Fight the flu with 'medicine food'

Tea is one of the best. The polyphenols in tea have been shown to inhibit the growth of bacteria that cause strep and other throat infection. Make the results even better by squeezing lemon into green tea, which offers five times the catechin. Catechin is a heart-healthy antioxidant. If you add a spoonful of honey, you've got a triple-whammy because of its antibacterial powers.

The old saying, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away," has merit. The plant chemical quercetin in apples has a natural flu-fighting component, the same found in broccoli and berries. Broccoli also has sulforaphane, which is a chemical compound that assists white blood cells fight free-radical damage.

Studies show that the lactic-acid bacteria in yogurt stimulates immune cells that fight illness. Since it is also high in zinc, it will provide maximum absorbability of vitamin A foods like cantaloupe. The combination is a good shield for common viruses.

While we know that vegetables contain vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals that support your immune system, you may not know that combining a tablespoon of heart-healthy fat like olive oil, nuts, seeds or avocado, can amp up the antioxidant power even more. As it turns out, the veggies need the fat to absorb the nutrients, so don't feel bad about having a good source of fat.

And since most of us tend to eat healthy when we feel something coming on, it is important to note that these foods should be in your weekly menu to keep the bad bugs at bay.


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