The Top 10 Flu Fighting Foods


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Flu Fighting Foods
The Top 10 Flu Fighting Foods
If you have diabetes, it's important to do all you can to arm yourself against seasonal cold
and flu viruses Fortunately, Mother Nature provides an arsenal of immune boosting
So make a commitment to yourself right now: During this flu season, get all the sleep you
need, wash your hands more frequently, and eat a variety of the foods on the following
1. Green Chili Peppers: Vitamin C
The celebrity vitamin when it comes to fighting colds and flus, vitamin C is a
powerhouse antioxidant. It boosts immune function by protecting cells from
environmental damage and helping to regenerate other antioxidants in the body when
they are depleted.
Foods naturally rich in vitamin C include:
• Hot chili peppers (1/2 cup contains: 182mg vitamin C, or 303% DV;* 7g carbs)
• Guava (1/2 cup contains: 188mg vitamin C, or 314% DV; 12g carbs, 4.5g fiber)
• Bell peppers (10 strips contain: 95.4mg vitamin C, or 159% DV; 3g carbs)
• Kale (1 cup, chopped, contains: 80.4mg vitamin C, or 134% DV; 7g carbs)
• Broccoli florets (1 cup, raw, contains: 66.2mg vitamin C, or 110% DV; 4g carbs)
Other good sources: Papaya, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, oranges, cantaloupe.
Note: The food with by far the highest natural concentration of vitamin C is a fruit called
acerola, or West Indian cherry, which contains 1,677mg of vitamin C in a 1-cup portion.
This fruit only grows in warm climates and can be sweet or tart and eaten just like grapes
or cherries. Unless you can hop a plane to Brazil, however, acerolas can be hard to find.
* DV=Daily Value. Daily Values are based on accepted recommended daily intakes of
various nutrients. They were established by the Food and Drug Administration to help
consumers compare nutrient quantity on food labels. Foods containing 20% or more of
the DV for certain nutrients are considered "good" sources.
SOURCE: Anitra C Carr and Balz Frei. Toward a new recommended dietary allowance for vitamin C
based on antioxidant and health effects in humans. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 1999, Vol.
69, No. 6, 1086-1107.
2. Sunflower Seeds: Vitamin E
Vitamin E is crucial in maintaining the immune system. It enhances the activity of T-
Flu Fighting Foods, Continued
cells, the white blood cells involved in protecting us from viral (e.g., colds and flus),
fungal, and other infection.
Foods naturally rich in vitamin E include:
• Sunflower seeds* (1/2 cup contains: 25mg vitamin E, or 123% DV; 16g
carbs, 7g fiber)
• Almonds (1/2 cup contains: 18mg vitamin E, or 90% DV; 14g carbs, 8g
• Hazelnuts or filberts (1/2 cup contains: 10mg vitamin E, or 50% DV; 12g
carbs, 7g fiber)
• Peanut butter (1/4 cup contains: 5.8mg vitamin E, or 29% DV; 13g carbs, 4g
Other good sources: Spinach, greens (turnip, mustard, collard), broccoli rabe, avocado,
quinoa, most nuts and seeds, vegetable oils, olives, and spices.
* Because of their high oil content, sunflower seeds should be stored in an airtight
container in the refrigerator or freezer. It's easier to buy the kernels, but if you buy them
in the shell here's a tip:
Pour seeds into the bowl of an electric mixer and pulse until the shells break but not too
many kernels are crushed. Then, pour into a bowl of cold water. Shells will float to the
top and you can skim them off with a slotted spoon.
Sunflower seeds are great in chicken and tuna salads, sprinkled on tossed salads, or
ground up fine and used as a replacement for flour in coating meat or chicken.
SOURCES: Moriguchi S, Muraga M. Vitamin E and immunity. Vitamins and Hormones. 2000; 59:305-
36. Nutrition Data. (accessed 10/10/09).
3. Carrots: Carotenoids
Beta-carotene is the most well known of the carotenoids, a class of nutrients that have a
variety of health benefits, one of which is enhancing or regulating immune function.
Beta-carotene and the other carotenoids are made into vitamin A in the body, and vitamin
A helps cells fight infections. The carotenoids are listed under vitamin A in nutrient lists,
and a DV has been established only for vitamin A.
Foods naturally rich in carotenoids include:
• Sweet potatoes (1 medium contains: 23,769 IU of vitamin A, or 475% DV;
27g carbs, 4g fiber)
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• Carrots (1/2 cup, cooked, contains: 13,288 IU of vitamin A, or 266% DV; 6g
carbs, 2g fiber)
• Kale (1/2 cup cooked contains: 8,855 IU of vitamin A, or 177% DV; 4g
carbs, 2g fiber)
• Pumpkin (1/2 cup, mashed contains: 6,116 IU, or 123% DV; 6g carbs, 2g
Other good sources: Winter squash (butternut), greens (turnip, collard, mustard, beet),
spinach, broccoli, broccoli rabe, parsley, coriander, red bell peppers, cantaloupe, apricots,
SOURCES: 1. Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin A and Carotenoids. (accessed 10/10/09). 2. Hughes, D.A. Effects of carotenoids
on human immune function. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society (1999), 58, 713-718.
4. Cod Liver Oil: Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an immune system modulator, which means it regulates immune response
so that your body doesn't over- or under-react to pathogens. New research also implicates
vitamin D in the prevention of cancer and other diseases, including diabetes.
A 2007 study showed that vitamin D may prevent age-related increases in blood sugar
levels. And more recently, the Harvard School of Public Health found that low vitamin D
levels were related to poor insulin function.
The current Daily Value for vitamin D for adults is 400 IU. However, a large and
convincing body of evidence suggests that this level is far too low. The Boston
University School of Medicine and Harvard School of Public Health now recommend
higher minimums: 1,000 IU per day for fair-skinned adults, and 2,000 IU per day for
darker skinned adults.
Foods naturally rich in vitamin D include:
• Cod liver oil (1 Tbsp contains: 1,360 IU, or 340% DV; 0g carbs)
• Canned salmon* (3oz contains: 649 IU or 162% DV; 0g carbs)
• Pickled herring (3oz contains: 576 IU or 144% DV; 9g carbs)
• Mackerel (3.5 oz, cooked, contains 345 IU or 86% DV; 0g carbs)
• Raw oysters (6 medium contain: 269 IU or 67% DV; 3g carbs)
• Sardines (1.75oz canned in oil, drained, contains 250 IU or 63% DV; 0g
• Canned tuna (3 oz canned in oil contains 200 IU or 50% DV; 0g carbs)
Flu Fighting Foods, Continued
Other good sources: Halibut, cod, shrimp, clams, milk fortified with vitamin D, yogurt,
eggs, beef liver, and cheese.
*Canned salmon is derived from wild-caught salmon, which contains high levels of
vitamin D. Farm-raised salmon may have as little as one-quarter of the amount of vitamin
D as wild salmon. This is likely the same with all oily fish. Also, frying fish in oil
reduces the amount of vitamin D by about half.
SOURCES: 1. Cantorna,MT, Zhu Y, et al,: Vitamin D Status, 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3, and the Immune
System, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2004;80(Supplement):1717S-1720S. 2. Garland EF,
Gorham ED, et al, "Vitamin D for Cancer Prevention: Global Perspective," Annals of Epidemiology, 2009;
19(7): 468-483. 3. Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin D
(accessed 10/10/09) 4. Z. Lu, T.C. Chen, A. Zhang, K.S. Persons, N. Kohn, R. Berkowitz,* S. Martinello,*
and M.F. Holick. 2007. An Evaluation of the Vitamin D3 Content in Fish: Is the Vitamin D Content
Adequate to Satisfy the Dietary Requirement for Vitamin D? Journal of Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. (accessed 10/12/09).
5. Yogurt: Probiotics
Probiotics are sometimes referred to as “the good bugs.” They are beneficial bacteria that
live in all healthy digestive systems. They help guard against attacks from
microorganisms and may improve immune function in healthy adults by increasing the
percentage of different types of immune cells. They have also been shown to inhibit the
growth of potential disease-causing organisms.
Foods naturally rich in probiotics include:
• Yogurt (1 cup plain, lowfat, contains 17g carbs)
• Kefir (1 cup lowfat contains 12g carbs)
• Buttermilk (1 cup contains 12g carbs)
• Tempeh (1 ounce, cooked, contains 3g carbs)
• Miso soup (1 cup contains 5.3g carbs)
• Other good sources: All fermented foods.
Note: There is some controversy over whether manufacturers can claim the effective,
health-promoting properties of probiotics in so many food products (probiotics are being
added to things like granola bars, cookies, and juices now). When probiotics are
subjected to heat, they can easily be destroyed and become ineffective. The Natural
Yogurt Association has developed a “Live Active Culture Seal” to help consumers
identify products that contain these friendly bacteria.
The Food and Drug Administration has not established a Daily Value for probiotics.
Flu Fighting Foods, Continued
SOURCES: 1. (accessed 10/11/09).
2. Kaur IP, Chopra K, Saini A, Eur J "Probiotics: Potential Pharmaceutical Applications," Journal of
Pharmaceutical Science, 2002;15:1-9.
6. Garlic
It's the sulfur in garlic that gives this vegetable its famed status as a powerful immunity
protector. Sulfur stimulates the immune system to produce more cells that protect against
viruses and infections. Garlic also enhances the activity of macrophages, immune cells
that engulf and destroy invading organisms. Garlic has proven anti-fungal and antibacterial
properties-- it's thought of almost as a natural antibiotic.
Garlic Food Facts
• 1 cup of raw garlic cloves contains 45g carbs, 9g protein, and 3g fiber
• 1 clove contains 1g carbs, 0g protein and 0g fiber
Note: Remember to crush garlic and let it sit for 10 minutes before cooking with it. This
allows for the full release and cultivation of the beneficial chemicals. Other garlic tips:
The longer you cook garlic, the more mild it becomes, but it also loses its health punch.
Additionally, don't bother with breath mints: the sulfur compounds that cause garlic
breath are absorbed into the bloodstream and released into your breath through your
SOURCES: 1. Sato T, Miyata G, "The Nutraceutical Benefit, Part IV: Garlic," Nutrition, 2000;16(9):787-
788. 2. Rock, CL: Nutritional Factors in Cancer Prevention, Hematology l Oncology Clinical North
America, October, 1998;12(5):975-991.
7. Dark Chocolate: Bioflavonoids
Some of our very favorite healthy foods contain bioflavonoids, plant compounds, or
phytochemicals, with an array of health-giving properties. Bioflavonoids act like
antioxidants, while also stimulating the immune system. Of the types of bioflavonoids,
the group called flavanols has been in the news in recent years, thanks to studies touting
great health benefits of flavonol-containing foods -- and the fact that we loved these
foods to begin with.
Flu Fighting Foods, Continued
Foods naturally rich in flavanols include:
• Dark chocolate (1oz, 60 to 69% cacao, contains 15g carbs)
• Red wine (5oz table wine contains 4g carbs)
• Apples (1 medium contains 25g carbs, 4g fiber)
• Blueberries (1/2 cup fresh contains 10g carbs, 2g fiber)
• Strawberries (1/2 cup fresh contains 6g carbs, 1.5g fiber)
• Green or black tea (1 cup contains 0g carbs)
Other good sources of bioflavonoids: red or purple grapes, citrus fruits, parsley, celery,
hot peppers, soy, and legumes.
Note: Because diabetes is associated with higher than normal oxidative stress in the body,
bioflavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants, are helpful in managing and preventing
complications from diabetes.
The Food and Drug Administration has not established a Daily Value for bioflavonoids.
SOURCES: 1. Bub A, Watzl B, Blockhaus M, Brivib K, et al: Fruit juice consumption modulates
antioxidative status, immune status and DNA damage, The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, February
2003; 14, issue 2; 90 -98. 2. Sato T, Miyata G. 2000. The Nutraceutical Benefit, Part I: Green Tea
Nutrition. 16:315-317. 3. Bonnefont-Rousselot D. 2004. The Role of Antioxidant Micronutrients in the
Prevention of Diabetic Complications, Treatment Endocrinology, 3(1):41-52.
8. Brazil Nuts: Selenium
Selenium helps white blood cells respond to attacks on the immune system and has well
studied anti-cancer properties. The mineral has also been shown to restore glycemic
control and prevent diabetic complications in animal studies.
Foods naturally rich in selenium include:
• Brazil nuts (1/2 cup contains: 1275mcg selenium, or 1822% DV; 8g carbs, 5g
• Oysters (3oz, cooked, contains: 131mcg, or 187% DV; 8g carbs)
• Mussels (3oz, cooked, contains: 76mcg, or 109%; 6g carbs)>/li>
Other good sources: organ meats, poultry skin, dried fish, sesame seeds, orange roughy,
halibut, tuna.
Flu Fighting Foods, Continued
Note: In addition to being the best dietary source of selenium, brazil nuts are high in fat
and so should be kept refrigerated to keep them from going rancid. The fat content also
makes their taste and texture similar to that of macadamias and, like macadamias, can be
substituted for coconut in some recipes.
Ever heard of the "Brazil nut effect"? It's a term coined for the phenomenon of larger
particles rising to the top when combined with smaller ones. Sounds like what happens in
your can of mixed nuts, right?
SOURCE: Turner, RJ and JM Finch. 1991. Selenium and the immune response. Proceedings of the
Nutrition Society. 50: 275-285.
9. Mushrooms
Many species of mushrooms are believed to have medicinal properties, and in many
cultures mushrooms have been used medicinally for centuries. Certain compounds in
mushrooms have been studied in laboratory settings and have been shown to have
immune-system-modulating effects. For all of these reasons, you can find extracts of
mushrooms sold as dietary supplements. One recent study showed immune-enhancing
effects in mice that were fed whole mushrooms.
Mushroom facts:
• 1 cup of sliced white button mushrooms contains 2g carbs, 1g fiber.
• Shiitake, maitake, and reishi are the varieties of mushrooms most prized for
their health benefits.
• Store mushrooms, unwashed, in a loose paper bag in the refrigerator.
• Wash dirt off mushrooms using a damp paper towel or mushroom brush;
don't put them under running water or they will get soggy.
SOURCE: Sanhong Yu, Veronika Weaver, Keith Martin, and Margherita T Cantorna. The effects of whole
mushrooms during inflammation. BMC Immunol. 2009; 10: 12.
Flu Fighting Foods, Continued
10. Oysters: Zinc
Zinc plays a central role in the development and functioning of immune cells. Like may
other immune boosters, zinc is also an antioxidant with the ability to protect cells from
environmental damage. When your diet is deficient in zinc, white blood cell numbers
drop and immune response becomes compromised, and insulin response and metabolic
rate decrease. Some studies have found that zinc lozenges and nasal sprays lessen the
duration of a cold, though there's no strong expert consensus.
Foods naturally rich in zinc include:
• Oysters (3oz cooked contains: 154mg zinc, or 1029% DV; 7g carbs)
• Calf's liver (1 slice contains: 9mg zinc, or 60% DV; 3g carbs)
Other good sources: cremini mushrooms, spinach, sea vegetables, pumpkin seeds, chuck
steak, and poppy seeds.
SOURCE: AH Shankar and AS Prasad. Zinc and immune function: the biological basis of altered
resistance to infection. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol 68, 447S-463S.

Give Unto my Brethren and I Shall give you 10 fold ~~~Press Here





1. Green Chili Peppers








2. Sunflower Seeds











3. Carrots








4. Cod Liver Oil













5. Yogurt:Probiotics










6. Garlic






7. Dark Chocolate










8. Brazil Nuts















10. Oysters
















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