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Eating your way through fresher’s flu!

Published Monday, 27 October, 2014 by Claire Keen

It’s that time of year again, the two weeks of fresher’s have been and gone and it’s just a matter of time before the dreaded ‘fresher’s flu’ hits. The 9am starts have become a stark reality and yep, that’s right, its flu season yet again and we need to learn how to prevent, cure and look after ourselves…

It will not be long till the sickness, sniffles and sore throats take hold and it’s easy to jump on the first train to all of those home comforts, I know I did in my first year! However as soon as you learn how to prevent, cure and look after yourself you will soon be the independent student you have always wanted to be, putting your flatmates to shame. We have all heard the famous saying, ‘Starve a fever, and feed a cold’ but what do you eat when you have the flu?

Prevention

There are many different foods that can help prevent the flu from occurring, before those dreaded symptoms start to hit here are a few useful ones to know:

Red bell peppers: Did you know that these wonderful vegetables contain twice as much vitamin C as the humble orange does? Vitamin C helps to prevent and even decrease the duration of the symptoms of the flu. As peppers are much more versatile than oranges it is easy to incorporate them into many different meals such as stuffed peppers, or sweet potato and red pepper soup.

Almonds: A superb source of vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that fights disease! Almonds are a very simple snack to carry around in between lectures; they are also much healthier than your usual sugary snack.

Carrots: Orange veggies, like carrots, contain something called beta-carotene which is converted in the body to vitamin A, this then helps boost immunity. Of course carrots are a brilliant side dish to many different meals, but they also make great snacks during the day.

Dark chocolate: This sounds too good to be true, right? Well the high doses of cocoa that goes into dark chocolate help to promote the growth of T-cells, which means to you and me, that it helps to increase the immune system’s ability to defend against disease. However, unfortunately a little goes a long way here, and steering away from sugary foods for the most part is very beneficial.

Cure

So the symptoms have started, and it’s time to crawl into bed with the warm Lemsip hoping your flatmates will wait on you hand and foot. Although there are a few food stuffs that will help build your body back up whilst it tackles the flu:

Protein: This is necessary to keeping the body strong and to keep building strength as the immune system fights the infection. Good examples of protein are lean meat, fish, dairy, eggs, nuts and seeds. I like to get a good portion of protein into almost every meal I eat!

Chicken soup: I couldn’t leave this staple out, could I? Of course the vegetables that go into the broth are very helpful in fighting disease, but perhaps it’s the comfort that chicken soup gives us that helps the most. The warm silky liquid helps keep us warm whilst the chills set in, and doesn’t irritate your sore throat either!

Ginger: The compound, gingerol, usually found in fresh ginger helps to fight off infection as well as the anti-sickness properties that it holds. Ginger is a wonderful ingredient to spice up different foods such as Asian cuisine.

Mushrooms: Mushrooms contain selenium and beta-glucan, which both help to clear up sickness and to fight infection. I know many people that would turn their noses up at the thought of eating mushrooms, so if you are one of those people, chopping them up very small into a simple meal like spaghetti Bolognese is an easy and disguisable way of eating these little veggies.

All in all there are plenty of ways to look after ourselves whether that is prevention of colds and flu or curing the dreaded symptoms, so head down to the shops and stock up on essentials making sure lying in bed is all you have to do when the illness strikes.

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