You know you need to wash your hands and stay far away from that sneezing coworker. But what about the healthy foods you need to combat the sniffliest time of the year? We asked Laura Manning, R.D., of Mount Sinai Medical Center, to help sift through the old wives’ tales and home remedies and give you the straight advice that’ll keep you away from the doc—and help you lose a few pounds while you’re at it.
There is really no ailment that oranges can’t help with: They fight viruses, give you electrolytes, and help repair tissue and bone strength. That said, oranges have not been proven to prevent a cold from happening. They can help you when you’re already on the couch, though. Plus, the juicy flavor can satisfy your sweet tooth for way fewer calories than baked goods or candies pack.
It’s the food of the moment for a reason: Kale is packed with immune-boosting antioxidants, and each leaf gives you the major bang for your buck (or bite). Manning recommends sautéing it in garlic and olive oil, although you’ll want to skip covering it in a pound of cheese, as many restaurants do.
It’s not just a low-cal breakfast food. The probiotics in your morning meal help keep you in balance, especially on your digestive tract, says Manning. “It acts like a lock and key to keep the good stuff in and the bad stuff out.”
You don’t need to be told how much flavor garlic brings to a dish. But it’s also a cancer fighter that’s full of antioxidant compounds. “Garlic belongs to the allium family, which includes onions, leeks, and shallots,” says Manning. They’re all good for you, and they all make your food more delicious without adding tons of fat.
Tea and Honey
Tea is very comforting when you’re miserable on the couch, but that’s not all it has to offer. “Hot foods help congestion and loosen mucus,” says Manning. Honey can also soothe throats that are sore from coughing, so add a dollop to your favorite brew. You don’t have to worry about the sugar in that honey, either—green tea has been proven to increase metabolism.
Yep, you can give grandma the credit she deserves for this one. The hot broth breaks up congestion, the chicken’s protein helps repair your cells, and the veggies are packed with antioxidants. The catch? “The compounds have to come from making it yourself,” says Manning. “A can isn’t helping you.” The pre-made kind is filled with preservatives and sodium, so DIY in your kitchen to save calories and have a well-balanced meal.
Image courtesy of womenshealthmag.com