9 Natural Flu-Fighting Foods   AARP Bulletin October 2013     Nissa Simon


You know what flu season means-get a flu shot and do whatever you can to stay healthy. These foods(and teas) can help you fend off the flu, and eat and drink well too.

1. Black-Eyed Peas

These nutritious legumes are rich in zinc, a trace mineral that keeps your immune system in working order. Pinto beans, peanuts, roasted pumpkin seeds and wheat germ are other good choices.

2. Carrots

They are rich in beta-carotene, which your body uses to ward off respiratory infections. Other good sources are dark green vegetables, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and winter squash.

3. Tea

Green, black and oolong tea all contain naturally occurring compounds that reduce the risk of flu, including quercetin, a powerful antioxidant, and L-theanine, an amino acid found only in tea. Decaf teas contain the amino acid, herbal teas do not.

4. Yogurt

Probiotics, the beneficial bacteria found in yogurt and other fermented foods, strengthen the immune system. Not a fan of yogurt? Try cottage cheese. kimchi ( a fermented Korean dish made of seasoned vegetables) or sauerkraut instead.

5. Tomatoes

Vitamin C rich tomatoes boost the body's natural defense system in the same way their citrusy relatives do. One medium tomato provides 40% of your daily vitamin C, so have a glass of tomato juice at lunch and treat yourself to pasta with tomato sauce over dinner.

6. Mushrooms

These powerhouses increase the body's resistance to viral infections by boosting the activity of natural killer cells, a vital part of the immune system. Mushrooms are rich in selenium, low levels of which can increase the risk of developing a severe flu.

7. Almonds

These popular nuts are a rich source of the antioxidant vitamin E, which helps your body ward off viral infections. To maximize the absorption of vitamin E. opt for chopped almonds, almond butter or almond oil.

8. Chicken Soup

It may not prevent the flu, but a bowl or cup of soup can help your immune system fight off the virus in its early stages, thanks to a compound called camosine. The only catch: You need to consume chicken soup throughout your illness to reap its benefit, says a 2012 study.

9. Wild Salmon

It is high in vitamin D, which the immune system needs to kill harmful bacteria and viruses, says John S. Adams, M.D., professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. Farm raised salmon has less, but it is also a good source.



Substitute other greens for the curly kale, such as Tuscan kale, mustard greens, beet greens and chard.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings         

Orange County Register    Eat Well Column by Cathy Thomas Dec. 19, 2013 from the book"The Medicinal Chef: Eat Your Way to Better Health" by Dale Pinnock(Sterling$24.95).

Olive oil, about 2 to 3 teaspoons

2 medium garlic cloves, peeled, thinly sliced

1(14 ounce) can cannellinini beans rinsed, drained or cook 1/2 cup dry beans

1 (14 ounce) can lima beans, rinsed, drained

Large handful washed curly kale, large stems removed, torn into bite size pieces

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

 2 Tbl. grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, divided use

Optional: 1/4 tsp. dried red pepper flakes


1. Heat oil in deep skillet on medium high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until starting to turn brown. Add beans and kale. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Continue to cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until kale is tender-crisp. Add 1 Tbl. Parmesan and toss.

2. Transfer to serving dish and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and if desired, dried red pepper flakes.

One cup pf kale contains 33 calories, yet provides 206 % of the RDA of vitamin A and 134% of the RDA for vitamin C. 

And as with the other leafy greens from the Brassica family, such as mustard grren and rapini kale is also a good source of vitamin B and K.