Flu Fighters and Cold Combatants

In a matter of two days last week, Ithaca College’s Hammond Health Center confirmed 25 cases of influenza. I can only assume that the number of bed-ridden students is climbing – since I am currently in my pajamas, drinking chicken broth, wrapped in an electric blanket. I have been claimed by the Ithaca Plague.

The flu is a heartless beast, rendering undeserving people helpless, hoping that maybe a friend will care enough to make them a cup of green tea. If only, if only…

So how can you combat this invisible terror? With food. Yes, food. I have not lost sight of my biggest passion, although it’s been hard to ingest anything. However, these foods are designed for even the most irritable of sick people.

1. Almonds

I’m really not kidding you here. Almonds are packed with vitamin E, an antioxidant that will boost your immune system. They’re also a super source of copper and manganese, which are vital components of superoxide dismutase, which keeps our hearts pumping and gives us the energy we need. Snack on these nuts raw or add them to your morning oatmeal. Keep in mind that I’m not a doctor by any means, but you can see all the health benefits of almonds here.

2. Garlic

Think of the flu as a vampire, sucking away your livelihood. This stinky root will scare the sick out of you. The flu is braver than a vampire though, so you can’t just wear a string of garlic around your neck. You actually have to ingest it. Chop it finely to put in chicken soup, chili, or other hot foods. Another thing you can do is simply wrap a head of garlic in aluminum foil with butter and olive oil and bake it until it become soft. Mash it with a spoon and use it as a spread on bread. If the odor is too strong for your taste, cut it down with some freshly cracked black pepper. This method was developed by The Stinking Rose, a California-based steakhouse that specializes in all things garlic.

3. Chicken Soup

Perhaps the most obvious go-to, chicken soup is no joke. Your mother wasn’t crazy to force it down your throat when you were little. The heat of the soup will sooth a sore throat and warm up your nasal cavity, where nasty viruses tend to thrive.

4. Sweet Potatoes

Actually, anything orange. Beta-carotene will neutralize harmful toxins and boost the immune system through the roof. Stock up on carrots, squash, pumpkin, eggs and cantaloupe, which are also a great source of organic compound. If your skin turns orange, don’t panic. Nothing bad will happen. You’re already sick, so no one in public will see you looking like an oompa loompa.

5. Hot Tea

Tea has the same effects as any other hot liquid when it comes to the flu. Viruses mostly thrive in cold, damp places of the body like the nose and throat, so flush them out with a wave of warmth. The antioxidants in especially green, black and white teas will also boost the immune system and get you back on your feet as soon as possible.

So join me, fellow sicklies: kick back, relax, watch some Netflix, catch up on homework, and consume any of these super foods, and you should be feeling better in no time.

For other food cures, check out David Grotto’s book 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life. 

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One thought on “Flu Fighters and Cold Combatants

  1. Great tips on how to fight the flu or a cold! I never realized some of these foods could help so much. I really enjoyed reading this post because your “writing voice” is so engaging!

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