What to Eat When You Have the Flu

Learn the best foods to fight, treat, and beat a cold or the flu.

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Try: chicken soup

Try: chicken soupiStock/subjug
Grandma’s favorite remedy contains cysteine, a compound that helps thin mucus and relieve congestion. A serving may also reduce inflammation in the lungs. This is why doctors love chicken soup as a cold remedy.

Try: yogurt

Try: yogurtiStock/Carlos Gawronski
Cool, creamy yogurt and other dairy products are rich in zinc, which supports the immune system.

Try: citrus and berries

Try: citrus and berriesiStock/Vitalina Rybakova
Vitamin C won’t prevent colds, but studies show that eating foods rich in it may get you back to normal more quickly. It also has a slight antihistaminic effect, which may reduce nasal symptoms.

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Try: spices

Try: spicesiStock/phive2015
Garlic, turmeric, hot peppers, and other strong flavorings can help break up nasal and sinus congestion.

Try: red meat and oysters

Try: red meat and oysters iStock/Pavlo_K
Choose these for your protein; they’re good sources of zinc.

Don't try: alcohol

Don't try: alcoholiStock/pjohnson1
While you should drink lots of fluids when fighting a cold or flu, abstain from alcohol. Wine, beer, and liquor dilate small blood vessels, which makes the sinuses feel stuffed up and reduces the body’s ability to fight infection.

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