5 Foods to Eat When You Have the Flu—And One You Should Avoid
Learn the best foods to fight, treat, and beat a cold or the flu.
Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Try: chicken soup
Grandma’s favorite remedy contains cysteine, a compound that helps thin mucus and relieve congestion. A serving may also reduce inflammation in the lungs. Try these surprising ways to prevent the cold and flu.
Cool, creamy yogurt and other dairy products are rich in zinc, which helps support the immune system, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
Try: citrus and berries
Michelle Lee Photography/Shutterstock
Vitamin C won’t prevent colds, but studies show that eating foods rich in it may get you back to normal more quickly. It also has a slight antihistaminic effect, which may reduce nasal symptoms. Check out these vitamin-C rich foods that also blast fat.
Garlic, turmeric, hot peppers, and other strong flavorings can help break up nasal and sinus congestion. Try these natural cold remedies that really work.
Try: red meat and oysters
Choose these for your protein; they’re good sources of zinc, the immune-boosting mineral.
Don’t try: alcohol
While you should drink lots of fluids when fighting a cold or flu, abstain from alcohol. Wine, beer, and liquor dilate small blood vessels, which makes the sinuses feel stuffed up and reduces the body’s ability to fight infection. Next, read about these other foods that can make your cold or flu worse.
- Evidence Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine: “Self-Care for Common Colds: The Pivotal Role of Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Zinc, and Echinacea in Three Main Immune Interactive Clusters (Physical Barriers, Innate and Adaptive Immunity) Involved during an Episode of Common Colds—Practical Advice on Dosages and on the Time to Take These Nutrients/Botanicals in order to Prevent or Treat Common Colds.”
- Harvard Health Publishing: “How to Boost Your Immune System.”
- Journal of Controversies in Biomedical Research: “N-Acetylcyst.”eine: An Old Drug With Variable Anti-Influenza Properties.”