Tag Archives: immune system

Foods that Fight Flu

17 May

In our article 13 Ways to Avoid Colds & Flu we mentioned some foods that are great flu fighters. Get your science caps on, because here are the reasons why!


Yoghurt is well-known for its pro-biotic qualities. The key ingredient in preventing flu is Lactobacillus reutri, a pro-biotic that stimulates the white blood cells to fight infection. In a Swedish study, workers who took Lactobacillus reutri were 33% less likely to get sick! So when you buy your next tub of yoghurt, be sure to look for one that has Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidus and L. rhamnosus.


Garlic has several infection-fighting compounds, including allicin, which fights bacteria and acts as a decongestant. Garlic is also believed to act as an antioxidant and destroy free-radicals – the active oxygen molecules that damage cells. Studies have shown that people who take a daily garlic capsule or 12 weeks are two-thirds less likely to catch a cold or flu. And if they did catch a cold, they had it for 3 ½ days less. You don’t need to take this as a supplement. It’s more effective, and a lot tastier, in its food form. It is recommended that you have 1 – 3 cloves of cooked garlic in your food every day.

garlic_food that fights flu


Mushrooms contain 300 compounds (including beta-glucan) that increase immunity and the production of infection-fighting white blood cells. Shiitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms are the best immune boosters, but regular mushrooms will do the trick too.

Fatty Fish

Salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, and other fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids. The two main forms of omega-3, DHA and EPA, benefit the immune system by absorbing nutrients and removing toxins. The acids also increase activity of phagocytes — cells that “eat up” bacteria.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits increase your vitamin C intake. It is recommended that fresh fruit should be eaten on an empty stomach (preferably about 30 minutes before breakfast) to receive the full benefits. The fruit acts as a cleanser and helps rid the body of unnecessary toxins. Grapefruits, tangerines, oranges, lemons, limes and naartjies are examples of great citrus fruits that you can to add to a meal.

citrus fruit_food that fights flu

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potato are one of the most nutritional vegetables. They boast potassium, vitamins A and C, and calcium – all helpful in staying healthy and fighting off cold and flu symptoms.

Brazil Nuts and Almonds

Nuts in general are healthy, but brazil nuts and almonds are great immune boosters! Brazil nuts contain an antioxidant called selenium, and almonds are rich in vitamin E.

Black tea

A Harvard study shows that drinking 5 cups of black tea a day for 2 weeks will turn your immune system T cells into “Hulk Cells” producing 10 times more interferon – a protein that fights colds and flu. You may be glad to know that Green tea works just as well; and you can still enjoy the benefits without drinking as many as 5 cups a day!

Already have a cold or flu?

We don’t have a natural miracle cure, but we can suggest some more healing foods that will boost your immune system and ease some of your symptoms!

chicken soup_food that fights flu

  1. Chicken Soup helps clear clogged airways and will give you vital energy. Add plenty of veggies and garlic for extra nourishment!
  2. Hot and spicy food like horseradish, chilli and spicy sauces can help ease congestion.
  3. Fresh ginger root can soothe coughs, sore throats and fever. Try making ginger tea by adding boiling water to 2 tablespoons of grated ginger and let it brew for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Honey can help suppress your cough and has been known to stop the growth of bacteria. Add some to hot water or a lightly brewed tea.
  5. Vitamin C isn’t only found in citrus fruit. Other foods that are high in vitamin C include green peppers, potatoes, strawberries and pineapple.
  6. Fluids. Stay hydrated with plenty of liquids, especially water and pure fruit juices. Hot beverages like chamomile or peppermint herbal tea, or hot water with a slice of lemon work well too.


A daily routine of skipped meals, lots of caffeine, high-fat and high-sugar junk foods can make you more susceptible colds and flu. So make your diet a priority and eat plenty of whole grains, fruit, vegetables and low-fat protein to strengthen your immune system.

13 Ways to Avoid Colds and Flu

17 May

Capt. Edward A. Murphy and his ridiculously accurate law have struck again. I’m scheduled to write an article on how to avoid colds and flu and I’m now doing so with a box of tissues close at hand! After the last 2 days of dosing myself up with immune boosts & paracetamol, I assure you the best way to deal with a cold or flu is to AVOID, AVOID, AVOID!!

The number 13 is often considered an unlucky number. Let’s hope the following 13 steps will help you avoid colds and flu!

  1. Get a flu vaccine from your local pharmacy, clinic, hospital or GP.
  2. Eat flu-fighting foods like yoghurt, garlic, mushrooms, fatty fish, citrus fruits, sweet potatoes, brazil nuts and almonds, and drink black tea. Learn more about how these foods can fight flu.
  3. Wash your hands often, and don’t touch your nose, eyes or mouth unnecessarily.wash hand to avoid flu
  4. Use your elbows instead of your hands to hit elevator buttons and open public bathroom doors. Try not to touch objects around you when you’re in public places, like the rail of a staircase or escalator.
  5. Disinfect surfaces and items in your household and office, especially counter tops, telephones, computer keyboards, light switches, door handles and remote controls. Make this at least a weekly routine, because germs can stay on surfaces for 3 days!
  6. Use a paper towel at home. Wiping your hands on dish towels will create germ hotspots.
  7. Get the right supplements. Vitamin D, vitamin C, Omega-3 fatty acids, Ginseng and Zinc are all fantastic in fighting flu.
  8. Quit smoking and avoid people who are smoking. Smoke makes you more vulnerable to complications of respiratory infections.
  9. Moderate exercise for 20 – 30 minutes every day (or every other day) will help to increase blood flow, send nutrients to your cells, and decrease the stress hormones. Stress uses up that Vitamin B that is needed by your immune system to fight viruses.
  10. Get at least 7 hours of sleep. Sleep deprivation puts your immune system at risk.sleep to avoid flu
  11. Get social. Research shows that people who are sociable tend to be more positive; causing them to have a strengthened immune system. BUT make sure you are socializing with healthy people!
  12. Minimise exposure to viruses by avoiding close or prolonged contact with people with a cold or flu. Flu has an incubation period of 1 – 4 days and a contagious period of 7 days or longer, so it’s best to avoid any person with flu for at least a week.
  13. “Contain” sneezes and coughs with disposable tissues (and make sure to dispose of them asap!) and wash your hands afterwards. My daughter was taught at school to sneeze and cough into her elbow and not her hand. Not a bad idea!
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