Nutrition for colds and flu
November 29, 2007
If you don’t feel like eating, do not force yourself.
For a day or two, consume only liquids-water, juices, teas, and soups. Digesting liquids requires a lot less energy than digesting foods. This means that your body has more energy to fight the flu.
Consume easily digested foods such as juices, lemonade (hot or cold), herbal teas, applesauce, and lots of nourishing broth and homemade soups. Miso and chicken soup are good choices.
Take mushrooms soup. Mushrooms of choice includes shiitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms. They are shown in studies to boost the body’s immune response.
Getting plenty of fluids, including soups, is particularly important. Drink at least six to eight glasses of liquid daily. Fluids help to thin secretions, making it easier for the body to clear them, and also help to prevent constipation and flush toxins from the body.
Sick People Soup:
Here is a great soup to take when you are down with cold and flu. It comes from Rosita Arvigo, author of “Rainforest Home Remedies.”
1/2 head cabbage, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 head garlic, chopped
3 carrots, sliced
3 pieces celery, diced
6 Tbsp ginger, grated
¼ c miso (soybean paste)
2 qts water
juice of 1 lemon or lime
Boil the vegetables in the water until tender (about thirty minutes), then add ginger and garlic and allow to boil another five minutes. Remove from heat. Take a bit of the hot soup from the pot and mix with the miso to form a thick liquid. Add to the soup and serve. Squeeze a bit of fresh lime juice into the bowl. For an added health boost, sprinkle crushed garlic on the soup before serving.
When there is fever, take liquids only.
Recommended liquids: Warm broth, vegetable juices and herb teas.
Avoid dairy products and sugar. They increase and thicken mucus. Avoid a milky drink at night if you have chest problems, since this can contribute to congestion of the chest by morning.
Red beet juice makes the flu virus inactive.
Condensed grape juice strengthens the heart muscles.
Parsley, celery, watercress, garlic, lemon, carrot and coconut juices are nourishing and help to cleanse and promote healing.
Drink fruit juices after diluting. Limit the intake of sugars.
Increase the proportion of vitamin C-rich foods in the diet, such as tomatoes, raw green peppers, carrots, strawberries and citrus fruit. This vitamin is easily destroyed by the process of oxidation, so do not leave peeled, chopped fruit or vegetables to stand for a long time before eating. Overcooking also leads to loss of vitamin C, especially if fruit or vegetables are boiled. Vegetables and fruit are best eaten raw, and if vegetables must be cooked, steam them, which preserves essential nutrients.
Eat fresh, raw fruit and vegetables, whole grains, garlic, pulses, beans, small helpings of fish, nuts and seeds. These foods appear to increase resistance to infection and improve vitality.
Use unrefined, cold-pressed flax seed oil as a salad dressing. Flax seed oil is an excellent source of the omega-3 essential fatty acid and also contains the omega-6 essential fatty acid. These fats help strengthen cell membranes, thereby speeding healing and strengthening resistance to infection. In the body.
Eat sea plants or algae. These can remineralize the body after overexposure to processed foods. Spirulina, alfalfa, chlorella or seaweeds can be added to soups or juices in powder or capsule form.
Garlic can also help ward off a cold by inhibiting the growth of staphylococcus and streptococcus bacteria.
Avoid food and drinks that put extra strain on the liver. The liver is responsible for efficient detoxification of the body. The foods to avoid include convenience foods containing substantial amounts of chemicals such as colorings and preservatives, and alcohol, which also depletes the body of vitamin C.
Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Bioflavonoids
Vitamin C is well-known for treating and preventing colds.
Studies show that vitamin C can shorten the duration of common colds and flu and even prevent them. Taken in large enough doses, vitamin C can boost your immune system by pumping enough fuel into white blood cells to destroy invading viruses and bacteria.
Vitamin C increases interferon levels and has interferon-like properties itself. It acts as a natural antihistamine that helps dry up watery eyes and reduce nasal and chest congestion. It is also a powerful antioxidant that can help prevent the damage that your body endures when viruses or bacteria attack your immune system.
Dockworkers given 100 mg of vitamin C each day for ten months caught influenza 28% less than their coworkers not taking vitamins. Moreover, the average infection was 10% shorter in those taking vitamin C.1 Other studies have reported that vitamin C in high doses (2 grams every hour for twelve hours) can lead to rapid improvement of influenza infections.2, 3
At the first sign of cold or flu symptoms, take 500 milligrams of vitamin C with bioflavonoids or rose hips four to six times a day. The bioflavonoids and rose hips strengthen the vitamin C’s infection-fighting power by 35 percent, according to experts. Start taking Vitamin C as soon as you can. There are no adverse effects from taking high dosages of vitamin C. If you experience diarrhea, reduce the dosage of Vitamin C. Use bioflavonoids along with vitamin C for their synergistic effect.
Vitamin A is a nutrient vital to the mucous membranes throughout the respiratory system during a cold or flu. It is known as the anti-infection vitamin. It battles viruses and bacteria in two ways. By keeping the cells healthy all along your respiratory tract, it provides a barrier that resists microorganisms. If some invading microorganisms manage to breach the barrier, you want to have antibodies and lymphocytes ready to destroy them. Vitamin A helps your body provide those reinforcements.
As soon as you notice cold or flu symptoms, take 100,000 international units (IU) of vitamin A daily for three days, then reduce the dosage to 25,000 IU for one week or until symptoms disappear. Caution: These are very high doses, please check with your doctor before taking this much.
Beta-carotene, Vitamin A’s precursor, is rich in antioxidant power and antiviral properties. It bolsters immunity and protects the thymus gland. It also protects you from viruses by enhancing mucous membrane secretions. By producing the secretions, the beta-carotene prevents the virus from invading your body.
If you feel a cold or flu coming on, take 100,000 IU of beta-carotene for 10 to 14 days, then cut the dosage to 50,000 IU a day to prevent future respiratory infections.
Zinc supplementation is recommended for immune system support. Zinc lozenges soothe a sore throat and help fend off a cold before it takes hold.
Zinc stimulates the immune system by generating new white blood cells and whipping them into shape to battle viruses. If you have too little zinc, your production of white blood cells may drop, and that can increase your risk of catching a cold, flu, or other upper respiratory infection.
In one study, children who got 10 milligrams of zinc daily for 60 days were much less likely to get respiratory infections than children getting less. In fact, the children who got enough zinc were 70 percent less likely to have fevers, 48 percent less likely to have coughs, and 28 percent less likely to have mucus buildup.
Take 5 to 10 milligrams of zinc five times daily for five days to one week. Take zinc with food to prevent stomach upset. Be careful not to consume too much zinc. Doctors recommend taking no more than 15 milligrams of zinc a day.
Zinc gluconate in lozenge form has been found to shorten the duration of cold symptoms. In a study, participants who sucked on one zinc gluconate lozenge (containing about 13 milligrams of zinc) every two hours while awake got rid of their coughs, nasal congestion, sore throat, and headaches three to four days sooner than those who didn’t get any supplementation. Don’t take them for longer than one week, because they can weaken your immune system.
Garlic is very beneficial especially at the beginning of a cold. It warms the body and acts as an antiviral and antibacterial.
Thymus glandular extract boosts immune function by increasing the number and activity of infection-fighting white blood cells. Take 250 to 500 milligrams twice a day. This is especially important for people over forty, as thymus function declines with age.
Vitamin C, with bioflavonoids, 1,000 mg every few hours throughout the day, up to bowel tolerance.
Zinc lozenges, with 3 mg copper, every few hours, up to 70 mg daily during a cold and 30 mg daily as a preventive.
Garlic, 2 capsules three times daily
Vitamin A, 25,000 IU daily (avoid during pregnancy)