6 Plant Foods to Eat When You Have the Flu & No Appetite

According to the latest update from the CDC, flu season is hitting us hard with the number of people seeking care for flu-like illnesses reaching ever so close to the levels reached during the 2009-2010 swine flu epidemics. In week 3, the proportion of people visiting healthcare providers for flu-like sicknesses was 6.6% (national baseline is 2.2%).

Flu Season Chart by CDC

If we look at Google Trends and segment flu-related search interest by metro region, the southeast region appear to be hit harder than other parts of the country.

Flu Symptoms by US Region

So how can you best protect yourself from the flu, especially if you have a low appetite? Well, the food you eat won’t fully prevent you from getting the flu but it can certainly reduce the chances by helping you maintain a strong immune system. With that in mind, here is a list of fruits and vegetables to include in your diet to help fend off the flu.

What to Eat When You Have the Flu

Food to Eat When You Have the Flu

1. Garlic
Garlic contains allicin, which has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties 1. Allicin is also responsible for giving garlic its unique smell. Garlic is a good flu-fighting ingredient for people with little to no appetite because it can be used in so many ways. For example, you can use it in a light omelet or even make a low-calorie soup out of it.

2. Spinach
Spinach and other dark leafy greens (e.g. kale, broccoli) are great for boosting the immune system. Spinach, for example, is packed with a wide variety of vitamins including vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin B-6. According to one study, vitamin c deficiency is associated with immune system defects 2. People with no appetite could consider including spinach in an omelet or cook sautéed spinach with garlic and lemon.

3. Ginseng
According to one study, ginseng, specifically red ginseng extract, could help prevent influenza by reducing the expression of genes that cause inflammation 3. Ginseng extract makes a good flu remedy for people with no appetite because it can be consumed as a supplement or as tea.

4. Elderberry
Elderberries have been used as a form of medicine for thousands of years. According to one study, people who consume elderberries have higher levels of antibodies against the influenza virus 4. Elderberry can be consumed as as supplement (available in the form of capsules and syrup).

5. Strawberry
Oranges are typically viewed as the golden standard for vitamin-C rich food. If you, however, don’t like the taste of citrus fruits then consider having strawberries instead. Ounce for ounce, strawberries actually have a slightly higher vitamin C content than oranges 5. Vitamin C is not something that the human body can produce so we need to replenish it regularly with external sources like fruits and vegetables.

6. Oregano
Oregano, specifically oregano oil, contains a number of compounds that can give your immune system a boost. One example is carvacrol, a compound that contains anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties 6. Oregano oil is typically sold as a supplement and can be consumed in several ways. People with no appetite may find it easier to consume oregano oil as a capsule.

When consuming any herbal or plant-based supplements, be sure to follow the instructions provided in the product labeling. People with some form of medical history (e.g. allergies) should also consult with a medical professional first before taking any sort of supplement.

Article Source
1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11697022
2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25010554
3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3466917/
4 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19682714
5 http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/stawberries-vitamin-c-oranges-3225.html
6 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24779581

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Last Modified on February 1, 2018 -