Foods to help fight infection

Foods to help fight infection

Foods to help fight infection

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Last month, I discussed foods to help protect you against the common cold and flu, but unfortunately no matter how healthy you are, sometimes getting sick is inevitable.

So is there anything you can eat to help fight the common cold to relieve you of the symptoms faster?

A cold can be triggered by any number of viruses, and causes inflammation of the lining of the nose, throat and sinuses resulting in a blocked or runny nose and a sore throat, with or without a cough.

Flu is a viral infection producing these same symptoms but is worse, and on occasions can be fatal, particularly for those with compromised immune systems, elderly and young children.

We want foods that can target and ease these symptoms and boosts the immune system.

Last month we talked about the benefits of almonds, berries, broccoli, garlic, etc. being excellent inclusions in your diet as they contain antioxidants and also play an important role in strengthening the immune system.

When you have a cold or flu, the key food nutrients to look out for are zinc and vitamin C. Both these nutrients are excellent for strengthening the immune system, and when consumed regularly, they can reduce the duration and severity of cold and flu symptoms.

The top sources of zinc include:

  • Oysters
  • Lean red meat and offal
  • Fortified cereals and wheatgerm
  • Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds
  • Cashew nuts
  • Spinach
  • Legumes

The body more readily absorbs animal sources of zinc when you have a cold or flu, but regular consumption of plant-based sources of zinc is excellent for prevention and more healthful than excess consumption of animal products.

The top sources of Vitamin C include:

  • Papaya
  • Chilli
  • Capsicum
  • Kale, broccoli and other dark green leafy vegetables
  • Kiwifruit
  • Berries, and
  • Citrus fruits

Consuming these foods regularly will provide the body with vital nutrients at any time, but particularly during cold and flu season to speed your recovery and duration of the illness.