It’s drawing close to the “official” winter season and the holidays, which means an increased risk of colds and flu. Families gather together to share meals, whether at home or in a restaurant setting; many attend holiday parties that include catered meals, and the risk for catching colds or the flu only increases. Because we’ve been in foodservice management for decades, working with retail restaurants, in event and corporate catering, student dining services and more, we know that certain foods can help fight off colds and the flu, building a healthier immune system.
Chicken soup really does do a body good. Not only does it reduce inflammation that triggers cold or flu symptoms, it also provides necessary fluids for the body.
Citrus fruits for vitamin C, which studies have found can reduce cold symptoms by a whopping 23%. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and found in far more foods than oranges! Lemons are a good source, and even many vegetables, including broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, red bell peppers and butternut squash. Load your plate up with these healthy foods at those parties and family get-togethers over the holidays.
Ginger helps suppress coughing and also targets rhinoviruses, because it contains sesquiterpenes. These chemicals also soothe an itching throat, while helping reduce fever and pain.
Yogurt has been touted as one of the healthiest foods for years, and for good reason. When paired with fresh fruit, granola or other healthy additions, it really packs a punch. Yogurt contains probiotics that promote good bacteria in the gut and support digestive health, but it’s also an immune booster that works to reduce systemic inflammation.
Mushrooms have long been used in traditional Chinese medicine, particularly maitake and shiitake varieties. Delicious in salads, soups, on a veggie pizza or incorporated with other dishes, mushrooms are powerful for fighting colds and flu, as they increase production of infection-fighting cells known as cytokines. Polysaccharides are immune-boosting compounds also found in ‘shrooms.
Salmon, tuna and other oily fish contain an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids, which work to reduce inflammation and fight colds. The immune system doesn’t function properly when body tissues are inflamed, which results in more colds and flu.
These are just a few examples of foods that work to boost your immune system and fight off colds and flu. Enjoy the holiday gatherings, and add a few of the above foods to the menu to promote better health through the New Year.
Leaders in the foodservice management industry for decades, Gourmet Services Inc. is dedicated to quality, freshness and unparalleled service. Let us help you bring more to the table!