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Five foods that help prevent the flu

10/19/2017, 3:35 p.m.
Getting a vaccine is not the only way to protect yourself from the flu. What you eat every day can ...
Medicine CDC/ Debora Cartagena acquired from Public Health Image Library

Getting a vaccine is not the only way to protect yourself from the flu. What you eat every day can also protect you from getting sick. That is why local physicians with American Family Care are advising families during National Flu Prevention Week to add five flu fighting foods to their grocery lists. 

American Family Care, the nation’s leading urgent care provider with a local facility, is launching National Flu Prevention Week Oct. 23, ahead of what AFC doctors anticipate could be a doozy of a flu season. Hurricanes and wildfires have disrupted lives, keeping people in close quarters spreading germs and preventing access to medical care and doctors, and that could make flu cases skyrocket over the next few months.    

AFC physicians are urging patients everywhere to not only get vaccinated by the end of October, but to also frequently wash their hands and take steps to keep their immune systems strong by including flu fighting foods in their diet.

Five flu-fighting foods are the following:

Garlic  

Garlic contains allicin, a compound that is known to boost immunity. You can either crush, slice or chew garlic for it to produce properties that can build up immunity to viruses that cause the common cold or flu.

Chicken soup    

For years, mothers around the world have put a bowl of chicken soup in front of their sick children. A study published in the American Journal of Therapeutics supports the maternal instinct to “feed a cold.” The research found most chicken soup recipes include a compound called carnosine, which can mobilize the immune system to fight the early stages of flu. Just watch sodium content of soup; too much salt can cause dehydration.

Fish 

Fresh salmon, tuna and even trout are solid choices to get a beneficial dose of omega-3 fatty acids. A study by researchers at Michigan State University found omega-3s can increase activity of white blood cells that fight flu by destroying bacteria. It’s a good idea to eat fish two to three times a week during cold and flu season.

Whole grains

Whole grains are good for your gut during flu season. Why? They include brown rice, oats and buckwheat, which help build healthy bacteria in your stomach, plus whole grains are loaded with zinc, an immune system booster.

Fruits and vegetables

A substance found in a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, including red onions, grapes and broccoli, was found to reduce the likelihood of flu in mice in a study published by The American Physiological Society. Quercetin has shown to have anti-viral properties in other studies as well.

AFC physicians say making lifestyle adjustments, such as to your diet, paired with getting the flu shot can boost your chances of avoiding illness over the next few months. “This flu season could be tricky,” said Dr. Jeremy Allen, regional medical director for American Family Care, “Millions of people have been affected by the recent hurricanes and wildfires. These disasters have thrown off their routines. Many of these people may still be waiting to get their flu shots, plus they have been in confined areas, like in shelters, or staying with relatives while their homes are repaired. We all need to take the time to protect ourselves, get vaccinated and make sure we wash our hands frequently—to cut down on spreading germs.”  

Throughout AFC’s National Flu Prevention Week (Oct. 23 to Oct. 29) flu vaccines will be $15 or less at AFC clinics in your area and across the country.