below is a list of foods that are rich in nutrients and vitamins known to help speed up the recovery time from cold and flu viruses, and they’re also delicious.
1. Superfruit Smoothies
On your next run to the grocery store, grab a pack of Acai berries from the freezer section. Acai berries are the number one food in the world for antioxidants, which help strengthen your body when it’s fighting off the cold and flu. Throw a cup of berries into a blender or smoothie maker with a tablespoon of flax seed, ice and juice or water; yogurt is also an option for added probiotics. You can also toss in some fresh or frozen strawberries or a mix of your other favorite berries, but note that too many berries might mean too much sugar. If your tummy has you running to the bathroom, add a banana to the mix for added electrolytes and soluble fiber.
Smoothies are especially good if you don’t have much of an appetite. For an added immune boost, try Havasu Nutrition Premium Elderberry Capsules for a superfruit boost without the yucky syrup taste or extra sugar.
2. Ginger for Nausea
Whether it’s rice cooked with fresh ginger, a glass of ginger ale or some ginger tea, if you haven’t already guessed, ginger is a great remedy to relieve nausea. If you’re not in the mood to eat or drink anything, try popping a ginger candy (hard candy and chews). Although they are not as popular in the U.S. as in other countries, you can still find them in local stores like Walmart or Target and they are a quick and convenient way to calm a nauseous stomach. If you choose the hard candy, you can get the benefits of the candy without having to immediately digest the candy, which could further irritate an already upset stomach.
3. Soothe with Cinnamon Tea and Citrus
Hot tea is a natural decongestant, with the added health benefits of being an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Cinnamon has cold-fighting properties as well as analgesic and antifungal properties that support healthy lungs and upper respiratory tract. Adding an orange or lemon slice to a cup of hot cinnamon tea or cinnamon green tea and sipping on it can help soothe a sore throat, relieve congestion and give the added boost of Vitamin C that helps speed recovery from cold and flu.
4. Eat Your Veggies
After a fever, it’s important to replenish your body with foods rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. Dark greens like spinach, kale or romaine lettuce are loaded with antioxidants and help fight inflammation. Avocados are also packed with healthy fats, which also help decrease inflammation and help improve immune function. The first few days getting back to your normal diet can be rough, so it’s a good idea to treat your gut with Havasu Nutrition Prebiotic & Probiotic Capsules and eat smaller portions of food that are easier to digest.
5. Soup-er Healthy
Here’s the thing, if you’re sick, you should eat soup! Easily digestible and a great source of vitamins, minerals, calories and electrolytes, hot soup can help relieve congestion and will help prevent dehydration. Even if you’re not sick, you should eat soup! Soup is like the healthy equivalent to tacos or pizza -- you can make it in just as many ways as Bubba Gump can make shrimp. There’s chicken soup, vegetable soup, potato soup, broccoli cheese soup, lentil soup, tomato soup, French onion soup, collard green soup, Italian wedding soup, matzo ball soup, butternut squash soup, beef and barley soup, split pea soup, miso soup . . . you see? You grab a little of this and a little of that, throw it in a pot and viola: soup!
If you’re eating soup because you’re sick, it’s best to stick with clear broth soups. We did find one recipe that’s loaded with so many immune-boosting ingredients, it’s been coined: Flu Buster Vegetable Soup. Smooth on the tummy, this soup is gluten-free and can easily be modified to accommodate vegan, paleo, Whole 30 and keto diets. Packed with the healing properties of turmeric, ginger, garlic, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and Greek yogurt, it’s no wonder how this soup got its name.
As important as it is to feed your body with nutrient-rich foods, it’s also critical that you stay hydrated, especially with a fever. Clear liquids like broth, Jell-O, tea or water enhanced with electrolytes, will help you get you on the road to recovery. Follow your doctor’s instructions and stay home until you feel you are ready to resume normal activities. Supplementing with a multivitamin like Havasu Nutrition Premium Elderberry Gummies, loaded with black elderberry, antioxidant-packed vitamin C, coconut oil and zinc for metabolic and immune function, can help you recover after a bout with a serious cold or flu.