What to Eat When You Have the Flu

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

from Reader's Digest Magazine | February 2013

Try: Chicken Soup

Grandma’s favorite remedy contains cysteine, a compound that helps thin mucus and relieve congestion. A serving may also reduce inflammation in the lungs.

Try: Yogurt

Cool, creamy yogurt and other dairy products are rich in zinc, which supports the immune system.

Try: Citrus and Berries

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.

Try: Spices

Garlic, turmeric, hot peppers, and other strong flavorings can help break up nasal and sinus congestion.

Try: Red Meat and Oysters

Choose these for your protein; they’re good sources of zinc.

Don't Try: Alcohol

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.

Foods that harm, foods that heal!

Food can do more than keep you healthy. Like the best modern medicines, it can also help heal what ails you. To update our top-selling book (more at rd.com/foodsthatheal), we reviewed decades of research to help separate myths from facts and help you get the right diet as a prescription for better health.

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