7 Natural Cold and Flu Fighting Foods

Now more than ever, it’s important to learn these natural cold and flu-fighting foods to help support your health. While I take care of my immune system year-round through diet and lifestyle, when my kids get sick or I feel a tickle in my throat I often turn to a few key foods for extra support. 

 “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” 

Isn’t it wonderful that we can eat our way into better health? We can even strengthen our immune system while enjoying delicious plant-based foods and beverages. I love that! 

 

Immune-boosting foods

Do you know why a particular food supports the immune system? The simplified version is that foods high in antioxidants, like vitamin C, E, and A help because they reduce free radical damage which can damage all cells in the body, including all of the cells used by the immune system. So, the key is to reduce the damage so the immune system can work at full capacity. 


Since there are a lot of natural cold and flu-fighting foods that support the immune system, I find it is best to pick the foods that have antioxidant power AND that I like the taste of. That way I am excited to take my “medicine”. If you missed the first post in this series about boosting your immune health, make sure you read 5 Ways to Boost Your Immune System.

Now for the fun part, I am going to share with you my absolute favorite antioxidant foods because they taste amazing to me, they are cost-effective and they are SIMPLE. I hope you find one that gets you into the kitchen to discover the healing benefits of plants.

Here are the antioxidant superstars that I prefer! 

lemon natural cold and flu fighting foods

Lemon

Lemon is packed with vitamin C and delivers around 90% of the recommended daily value – it’s like taking a supplement. That is so impressive to me. My favorite way to enjoy lemon is sipping on a warm mug of lemon water to start my day-  it is such a comfort. And an added bonus is that it preps your digestive system for breakfast. That’s a win-win. Also, you can drink it any time of the day of course, and I find that adding a few slices in my water bottle is a delightful way to get even more Vitamin C in. 

Goji Berries Natural Cold and Flu Fighting Food

Goji Berries

Goji berries are also antioxidant superstars and have been an important part of Chinese medicine for 5,000 years for good reason. They are rich in antioxidant vitamins C and E as well as B vitamins. Not only do I love that they taste great and support my immune system but they are known to be great for skin health and anti-aging. Just another reason to give them a try. 

 

I like to add these to my oatmeal or to a smoothie. I also like to make tea by adding a 1/4 cup of berries to one cup of boiling water. Let it steep for at least 5 minutes and drink the tea hot or chill to make iced-tea. Once the tea is brewed you can eat the plumped up berries…which are also a complete protein source! These are the goji berries in my pantry.

 

Ginger

I bet you have heard about how anti-inflammatory ginger is. That is because of its high antioxidant levels. Antioxidants reduce inflammation because they reduce damage. Ginger also improves circulation and soothes the digestive tract, so it is extra supportive if you have any tummy trouble. 

 

My favorite way to enjoy ginger is making tea, noticing a theme yet? I like warm, cozy drinks! I drink a mug at least once a day, or more if I am already under the weather. My kids like it too….with a spoonful of raw honey. 

morning routine mom lemon water 

Here’s how to make it: 

Cut off 2” of ginger and slice into flat slivers.

Add 2 cups of filtered water in a saucepot, plus a cinnamon stick. 

Bring to a simmer for 15 minutes. 

Strain, add in the juice of half a lemon. Sweeten with a little raw honey if needed.

 

Turmeric cold and flu fighter

Turmeric

Have you heard of golden milk? Its key ingredient is another anti-inflammatory super root –turmeric. Like ginger, its immune-boosting ability lies in its high antioxidant levels. When you consume it fresh you will want to add a little black pepper to help activate it….don’t worry, you can’t really taste it! 

In addition to being one of the best natural cold and flu-fighting foods, turmeric also has anti-cancer properties. It has the cancer-fighting compound curcumin, which has all those anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits.

 

Medicinal Mushrooms

Did you know that mushrooms are cancer-fighting superfoods? They are well documented to slow tumor growth and support the immune system in all of its functions. Even white button mushrooms are beneficial. But for an extra boost give some of the medicinal mushrooms, which have been in use since 3,000BCE, a try: 

  • Chaga 
  • Cordyceps 
  • Lion’s Mane 
  • Maitake 
  • Oyster 
  • Reishi 
  • Shiitake 
  • Turkey Tail 

Their anti-inflammatory properties make them another natural cold and flu-fighting food. One way I love to incorporate these mushrooms varieties is by drinking one of Four Sigmatic’s elixirs warmed up in my favorite mug. 

kombucha and goji berries

Kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented beverage that supports better gut health. That means it also supports your immune defense system! We make our own, but there are lots of good ones on the market. Look for ones low in sugar and be mindful of the serving size. I like to make a  batch flavored with goji berries, and then I eat the berries for a natural energy boost! 

This fizzy drink is full of probiotics, as the tea and sugar ferment, it creates a healthy bacteria that are good for the gut. Start with a simple one that is ginger or apple flavored. My kids love it too!

 

morning routine for moms lemon water

The best natural cold and flu fighter? Water.

Water isn’t full of antioxidants but hydration is essential for our bodies to function efficiently. Dehydration can compromise your immune system by reducing the volume of lymphatic fluid, which circulates white blood cells and cleans out toxins. Dehydration also leads to inflammation and any time we are inflamed the immune system is taxed since it is called on to do damage control. 

Perhaps there is a reason I am drawn to hot beverages with medicinal foods…after all I think our bodies know what we need and hydration is vital, especially for healthy immune function. You can eat all the natural cold and flu-fighting foods, but if you are dehydrated, your body’s immune system will still be compromised. 


Air

Not technically a food, but still so important. And here’s why.

Most of us don’t think about consuming air as we think about consuming liquids and foods, but we should. What comes in with our air affects our health and our immune system. When we breathe in toxins such as chemicals and mold, our bodies respond with inflammation which, over time, taxes the immune system. 

 

I am a huge fan of filtering my indoor air and I personally use Air Doctor. It is SO quiet and I feel so much peace of mind knowing that their filter is certified to remove mold spores (100%), smoke, dust, cat and dog dander, virus, bacteria, and pollen; and the carbon filter will reduce many VOC’s such as formaldehyde as well as many other odor/odorless chemicals.

It feels so good to support the health of my family too. I may not be able to get my kids to drink mushroom tea so knowing that the air they are breathing in is free from toxins and pollutants makes me feel like a good mom. You can get your own Air Doctor Pro and save $300 automatically when shopping with me.

Does air doctor kill the flu virus

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Now, I know even a small list can be overwhelming, so I want to urge you to pick the ONE thing that caught your attention from my list of natural cold and flu-fighting foods. What feels exciting to try AND is doable? This resource will be here for you anytime you want to add another one in, so no rush. Try what feels good to you and let me know if you have any questions. I am here for you…with a warm mug of medicine cupped in my hands.

Natural Cold and Flu Fighting Foods