“Food feeds both the body and soul – there are clear reasons to eat a balanced diet, but there are also reasons you cling to your mom’s secret chicken noodle soup recipe when you’re sick.” -Michael Mena
With cold and flu season upon us, it is no surprise people are scrambling about in a dozen different directions for a cure, a preventative, or at least a soothing aid when the sickness descends.
However, perhaps the easiest (and tastiest) way to combat germs and bacteria is to eat a balanced diet of natural, healthy foods. That’s easier said than done, you might say, but keep reading and you’ll find that these meals are simple, cost-effective, and packed with nutrients that will do their best to stave off those pesky illnesses.
What vitamins, minerals and spices are best suited to do battle with the cold and flu? Research published in the Journal of Nutrition and on the U.S. National Library of Medicine website (and others) indicates that Vitamins A, B, & C, the mineral zinc, and spices garlic and tumeric are the best when it comes to preventative care.
Where can these be found? In a plethora of foods including beef, tuna, salmon, chicken, (and chicken broth), sweet potatoes, beans, and dark, leafy greens. Adding onions and garlic or tumeric to the dish will also increase its immune-boosting power. Combining these foods in savory dishes will not only ensure that you’re getting the nutrients you need, but will prepare it to fight against disease.
The first dish is of course the perennial favorite, chicken soup. Consisting of chicken stock or broth, chicken, vegetables (onions, celery, carrots, and whatever else you fancy), and either noodles or rice, this dish is a hearty staple that not only provides relief to a sore throat, but also keeps you hydrated and provides much needed amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.
The second dish is vegetarian chili, comprised of a tomato base, black beans, onions, garlic, and sweet potatoes (a replacement for meat). The sweet potatoes provide Vitamin A, the black beans give us antioxidants, and the garlic shares the benefits of its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.
The third and last dish is curry – particularly curry with tumeric, which is both anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. If you don’t like curry or if it’s difficult to find in your area, you can try mixing tumeric into the following: eggs, leafy greens, or roasted vegetables like cauliflower, squash, and zucchini.
Be prepared this flu season by putting together some easy, nutritious meals with natural ingredients – the benefits are bountiful.
By Kaitlin Cone