As the saying goes, you are what you eat
Middle Eastern winters might not be as harsh as other parts of the world, but that doesn’t mean we are immune to the common cold or seasonal influenza. During winter, the body’s immune system is weakened due to the variation in temperature between inside and outside, which gives bugs and viruses an opportunity to invade. Of course, one of the best ways to protect yourself is by getting the flu vaccination, but fortifying your immune system doesn’t end at the doctor’s office. You can also help protect your body by stocking up on these cold and flu fighting foods.
Oranges are packed with vitamin C, an essential nutrient when you’re feeling under the weather. In the ‘70s, Dr. Terence Anderson at the University of Toronto published a number of studies that suggested that taking the FDA-recommended daily dose of vitamin C (about 90 milligrams) could also shorten the duration of a cold by a day.
Garlic has built a reputation for being one of the best cold-curing foods, and for good reason. The vegetable has anti-viral and anti-microbial proprieties, and is most effective when eaten raw. For colds and flus, it also provides decongestant and expectorant effects.
When it comes to treating a common cold, ginger is one of the best foods for relief. Herbalists in China have been prescribing it for centuries as they claim it can miraculously cure colds, relieve headaches, negate nausea, and even improve circulation.
Boccoli contains almost double the level of vitamin C than oranges and should be consumed regularly to help ward off colds, according to research undertaken in Spain. Researchers also claim that sulforaphane, a chemical in the vegetable, switches on antioxidant genes and enzymes in specific immune cells, which combat free radicals in your body and prevent you from getting sick.
Greek yogurt is filled with sickness-fighting probiotics and is packed with more protein than regular yogurt. The live cultures in Greek yoghurt also help promote a strong immune system as the good bacteria keeps the bad bacteria from increasing in numbers.
Fatty fish such as salmon is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids which are needed to synthesize the structures of the immune system including skin, membranes, cells and antibodies. Salmon is also contains zinc, a nutrient that has been proven to assist with reducing common cold symptoms.
- Words by Gracie Stewart