The Best Foods to Eat When You’re Sick

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What can you do to help yourself feel better when you’re run down and feeling less like yourself than normal? Nutritionist Tina Ruggiero recommends five foods that will help boost your immune system and get you back on your feet fast!

Kiwis and Oranges
“Whether or not vitamin C is effective at preventing a viral infection that will cause a cold is still being debated, but research has shown that increasing your vitamin C intake can reduce the length of a cold and decrease the severity of those symptoms,” says Ruggiero. Look for fruits that are good sources of vitamin C like kiwis, oranges, strawberries and blueberries.

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Oats and Barley
Ruggiero explains, “Oats and barley contain a type of fiber called beta-glucan, which has antimicrobial capabilities. It can also speed up wound healing and may help antioxidants work more effectively.” So start your day off with a bowl of oatmeal instead of your regular bagel.

Fish and Shellfish
Ruggiero says that shellfish—think oysters, lobster and crab—can help white blood cells produce proteins that clear flu viruses from the body, and omega 3–rich fish—salmon, mackerel and herring are a few good ones—reduce inflammation, increasing airflow and protect the lungs from respiratory infections.

Black and Green Tea
Time to drink up! Ruggiero recommends drinking tea in varieties of green and black, which have been shown to bolster immunity. “To maintain the strongest immune system possible, combine a healthy diet with regular exercise and stress reduction. That equation is the best formula for staying healthy.”

Garlic and Onions
Now is the time to start cooking for your health. Look for ingredients that are delicious and have added benefits. “Both garlic and onions are antiviral and have been show to increased immune function,” says Ruggiero.

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