The right foods to prevent flu and seasonal ailments

    The right foods to prevent flu and seasonal ailments

    Like every autumn, the alarm goes off influence. If the vaccine remains the first form of prevention, help for the immune system can also come from food.

    In fact, there are foods that, due to the substances contained, help to raise the defenses or, in the unfortunate case of getting sick, favor a faster recovery. Let's find out which ones with the advice of Dr. Paola Genovese, specialist in food science at Iclas in Rapallo (Genoa).

    Essential vitamins

    When everyone around you is sneezing and coughing, to raise a protective barrier against flu and colds nothing beats fill up on vitamin C.

    "Ascorbic acid remains the best natural prevention weapon against influenza ailments", confirms our expert.

    «The first source of this precious substance, whose daily requirement is 90 mg per day for men and 60 mg for women, is the fruit. Between that of the season, kiwi and papaya they represent excellent choices (they contain between 50 and 100 mg every 100 g) and then there are obviously citrus fruits (oranges, tangerines, mandarins, grapefruits, lemons), which ensure a lower dose (30-50 mg every 100 g) , but have the advantage of being able to be kept in a bag to easily consume them even between meals. In front of vegetables, however, it is good to give space in the diet to broccoli and Brussels sprouts (60 mg of vitamin C per 100 g of cooked product), as well as a raw spinach, songino and dandelion (40 mg per 100 g of raw product) '.

    It should be remembered that this vitamin is very sensitive to thermal changes, which is why it would be good consume raw or steamed vegetables that contain it. For juices and centrifuges, "traumatic" solutions for the nutritional content but with the advantage of encouraging the consumption of fruit and vegetables, the trick is to drink them as soon as they are prepared, so as not to have further losses of the vitamin content, obviously starting from very precious C.

    Grandma's broth? It works

    In spite of all the effort put into the diet, did you fall flat? As suggested by tradition, broth is one of the best remedies when you are exhausted from fever, cough and cold. It should be prepared with seasonal vegetables rich in vitamin C, plus onion and garlic, with antibiotic and antimucolytic properties.

    "And it becomes a complete dish by adding small quantities of brown rice or spelled (carbohydrates), a drizzle of raw extra virgin olive oil (good fats) and grana or parmesan cheese in flakes (animal proteins)", adds Dr. Paola Ruggiero , a nutrition biologist in Rome.

    «And if you are not vegetarian or vegan, the option of broth prepared with white meats, a remedy handed down over the years by our grandmothers and great-grandmothers, remains very valid when the flu has taken over. Chicken, hen and turkey are well digestible meats, cooked together with vegetables and herbs such as rosemary, thyme and bay leaf, provide vitamins and mineral salts, also helping hydration, a very important aspect in the flu phase (see below, ed). In addition, it also ensures a warming effect that is always welcome when you are shaken by the chills induced by high fever ».

    The power of hydration

    As just mentioned, introducing the right amount of liquids is very important when you are a victim of the flu or a seasonal illness.

    «It is an important attention because it serves to favor the elimination of waste and toxins produced by the sick organism. And, especially in children and the elderly, to avoid the risk of dehydration in the case of prolonged febrile states, even more so if associated with gastrointestinal disorders ", explains Dr. Paola Genovese. "Furthermore, it serves to preserve the right level of humidity in the nasal mucous membranes and throat, as well as in the skin".

    But how much and what to drink? "You have to take two liters of fluids a day, making an effort to take even small sips throughout the day and never reaching the sensation of burning and dry mouth », replies the specialist. "Better to take plain water and at room temperature. And to reach the indicated quantity, in addition to the broth, herbal teas sweetened with honey (ideal that of thyme, acacia and eucalyptus, with antiseptic effect), juices and extracts are recommended ».

    It is no coincidence that they are also present in the menu on the side, developed by Dr. Genovese to help the body under attack.

    The menu that helps you if you have a high fever

    The perfect mix of liquids and solid foods for recovery.


    1 cup of hot green tea
    1 slice of rye bread with acacia honey
    plain white yogurt

    Mid morning

    1 glass of citrus fruit juice with no added sugar


    1 cup of white meat broth
    Steamed broccoli (quantity to taste)
    Stewed chicken breast

    Mid afternoon

    1 glass of spinach and kiwi extract


    1 portion of sole baked in foil
    Steamed new potatoes
    Steamed spinach


    Extra virgin olive oil (with antioxidant power)

    Free during the day

    herbal teas and infusions

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