Foods to fight flu

January 25, 2008 11:59:03 AM PST
Flu season has arrived. Fight the flu with food!

Jewel-Osco Dietician Kim Kirchherr visits ABC7 Chicago with top diet choices to keep you feeling good.

(From Kim Kirchherr: )

Higher stress levels, lack of sleep, not drinking enough water, and forgetting to eat healthful foods every day can all contribute to a less healthy winter season. What most people don't realize is that food can actually help improve your ability to fight off colds and flu - when you choose a balanced diet with all the nutrients you need. Here are just a few of the edible ways we can help keep ourselves healthy. A well balanced diet with all the food groups included is the best way to ensure that you are getting everything you need to stay healthy and help your body function at peak performance. Food is the best way to get nutrients to benefit from the mix in each type of food. Talk with your health care team to individualize a plan that considers current food intake and medical history.

Vitamin A/beta-carotene:

Helps promote a healthy immune system, also good for vision and lots of other important roles in the body. Food sources include orange and green colored produce. Each week, include these colors on the plate. Carrots, spinach, kale, cantaloupe, apricots,

Cruciferous: broccoli, cabbage and kale boost the immune system and they fight cancer!

Vitamin C:

While vitamin C cannot prevent colds or flu, it can help reduce liability for infections, aid with iron absorption, and may help reduce the severity of symptoms. Need for Vitamin C actually increases under stress. Food sources of vitamin C: broccoli, strawberries, citrus, kiwi, cantaloupe, bell pepper, tomato, pineapple, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and sweet potato.


Tea has been talked about for its antioxidant levels, but there is also a part of tea that seems to help boost the immune system. Drinking adequate amounts of tea may help prime your immune system to attack invading bacteria.

Vitamin D: helps maintain a healthy immune system, and more research continues to show promise with this vitamin. Sources include exposure to sunlight, and fortified foods like milk and cereals, and a little in salmon, mackerel, and tuna

Chicken soup

In addition to being a comfort food and a source of fluid, there seems to be a component of chicken soup that helps reduce inflammation - so maybe Mom was right! The benefit appears to come from the combination of chicken, vegetables, and liquid, and the best choice is homemade as the commercial versions can vary greatly in their potential benefits.

Homemade Chicken Soup

Submitted by: Jill

Servings: 10

Ingredients: 1 (3 pound) whole chicken 4 carrots, halved 4 stalks celery, halved 1 large onion, halved water to cover salt and pepper to taste 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules (optional) Directions:

1. Put the chicken, carrots, celery and onion in a large soup pot and cover with cold water. Heat and simmer, uncovered, until the chicken meat falls off of the bones (skim off foam every so often).

2. Take everything out of the pot. Strain the broth. Pick the meat off of the bones and chop the carrots, celery and onion. Season the broth with salt, pepper and chicken bouillon to taste, if desired. Return the chicken, carrots, celery and onion to the pot, stir together, and serve. Kim's Kitchen tip: To add some more zip without sodium, try lemon, parsley, poultry seasoning to taste. Cooked rice or noodles can also be added for a heartier meal.

Recipe courtesy of For more ideas, visit and click on 'plan.'