7-Day Menu for Cold and Flu Season
Foods to Boost Immunity, Help Healing, and Fight Coughing
Tuna and canola oil contribute anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Higher intakes of plant omega-3s and possibly fish may reduce the risk of pneumonia, according to a new study. The yogurt contributes a daily dose of immune-supporting probiotic.
The hot coffee and tea and the broth or miso soup will have soothing effects on the throat and sinuses. Fluids also help with hydration, keeping mucus as thin and fluid as possible.
Day 4: Meals for Cold and Flu Season
Breakfast: Oatmeal made with low-fat milk or light soy milk (fortified with vitamin D) and topped with ground flaxseed, walnuts, or pecans and frozen berries, served with a cup of freshly brewed hot green or black tea or coffee.
Lunch: Bean burrito made with a whole grain tortilla, black or pinto beans, reduced-fat cheese, and chopped tomato and onions and spiced up with taco sauce, served with fresh mango, papaya, or cantaloupe and a cup of freshly brewed hot green tea.
Dinner: Spaghetti made with mushroom-and-garlic marinara and whole wheat spaghetti noodles, served with steamed cauliflower and a glass of nonfat or low-fat milk.
Caffeine from tea or coffee can act like antihistamine in the body, says Leopold, a doctor who practices integrative medicine. But the tea and coffee need to be of high quality and freshly brewed. The milk from breakfast and dinner will contribute a dose of vitamin D, which has a key role in the immune system. “People don’t get enough vitamin D, particularly during the flu season,” Leopold says.
The whole grain servings from the oatmeal, tortilla, and spaghetti noodles deliver good amounts of several minerals important to the immune system -- selenium, zinc, and iron. The beans add folic acid and selenium. Mango, papaya, and orange are all great sources of two key vitamins -- vitamin A and C -- and cauliflower contributes folic acid and vitamin C.
The spaghetti dish has three ingredients benefiting the immune system, besides the whole grain noodles. Mushrooms are thought to stimulate the body’s natural killer cells, garlic appears to have antibacterial and antiviral effects, and the tomato-based marinara is rich in many high-powered antioxidants, including vitamins A and C.
Anti-inflammatory omega-3s are found in the walnuts and ground flaxseed.
Hot liquids are soothing and have some antiviral activity, Leopold says. Just breathing in the steam from the hot tea or coffee can be helpful.
The hot pepper sauce in the burrito -- along with other “hot” spices like cayenne, wasabi, or horseradish -- all help cold symptoms temporarily by getting the sinuses running.
Day 5: Meals for Cold and Flu Season
Breakfast: A bowl of Raisin Bran (or another whole grain breakfast cereal fortified with iron and vitamin D) with low-fat or skim milk or light soy milk (fortified with vitamin D), two soy-based sausage links, and a cup of freshly brewed green tea or coffee.