How to minimize your risk of catching flu through diet

Usually the best defense against seasonal flu is a flu shot, but if you consume these immune boosting foods it won’t hurt either.  We all know diet plays a crucial role in your defense against diseases like cancer, heart disease etc., so by boosting your immune system this winter season you minimize your risk of catching the flu and prevent getting sick, really sick.


Grab these foods next time you’re in your favorite supermarket

  • Tomato Soup

Remember the days when you used to take some chicken-noodle-soup to your boyfriend/girlfriend?  Well, that was for when you already HAVE a cold, to fight back.  To prevent you from catching flu in the first place, grab some Tomato soup.  The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study that showed how a group of 10 individuals on a Tomato rich diet sustained 38 percent less damage to their infection-fighting white blood cells due to free radicals, as opposed to their non-tomato counterparts.   Reason?  The red pigment in tomatoes; lycopene, acts as a powerful cancer fighter and anti-oxidant.



  • Yoghurt

Through the help of a recent study, Yoghurt has now earned its place among the list of health

Foods for good.  In a study of 60 people from the University of California, they ate live cultured Yoghurt each day, a cup of pasteurized Yoghurt each day, and no Yoghurt at all.  The lasted for a year and the results showed that the people who ate either kind of Yoghurt had a lower incidence of coughing, colds and wheezing.


  • A Sports drink

This will not only protect your body from the latest strain of flu, but will also help you  recover faster.  10 Tri-athletes drank more than one cup of a sports drink every fifteen minutes during intense exercise, and they had a significantly higher immune response  than those who took placebos.  The reason for this is during intense exercise your body releases a stress hormone called cortisol , and increasing your carbohydrate intake may  combat this.


  • Chilli Peppers

When the compound that makes chilies hot- capsaicin- was give to mice, they had more than three times more antibody-producing cells than those given no capsaicin. This means that the more anti-bodies you have the less your chances of colds and infections.  This tends to lead researchers to believe that consuming food containing hot components like capsaicin boosts your immune system.


  • Brazil Nuts

The Archives of Internal Medicine published data that states each and every Brazilian nut contains about 100 micrograms of selenium.  This means that eating nuts will help you combat respiratory infection.  They gave 725 elderly subjects either a supplement containing Vitamins A, C and E; a mineral supplement containing 100 micrograms of selenium, a combination of the two; or a placebo every day for 2 years.  The subjects who took the straight mineral supplement had fewer respiratory infections than the rest.  So in essence, a deficiency in selenium hinders your body’s disease fighting performance.


  • Don’t go too lean

If you follow a low-fat diet it will keep your heart and your immune system healthy.  A low fat diet means 25% of total kilojoules.  But…less than 10 percent of kilojoules (very low fat diet), might result in deficiency of omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids, which can markedly impair the body’s ability to make new cells to combat infections.



Author: Shaun De Kock

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