This is a synopsis of an article re-published in TIME magazine.
There are no magic cures for the flu, but you can ensure you maintain proper hydration and sustenance to minimize your discomfort and potentially speed up your recovery time. Here are some foods and drinks that will combat your flu symptoms:
“Staying hydrated is the most important thing when you have the flu, especially if you’re running a fever and sweating, or you’re having trouble keeping food down.” ~ Nutritionist Jessica Crandall, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
In addition to drinking enough water, beverages enriched with electrolytes can replenish your sodium and potassium stores. Try to avoid sugary sports drinks, opting for coconut water or low/no sugar electrolyte drink.
“The flu usually involves upper respiratory symptoms, and drinking warm or hot liquids can help open airways. It may also feel better to drink than room-temperature water.” ~ Rena Zelig, assistant professor of nutritional sciences at Rutgers University
Drinking tea can be a comforting way to stay hydrated. Sipping slowly helps to open nasal passages, too. Zelig recommends adding honey to soothe sore throats.
Chicken noodle soup
This age-old remedy remains tried and true. The broth replenishes lost sodium as well as nourishes the body with necessary vitamins and minerals. The chicken offers protein that helps to strengthen the body during the healing process. Scientists maintain that the aroma of the soup clears nasal passages and helps white blood cells work efficiently.
Beans or peas
If you’re not in the mood for chicken, there are several alternative sources of protein including plant-based proteins such as beans and peas. They can be added to many nutritious soups and stews and are easily digestible.
Fruits and vegetables
The antioxidants in fruits and vegetables are your first defense of protection from acute illness and chronic diseases. Remember, there’s no magic fix, but making sure to eat fresh while you’re sick will help strengthen your immune system. Eat bold and bright colors like peppers, oranges and berries.
Sometimes when you’re sick, even chewing is tedious — so drink your antioxidants instead! Orange juice is a good source of vitamin C, which can shorten the length of illness. However, the body can only absorb a certain about of vitamin C so don’t overdo it. Water down your juice (4 ounces of juice to 16 ounces of water) — this will reduce the calorie and sugar content and help you remain hydrated.
Zinc is a mineral that assists in the fight against infection and reduces the length of the common cold. Crandall suggests eating three ounces of beef, which contains 7mgs of zinc (half the recommended daily amount for adults). Beef is also chalked full of protein and vitamin B, essential nutrients for healing.
The BRAT diet
Some people may experience gastrointestinal discomfort when they’re ill. In that case, there’s the go-to BRAT diet: bananas, rice, applesauce and toast, they are soothing, filling and simple to prepare.
Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory and helps relieve nausea and other stomach ailments. Foods and beverages with ginger have been effective remedies for those who have motion sickness or morning sickness and can be helpful with flu related GI symptoms. Although a bottle of ginger ale can be tempting, it is not recommended during illness due to its high sugar content. Instead, you can infuse water with ginger or look for ginger tea at the supermarket.
“When you have the flu, you also want to aim for foods that will boost your energy levels—and B vitamins are a big part of that,” says Zelig.
Eggs, meat, shellfish and dairy contain Vitamin B12, but these heavy options may not be the most appealing when they’re ill. Instead, fortified grains such as bread and breakfast cereal can satiate your Vitamin B needs.
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