7 Antiviral Foods To Improve Immunity This Cold And Flu Season
Clean Eating|November - December 2018

Take a stand against influenza and other nasty pathogens by adding these 7 antiviral foods to your plate this cold and flu season to improve immune response and fight sickness.

Lisa Turner

Black tea is rich in a group of pathogen-fighting compounds that can protect against a variety of viral infections. Tea leaves contain naturally occurring compounds, including polyphenols, catechins and alkaloids like caffeine, theobromine and theophylline that defend the plants against invading pathogens such as bacteria, fungi and viruses. Older studies show black tea can almost completely inhibit the infectivity of influenza virus. And in one study, black tea extract, rich in flavanol compounds called theaflavins, inhibited herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1) infection. Try this: Purée strong-brewed black tea with grated ginger, frozen mango and Greek yogurt for a flu-busting breakfast; steep black tea bags in hot water then use as a broth to cook brown rice, garlic and onions.

Shiitake mushrooms are loaded with beta-glucans, antiviral compounds that have been shown to inhibit viral replication and enhance immune function. In one study, people who ate shiitake mushrooms for four weeks showed improved markers of immunity, as well as reduced inflammation. Other studies show shiitake mushrooms also have significant antibacterial and antifungal properties, and they protected against 85% of the yeasts, molds and other organisms they were tested on. Try this: Thinly slice shiitake mushroom caps, toss with melted coconut oil and minced garlic and roast until crisp; stir-fry shiitakes, slivered carrots, broccoli, sliced red peppers and minced ginger in sesame oil and tamari then toss with cooked soba or rice noodles.

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