Top 10 Healthy Foods to Fight Cold and Flu - Slideshow
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Flu or common cold is caused by the rhinovirus or the adenovirus. It commonly affects those with low immunity. Common symptoms of flu are sneezing, fever, sore throat and stuffy nose. It is the most common illness, and can spread easily by just inhaling these viruses, especially when around another infected person. It can be prevented and relieved by foods that fight cold.
Onions are one of the best foods for a cold and a natural source of quercetin, a plant flavanol. Quercetin is a well-known antioxidant, which works as an anti-viral and anti-inflammatory agent. These flavanoids are known for suppressing the activity of the rhinovirus. Other sources of quercetin include blueberries, broccoli and green tea.
Ginger is a spice that has been used as a medicine since ancient times in Indian cooking. It is helpful in circulation, and keeping the sinuses clear. Ginger is very effective in treating respiratory complaints owing to the presence of gingerol that acts as potent anti-inflammatory agent. Because it is a natural expectorant, it also helps in expelling mucus and reduces the difficulty in breathing.
Probiotics are living microorganisms that could benefit health if taken in adequate quantities. They are also used as dietary supplement for many gastrointestinal disorders. A research published in Korean Journal of Family Medicine found that probiotics may improve immune function. Yogurt has been a very controversial food product for people who suffer from cold. The research also infers that probiotic yogurt is very effective in treating, as well as preventing infections like common cold. Thus, not only respiratory infections, but also gastric infections can be treated at home by eating a bowl of probiotic yogurt each day.
Honey when added to warm water or hot tea, helps relieve a sore throat instantly. It is a powerful cough suppressant due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory rich compounds. It can be safely given to children above the age of 2 who suffer from recurrent upper respiratory tract infection. It is very necessary to keep oneself hydrated during a cold and hence sipping warm water with honey permits one to drink more water.
Cinnamon, a spice which has also been used as a medicine to treat cold or flu. It adds an aroma to breakfasts, cereals, coffee or tea and works as an anti-flu food. In ancient Indian and Chinese medicine, cinnamon has played a major role in fighting flu due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory alkaloids.
Mushrooms are fungi that are traditionally used for the prevention of several diseases like osteoporosis, hair-fall and respiratory diseases. Its vegetative parts are edible and contain lectin. Shiitake mushrooms are the richest source of lectins. Lectin not only helps in fighting common cold, but has been effectively used to build immunity and prevent cancer and osteoporosis.
This famous weight loss drink is also known as a flu fighter, as it contains antioxidants and catechins, which fight against viruses like adenovirus and certain other influenza viruses. Adding a few drops of lemon juice (rich in vitamin C) in green tea, helps boost immunity.
To fight flu, we need to build immunity. Chicken soup helps to improve immunity as it is full of vitamins and minerals. Proteins and amino acids in chicken help in building muscles, and also, enhance the healing process. Chicken broth has anti-inflammatory properties, which will help fight common cold. A bowl of hot soup is very soothing and comforting during a cold.
In 1958, Louis Pasteur discovered that bacteria die when exposed to garlic. A compound, allicin, found in garlic is said to have not only antiviral, but also antibacterial properties which provide relief from symptoms of flu. It has also shown to have preventive action.
Turmeric is a common yellow colored spice, containing polyphenolic compound curcumin. Curcumin is one of the most potent naturally available antiseptic agent. It is used as a remedy for infections and injuries. Along with antiseptic properties, curcumin is also a powerful anti-inflammatory substance. Thus, it is effective against flu viruses and helps relieve symptoms of common cold. Gargling with warm water containing a pinch of turmeric helps relieve sore throat. Moreover, having a glass of warm milk containing turmeric is also an effective remedy.
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