5 Foods to Eat & 5 Foods to Avoid to Prevent the Cold & Flu

In our previous post we discussed one of the secrets to making it through the fall and winter seasons without getting sick — developing the cold-and-flu-fighting capacity of your immune system!  What most folks don’t realize is we have a tremendous influence over the strength of our immune system and our body’s ability to fight off foreign germs, outside invaders, and seasonal bugs.  Whether it’s creating nutritional balance, developing our physical fitness, or incorporating effective stress management techniques into our day there are all kinds of steps we can take to develop our Immune Power and increase our resistance to disease.  In this article we are going to take this subject one step further and explore the top 5 foods to eat and the top 5 foods to avoid to prevent the cold and flu.

For additional information on how to build your immunity against the cold and the flu,  check out our Check Out our Seasonal Cleanse Guide.

The Top 5 Foods to Avoid

Let’s start with the 5 foods that are most problematic when it comes to the cold and the flu.  These are the specific foods that you want to minimize or avoid, particularly around the change of the season, that weaken your immune response and increase your risk for upper respiratory complications.  What are the 5 foods that I want you to steer clear of?  It’s best to stay away from:

  1. Milk
  2. Cheese
  3. Eggs
  4. Refined Sugar / Sugary Sweets
  5. Refined Carbohydrates

So what is it in particular about these foods that can get you into trouble?  The problem with eggs, dairy products, refined carbohydrates, and refined sugars is twofold.  First off, they can be very mucous forming and have a way of clogging up your upper respiratory system.  Unfortunately, when your upper respiratory passages get backed up, it creates an environment for bacteria and viruses to take hold and spread.  This puts your immune system at a tremendous disadvantage and makes you much more vulnerable to the cold and flu.  I’ve also observed that these foods have a way of impairing the lymph system and weakening your immune response.  In this manner, these 5 foods can increase your risk for catching a virus and prolong the amount of time that it takes to recover from the cold or flu.

The Top 5 Foods to Eat

Just as there are certain foods to avoid around the change of the seasons, there are also foods that you can emphasize that will boost your immune system and help prevent upper respiratory infections.  For example, I’ve found that fresh-squeezed citrus juices — such as fresh squeezed orange juice and fresh squeezed grapefruit juice — are very effective in helping to prevent and recover from a cold or flu.  What is it that makes citrus fruits and their juices so special?  What I’ve learned over the years is that citrus fruits have a detergent action, loosening up and preventing excess mucus build-up in the upper respiratory passages (the exact opposite effect of mucous forming milk, eggs, and dairy).  This makes it much more difficult for viruses to take hold and spread.  In addition, citrus fruits are full of vitamin C and other immune boosting compounds that build your body’s cold-and-flu-fighting capacity.  With that in mind, let’s take a look at the top 5 foods you can eat to protect your upper respiratory system from seasonal viruses.

  1. Oranges / Orange Juice
  2. Grapefruits / Grapefruit Juice
  3. Pineapples
  4. Mangoes
  5. Romaine Lettuce / Leafy Greens

You’ll notice that in addition to the citrus fruits and juices, we’ve also included romaine lettuce in our list.  Your leafy greens, such as romaine lettuce, are a staple to an immune boosting nutritional program.  They are a great source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and other phytonutrients that strengthen immune function and increase your resistance to the cold and flu.

Eat Your Citrus Fruits & Leafy Greens Fresh, Whole, & Alive!

It’s important to note that to maximize the nutritional and therapeutic benefits of your citrus fruits and leafy green vegetables, it best to eat them fresh and raw.  When your fruits and veggies are cooked, refined, canned, or processed it can devitalize and denature a lot of the phytonutrients and antioxidants that are responsible for the therapeutic benefits.  With that in mind, make sure to:

  • Enjoy your fresh citrus fruits in the morning or in fresh squeezed juices or smoothies during the day
  • Make sure to have at least one fresh vegetable salad with lunch or dinner, emphasizing romaine lettuce or leafy green vegetables as a base, and
  • Minimize or eliminate milk, dairy, eggs, refined carbohydrates, and refined sugars

In doing so you’ll be going a long way in protecting your upper respiratory passages, boosting your immune system, and fending off the seasonal cold and flu.

  • By Kent Rivera, December 22, 2011 @ 3:14 am

    how about honey? Is that something to avoid (sugar) or have more of (antioxidants) during the cold/flu season?

  • By Jenny Wilkinson, December 22, 2011 @ 3:49 am

    Poor eggs. They have gotten a beating (no pun intended) again. But they will prevail, as they always do…

  • By Joanna Collins, December 22, 2011 @ 4:28 am

    listing those 5 foods to avoid should be refined: there are lots of others that I would avoid before I would ut out eggs and milk! So much other junk out there to avoid!

  • By Redbeard, December 22, 2011 @ 6:08 am

    you are absolutely right with the dairy products, it is something my mother used to tell me about and it does work!

  • By Ross the Boss, December 22, 2011 @ 10:09 am

    it is interesting that you mention romain lettuce in particular… are other lettuces less effective??

  • By Gordon Jiang, December 22, 2011 @ 12:02 pm

    I think if we just try and eat more fruots and vegetables all around it would benefit us regardless of the season. And eat seasonally and try to buy locally.

  • By Eugene Brewer, December 22, 2011 @ 12:39 pm

    Thank-you for once again showing that milk is not as great as everyone makes it out to be! It probably does more harm to people than what people realize!

Other Links to this Post

  1. Meltzer Wellness Institute » The Secret to Preventing the Cold & Flu — December 12, 2011 @ 5:49 pm