The best food for beating the flu this winter
The tube to work sounds like an symphony of sniffling. You think your chesty cough may have acquired its own chesty cough. And the healthy people in your office live in fear. Stockpiling Lemsip. Wondering when their time will come.
Hello winter. We really haven’t missed you.
And as the chill sets in, rather than reaching for cold and flu tablets, why not get some food instead? Food boosts your immune system to ease symptoms and speed up recovery, but some work better than others.
So to help you out, we’ve rounded up the best food you can eat to beat the flu this winter.
Chicken soup. Not just an old wives' tale.
Your mother was right. Again.
Seen as a remedy for the common cold for hundreds of years, chicken soup is without a doubt one of the best foods to beat the flu. For starters, it's an easy-to-eat source of vitamins, minerals, calories and protein, which your body needs in larger quantities when you're under the weather.
What's more, chicken soup has been found to be more effective at clearing nasal mucus than most other liquids. So if you've been sniffling all over your keyboard and find yourself in desperate need of a decongestant? Chicken soup is about to be your new best friend.
Garlic bread. It's the future for a reason.
We all love throwing in one, two or seven cloves of garlic into the pan when we're cooking at home, but did you know that garlic has been used as a medicine for centuries, too?
That's right. And it's all thanks to a little compound called allicin, which garlic is packed to the rafters with. Never heard of it? Well, allicin blocks enzymes that play a role in bacterial and viral infections, helping you ward off the effects of the dreaded flu and reduce the severity of your symptoms.
The strong smell is also a natural repellent to help you steer clear of other people's germs. But that's just a bonus.
How do you like your eggs in the morning?
Whether you have them scrambled, poached, fried or even thrown into an omelette, eggs are an incredible superfood you need in your life this winter.
Packed full of protein to keep your body at its strongest, eggs also deliver a much-needed dose of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, which all combine to make you feel better, quicker.
And the best bit? Eggs are rich in tryptophan – a protein that helps us produce serotonin, the feel-good hormone that affects our mood. So if you wake up with glands larger than your list of things to do, scramble some eggs as soon as possible.
Turn up the heat to beat your cold.
Pepper. Horseradish. Cumin. Note these down. They may make your eyes water, but when your sinuses and chest are suffering from congestion, these spices are going to be a complete lifesaver.
As natural decongestants, spicy food produces mucus which washes away your bacteria. But stop. Don't just start chugging cayenne pepper straight from your cupboard. Make yourself a hot curry - or even better - order something spicy from one of our traditional Indian restaurants instead. That'll sort you right out.
Go bananas. For bananas.
You already know bananas are rich in potassium. You probably even know that overdosing from the potassium in bananas is basically impossible. But did you know that bananas are basically a miracle fruit?
As well as all that potassium, they contain a protein called banana lectin which is thought to contain a biological barrier to mop up stray viruses so they are rendered harmless.
Scientists at the University of Nottingham are currently testing harnessing the protein so it can be used to fight HIV and ebola. So there's no doubt that bananas can help take care of that pesky cold.