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Day 4: Meals for Cold and Flu Season continued...

The spaghetti dish has three ingredients that help 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, 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.

Lunch: Grilled cheese sandwich made with whole wheat bread and reduced-fat cheese, served with broth-based onion soup and a cup of grapes.

Dinner: Fish tacos made with corn tortillas or whole wheat flour tortillas, broiled halibut, shredded cabbage, and sautéed bell peppers and onions, with mango or tomato salsa.

How They Help Your Immune System

Raisin Bran is particularly high in iron. Soy-based sausage also adds iron. The milk in the cereal, plus the cereal itself, and the fish in the tacos also contribute a nice dose of vitamin D. The fish adds omega-3s and selenium as well.

Onions are rich in quercetin, a nutrient that might have antihistamine benefits, specifically for nasal congestion. The onion soup has double benefits for cold/flu symptoms -- the quercetin plus the soothing effects of a hot, broth-based soup. 

Day 6: Meals for Cold and Flu Season

Breakfast: Spinach and mushroom omelet made with one higher-omega-3 egg and 1/4 cup egg substitute, served with whole wheat toast and a glass of skim or 1% low-fat milk.

Lunch: Fruit and cheese plate made with assorted low-fat cheeses, whole wheat crackers or sliced whole wheat baguette, and fruit cubes and slices such as apples, cantaloupe, strawberries, etc. Served with a cup of freshly brewed hot tea.