How To Help Your Body Fight The Flu With Diet

Armen Hareyan's picture

Influenza or flu is a viral infection that affects the respiratory system. It can affect anyone, particularly as the flu seasonis approaching, but young children, older adults and those with a compromised immune system are most vulnerable. Symptoms of flu are similar as to that of colds like runny nose, sore throat and sneezing. However, people with flu may feel much worse because it can accompany fever, chills, headaches, dry cough, fatigue and weakness. Some children with the flu may also have diarrhea and vomiting.

Doctors may recommend some interventions to combat the flu, but there are ways that can be done at home, in order to attain a speedy recovery. Since your body is trying to battle flu symptoms, it is important to consciously consume the foods that can help boost your immunity. After all, a healthy immune system can help prevent or fight infections.

Proteins are important because it can strengthen your body. The Food and Drug Administration recommends that adults consume 50 grams of protein each day. Pregnant and nursing women may even need more protein daily. It is particularly good for people with the flu because high in protein foods, also contain Vitamins B6 and B12. These vitamins are good immune system boosters. Rich sources of protein include poultry, lean meat, fish, legumes, dairy, eggs, and nuts. You can also eat turkey, beans, spinach, potatoes and enriched cereal grains because these are good sources of Vitamin B6.

Research has also shown that flavonoids found in some fruits can also help in the immune system response. Flavonoids can be found grapefruit, lemons, oranges and limes. It may also be wise to eat watermelon because it contains glutathione. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant and it can help strengthen the immune system. It can also be found in food items such as broccoli, cabbage and collards.


Chicken soup is also very good for people with the flu. Research has shown that chicken soup can help reduce symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections. Thus, chicken soup can help boost one’s immunity and help ward off infection faster. It is also necessary to increase your fluid intake. However, try to stay away from dairy products like milk because it may increase mucus production. Aside from that, it may worsen symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting.

Since vomiting may occur with the flu, increasing your fluid intake is necessary. Orange juice is good because it is a rich source of Vitamin C and folic acid. These nutrients are essential to promote a speedy recovery. You may also increase your fluid intake by consuming Gatorade, ginger ale, clear broths, ice pops and gelatin. Try to take in small amounts at intervals. If you are able to tolerate it, gradually increase the amount of fluid you take in. Warm drinks should also be preferred over cold drinks because it can help in opening congested airways.

Some individuals with the flu may also have diarrhea. It is then important not to consume foods, which may aggravate your upset stomach. Try to stick with clear liquids first in order to allow your stomach to settle. As your condition will improve, you can try general liquids then the BRAT diet. It is short for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. The BRAT diet is good for your stomach because it can easily be digested.

Many individuals including children get the flu because it is very common. In order to prevent its occurrence, immunizations are necessary. To add to that, it is also wise to maintain a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, and plenty of rest and exercise. Most of the time, it is better to prevent an illness from occurring than to suffer its myriad of symptoms.

Written by Jane Heiza Heiza and used under Creative Commons.


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A good diet seems to show that you will recover from the flu much faster. I think it is better to just fight off the flu then getting immunized if you are healthy. Immunization only works some of the time because some years the flu strain is not matched properly. Many people have an impression if they get immunized that they will not get the flu. This is really not the case. Sanjib Sarkar
Historical Facts Believed To Be Associated With Influenza: The last influenza pandemic that occurred in the United States was nearly 100 years ago, and this deadly outbreak resulted in about 50 million deaths worldwide. The pandemic that occurred before this one happened about thirty years before the 1918 flu. Influenza epidemics typically occur about every 8 months or so. Influenza is caused by a virus, which is a parasite that needs a host to survive and reproduce. It was called the Spanish Flu because the first human case was identified there. The pandemic ended up killing more than those that died during WWI. Understandably there was panic among people worldwide, as influenza was not discovered until 1933, so the mystery was rather frightening of what was happening. Those who survived have allowed others to obtain antibodies from them to develop other antibodies for future viral outbreaks that may occur with this type of virus. This last influenza pandemic also allowed others to obtain this virus from those who died as a result to facilitate effective treatments and vaccines for viral outbreaks that may happen in the future as well. The virus responsible for the 1918 pandemic was an avian influenza. Nearly 700,000 people in the U.S. died as the result of the Spanish Flu- and those that did die was due often to a bacterial pneumonia that followed the viral invasion and damage. Ultimately, this pandemic killed nearly 3 percent of humans infected. Normally, an influenza strain may kill less than one percent of those infected. The Spanish Flu caused an unusually severe immune response in the human host which made it very deadly due to overkill of the cells of this host. The influenza viruses are categorized as A, B, and C. The Influenza A virus is the one that historically has caused pandemics that have developed-, such as the Spanish Flu Pandemic. The other influenza pandemics primarily have occurred in countries in Asia. With influenza, it is understood that the disease influenza is a disease caused by a RNA virus that can infect both mammals and birds. In fact, this particular virus can mutate to where it can be shared between the two life forms and multiply within each one of them. Unlike coryza, influenza expresses symptoms more severely, and usually lasts two weeks until one recovers who has the flu. Influenza, however, poses a danger to some with compromised immune systems, such as the chronically ill, so the recommendation is greater in such populations, along with women who may be pregnant during the flu season, residents of nursing homes or chronic care facilities. Health care personnel are encouraged to get the flu vaccine as well. Such populations allow influenza to progress to deadly pneumonia. Symptoms of influenza usually start to express themselves symptomatically about two days or so after being infected with the virus. Over 10 percent of the population is infected with this virus every year- resulting in about 200,000 hospitalizations and nearly 40,000 deaths. This season’s first influenza case was identified in Delaware in November of 2008, and it was a type B influenza strain. The flu vaccination is trivalent- meaning it contains three viral strains of suspected viruses for flu outbreaks during a particular winter season, as determined by the World Health Organization, as well as the Centers for Disease Control, and other organizations. Unfortunately, the influenza vaccine administered last flu season was largely ineffective due to unsuspected strains of the virus infecting others, although about 140 million injections of this vaccine were administered. After giving the vaccination dose to one, it takes about 10 days for that person to build up the immunity for the disease of influenza. The months of October to December are recommended to receive this vaccine. And the vaccine is about 50 percent effective in offering protection from influenza, according to others. Vaccines are a catalyst for antibody production in humans, which protect them against the virus. Influenza vaccines can be given by injection or nasally. Anti-virals, on the other hand, decrease greatly the ability for viruses to reproduce once established in a human. The Avian influenza that many have heard of is potentially the next flu pandemic- as humans have no immunity to what is called the H5N1 virus- on of about 1 strains of avian Influenza. For an Influenza pandemic to occur, which means a global disease existence, the virus must emerge from another species to humans without immunity, as well as the ability to make more humans ill than normal. Also, the virus must be highly contagious for a pandemic to occur. The H5N1 virus appears to replicate in the human GI tract and also has a longer incubation period in humans, one to two weeks, compared with other influenza strains. The H5N1 Avian influenza virus seems to have become progressively more pathogenic in the past decade, according to others. With the Avian Influenza existing with the H5N1 strain, millions of birds have been slaughtered due to the danger and unpredictability of this strain. The first human case infected with this strain occurred in China in 1997. The first human avian flu case outside of China was identified in 2003 in the Netherlands. The first recorded incidence of human-to-human transmission of the H5N1 virus was in Thailand in 2004. In 2006, it was discovered that the H5N1 had split into two separate strains. There have been outbreaks of Avian flu in about 15 countries in the world so far- with Indonesia being the worst. Migratory birds spread this influenza virus between continents. The pathogenic strength of the H5N1 strain varies due to constant re-assortment or switching of genetic material between the viruses- essentially creating a hybrid of what it was before this occurs. So far, about 300 people worldwide have been infected with this strain- and about half have died from the infection. Vaccinations are being developed and reformulated constantly at this time due to the pandemic threat of the H5N1 Influenza virus. Yet, the normal flu season that is now occurring was supplied with 150 million vaccines in the United States. However, some studies have shown that this vaccine is rather ineffective based on incidences of the acquisition of the influenza virus by others anyway. The influenza season peaks between the months of January and March. The vaccine for this influenza season is manufactured by 6 different companies. Yet the strains chosen are speculated influenza viruses, as this does not eliminate the chance of a new and dominant influenza viral strain that possibly could cause a pandemic. It takes manufacturers about 6 months to make and formulate the influenza vaccination. There is a vaccine for this illness that is produced every year according to which type of virus may be prevalent during a particular flu season. If influenza occurs in a human host, the results may be the patient acquiring pneumonia or meningitis. The presence of influenza can be widespread in certain states, yet not others. The vaccination is recommended to be administered to those who are at high risk, such as the chronically ill. Also, it is recommended that those under 18 years of age get the vaccine, as well as those people over the age of 50. Furthermore, those people who regularly take aspirin should receive the vaccine, as the influenza disease can become a catalyst for what is called Reye’s Syndrome. Pregnant women should receive the vaccine as well- as there are many other vaccines available to fortunately prevent other diseases, perhaps. Dan Abshear