What to Eat and Drink to Fight Colds and Flu

I recently called our pediatrician’s office and asked when I should bring in my 6-year-old daughter to get her vaccine. “As soon as possible. We only have five left.” Needless to say, I scheduled an appointment for the next day. No one wants to get the flu or have family members get sick with it. And even though peak season for flu won’t hit until the winter, there’s no time like the present to get prepared.

If you’ve gotten your flu shot and you wash your hands religiously, you may wonder what more you can do to arm yourself against becoming sick. While there’s no way to absolutely guarantee you won’t get sick, eating a nutrient-rich diet can help guard against illness. Add these six foods to your routine to prevent and fight colds and flu this season:

1. Mango. This sunny fruit is packed with vitamins A and C. Vitamin A plays a role in immunity, and vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight free radical damage caused by environmental stress. Vitamin C also helps shorten the duration of colds. One cup of sweet, juicy mango has 75 percent of your vitamin C for the day and 25 percent of your vitamin A.

Tip: Blend fresh mangos into smoothies, add it diced to oatmeal or use it in salsa to top chicken and fish.

2. Puerh tea (pronounce poo-urr). Puerh is a fermented tea that boasts more antioxidants than green tea. It has a rich, earthy flavor. Fend off colds and flu with a hot toddy made with puerh tea.

Tip: Make a puerh hot toddy. Brew the tea, then add strips of lemon zest, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of honey and an optional splash of whiskey.

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