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Eating Right When Battling the Flu: Your Nutritional Shield

Flu symptoms can range from mild discomfort to severe debilitation. While rest and hydration are vital pillars of recovery, equipping yourself with the right nutrients can help fortify your defenses, hasten healing, and ease symptoms. Here’s your detailed guide to eating and drinking right when the flu hits.

1. Alleviating Flu Symptoms Through Nutrition:

Broth-Based Soups:

Benefits: Warm soups, especially chicken soup, can be comforting. They help reduce inflammation in the throat and clear nasal congestion due to the steam and amino acid cysteine present in the chicken. Recipe Tip: Opt for homemade chicken soup with added garlic and ginger for an immunity boost.


Benefits: Packed with compounds like allicin, garlic offers potent antiviral properties, helping combat the flu virus. Serving Suggestion: Crushed garlic in warm lemon water can be a potent drink. You can also add minced garlic to your soups.


Benefits: Beyond its anti-inflammatory prowess, ginger contains bioactive molecules that help curb nausea and digestive distress. Recipe Tip: Grate fresh ginger into hot water, sweeten with honey, and enjoy a soothing tea.

Leafy Greens:

Benefits: These greens are a powerhouse of vitamins, especially vitamin C, and antioxidants, aiding immune system functionality. Serving Suggestion: Lightly sauté greens in olive oil and garlic or blend them into a smoothie.

Vitamin C Rich Fruits:

Benefits: This vitamin promotes white blood cell formation, vital soldiers against infections. Serving Suggestion: Whip up a smoothie with oranges, strawberries, and kiwi. If you’re up for it, add a touch of ginger!

Oatmeal & Bananas:

Benefits: Both are easy on an upset stomach. Bananas replenish electrolytes, especially potassium, which aids in muscle function and hydration. Recipe Tip: Cook oats in almond milk and top with banana slices and a drizzle of honey.

2. Liquid Assets: Staying Hydrated

Herbal Teas:

Benefits: They’re calming, hydrating, and certain varieties like peppermint can ease digestion. Serving Suggestion: Brew a pot of chamomile before bedtime to aid in relaxation and sleep.

Electrolyte Solutions:

Benefits: These solutions are critical when the flu causes diarrhea or vomiting, helping restore lost electrolytes. Serving Suggestion: Over-the-counter electrolyte solutions or a homemade blend of water, salt, and sugar can be beneficial.

3. Building Immunity:

Yogurt, Nuts, Fish, & Poultry:

Each plays a role in bolstering your immune defenses. Probiotics in yogurt maintain gut health, zinc in nuts aids immune function, omega-3s in fish reduce inflammation, and B-6 in poultry aids in new blood cell formation.

A Pillar of Recovery:

Remember, as you nourish your body, complement it with ample rest and hydration. Your body’s defense mechanisms work best when it’s well-rested and hydrated.


While the advice provided aims to guide you nutritionally during the flu, always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and before making significant dietary changes.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2021). Influenza (Flu). Available online
  2. National Institutes of Health (NIH). (2021). Flu. Available online
  3. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Influenza (flu). Available online
  4. WebMD. (2021). Foods to Fight the Flu. Available online
  5. Harvard Health Publishing. (2021). The Flu: What to do if you get sick. Available online
  6. World Health Organization (WHO). (2021). Influenza (seasonal). Available online