We hear a lot about flu prevention this time of year, and for good reason. Although the flu season begins in October, flu activity peaks in the wintertime, resulting in about 200,000 hospitalizations a year. Since seniors are at a much higher risk of suffering severe complications from the flu than other age groups, it’s essential that you do everything you can to maintain your health.
Getting an annual flu shot is the best way to prevent getting sick, but other preventative steps include washing your hands, sneezing or coughing into your elbow as opposed to your hands, and --believe it or not --eating a healthy diet!
The common phrase, “you are what you eat,” is actually quite meaningful, especially during flu season. The foods you eat directly impact your overall health, including immune-boosting foods that not only lower your risk of catching the flu, but also serve as great flu remedies should you get sick.
Top 5 Flu-Fighting Foods
While you can’t always guarantee that you will make it through winter without catching the flu, there are certain flu-fighting foods that nip flu symptoms in the bud. The best part is that it’s easy to include these foods in your daily diet thanks to these delicious recipes from MyRecipes.com:
1. Orange Juice
Orange juice is a great source of Vitamin C, which not only helps keeps your immune system in tip-top shape, but it also decreases the duration and severity of your flu symptoms. While drinking orange juice is the easiest way to get your daily dose of Vitamin C, it certainly isn’t the only way! Start your day off right with these healthy and easy-to-make whole-wheat orange juice muffins.
Even though it may be considered more of an acquired taste, the allicin in garlic fights both bacteria and infection and has even been shown to lower the risk of colorectal and stomach cancers. Adding crushed garlic to meals throughout the week will add some additional flavor to your meal and also help keep you healthy. But if you’re feeling sick, you may want to increase your garlic intake. You can start with this chicken recipe, which calls for 40 cloves of garlic, and it is one of the best flu remedies out there that can clear up congestion.
Almonds are one of the healthiest nuts out there as they contain nutrients like fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium and Vitamin E, which fights off diseases. To get these benefits, all you have to do is grab a handful of almonds as a snack, but you can also use them to flavor your favorite dishes. Almonds go great with an Omega 3-rich fish like salmon, and you can even add other flu-fighting foods like garlic to this dish as well.
4. Chicken Soup
Often called “Jewish penicillin,” chicken soup is not only comfort food, but is also one of the best flu remedies since it thins mucus and reduces your symptoms. While there are numerous chicken soup recipes you can choose from, this recipe for dijon chicken stew with potatoes and kale is a filling and flavorful winter meal that will boost your immune system.
It may not get as much credit as chicken soup, but the spice ginger is actually just as effective in easing the most common flu symptoms, including nasal congestion and nausea. There’s lots of dishes you can add a dash of ginger to, but we recommend this recipe for ginger-garlic shrimp. It only takes 15 minutes to make, and the ginger and garlic ingredients will help clear out your nasal passages in no time. If you’re in a pinch for time, you can also make ginger tea. Simply cut off a fresh slice of ginger, add hot water and some honey, and voila! Homemade ginger tea.
When Flu Remedies Aren’t Enough
Even when you make a conscious effort to eat well, these flu-fighting foods aren’t guaranteed to ward off sickness during the winter months. And sometimes when sickness hits you it can have grave side effects that may even warrant a visit to the hospital.
If you live alone, you no longer have to worry about not having access to help if you get sick. When you have a Medical Guardian medical alert system on hand, you have access to 24/7 monitoring services, so a reassuring hand will always be there to help you when you need it.