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Five Foods That Fight the Flu

author image Julia Bodeeb
Julia Bodeeb started online writing in 2007. She also worked on staff in medical publishing for more than a decade as a reporter, managing editor and in book acquisitions. She won a Pulitzer Center Global Issues/Citizen Voices Award in 2008. Bodeeb has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Monmouth University and postgraduate credits in psychology and law.
Five Foods That Fight the Flu
A bowl of chicken soup with wild rice. Photo Credit bhofack2/iStock/Getty Images

Influenza is a common disorder that is highly contagious. The flu occurs when a virus enters your respiratory systemand affects you for roughly two weeks. Proper nutrition during a bout with the flu can help to limit the severity and duration of the illness, which helps to prevent the flu from escalating into pneumonia. Around 35,000 people die yearly from the flu, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center.


Eating fruits during a bout of the flu helps your body stay hydrated, which is important as the flu often causes fever and dehydration. An orange, loaded with vitamin C, is a helpful fruit to eat while fighting the flu. Vitamin C helps strengthen your immune system to ward off viruses, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Peanut Butter

Foods that contain zinc help to boost the performance of your immune system. Peanut butter contains zinc, notes Meals Matter. When you're ill and don't feel like cooking, peanut butter is an easy option. Spread it on bread, crackers or fruit. Eating peanut butter during the flu will help your body start to recover from the infection.

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Chicken Soup

Chicken soup is also helpful to eat when you have the flu, notes researchers at the University of Nebraska medical Center. They found that chicken soup had anti-inflammatory properties and that the combined ingredients in the soup showed medicinal activity against colds and flu. Chicken soup will help keep the throat moist and will help flush out the mucus that causes congestion in the respiratory system during the flu. Home-made chicken soup is healthier than commercial canned soups that contain too much salt. Cooking some chicken soup and freezing it before flu and cold season arrives helps you be prepared to eat nutritiously, even when feeling ill.


Yogurt is a helpful food when the flu strikes. The probiotics in yogurt help your immune perform optimally. The yogurt label should say it contains “live active culture,” notes Meals Matter. Yogurt is easy to eat even experiencing flu symptoms. If you add some pureed fruit to the yogurt you will add some vitamin C to the meal.


Garlic helps your body to quell infections. Thus is it a helpful food to eat while sick with the flu. Flatten the garlic cloves to release the juice. Then add the garlic to soup, salad, or spread it on toast. You may also wish to roast a head of garlic wrapped in a piece to tin foil for a half hour to create a soft spread to place on bread.

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