What To Eat To Combat The Flu

Flu season is here in full force and we're all dropping like flies. And while eating may have taken a back seat on the priority agenda when you’re feeling just plain awful, it’s essential to feed your body the nutrients it needs to fight back against those pesky germs. But before you reach for the can of chicken noodle soup, we recommend trying to incorporate some soothing foods full of healing ingredients into your sick-day diet.

Think garlic, ginger, lemon, turmeric and leafy greens packed full of Vitamin C to fight the germs, probiotics and cumin to boost your immune system and potassium and grains to give you a boost of energy.

We’ve scoured the best and easiest (because who wants to spend any more than what’s absolutely necessary out of bed) recipes out there and have come up with three good-for-you meals that not only taste delicious but will help your body while it fights off this god-awful virus.

Spinach & Potato Soup (recipe from Green Kitchen Stories) Serves 4

Leafy greens pack a serious dose of Vitamin C and the addition of immune-supporting ginger, garlic, and chilli makes this warming bowl of soup one of the best things to eat when you’re sick.

1 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil 2 small leeks, rinsed and finely chopped 2 cloves garlic 1-2 tbsp fresh ginger 2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped 600 g potatoes, peeled 4 cups/1 liter vegetable stock (or 4 cups / 1 liter water + 1 tbsp dried vegetable stock powder) 1 large bunch / 150 g large-leaf fresh spinach, rinsed and thick stems discarded

Serve with:

  • 1 avocado, sliced yogurt or coconut yogurt hemp seeds drizzle of olive oil

Heat oil in a large sauce pan on medium heat. Rinse and finely chop the leeks, peel and crush the garlic and grate the ginger. Add them to the saucepan along with the thyme and let sauté for a few minutes until soft and smells fragrant. Peel the potatoes, cut them into quarters and add them to the saucepan along with vegetable stock. Let cook for 10-15 minutes and then add spinach. Stir to let the spinach wilt down into the soup and let simmer for just a few minutes. Use a hand blender to mix the soup smooth. Add salt, taste and adjust the flavours.

Serve the soup topped with a quartered and sliced avocado, a dollop of yoghurt, a squeeze of lemon, a scattering of hemp seeds and a drizzle of olive oil.

Healing Bowls (recipe from Pinch of Yum)

Serves 4

You’ve got brown rice and/or quinoa to give a welcome energy boost, turmeric which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and garlic, which has a naturally occurring anti-viral compound called allicin, plus lemon to help decongest your sinuses.

Turmeric mashed sweet potatoes:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
  • a swish of olive oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth

Lemon herb dressing:

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 2 teaspoons agave
  • 1/4 cup parsley leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (more to taste)

Healing bowls:

  • poached or scrambled eggs
  • brown rice or quinoa
  • rocket or spinach or any greens
  • pistachios or other nuts for topping

TURMERIC MASHED SWEET POTATOES: Heat the sweet potatoes with olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the turmeric and toss to coat. Add the garlic and vegetable broth. Simmer until the potatoes are soft and the liquid is almost all absorbed. Transfer to a small bowl and mash. Season with salt and pepper and/or a touch of cream if you want to be lush about it.

DRESSING: Pulse all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Season to taste.

BOWLS: Toss the greens with a little dressing. You can also stir a little dressing into the sweet potatoes – that’s yummy. Serve each bowl with the mashed sweet potatoes, brown rice, greens, and a scrambled or poached or fried egg. Top with more dressing and a handful of pistachios.

Tomato And Chickpea Curry (recipe from Madeline Shaw)

Serves 2

This spicy, garlic-y curry is great for its protein content and healing spices. Cumin and ginger for an immunity boost, garlic for its antibacterial properties and a kick of chilli to clear your sinuses.

  •  1 tsp of cumin
  • 2 tsp of coriander
  • 1 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 1 white onion, finely diced
  • 2 inches of grated ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 400g of tomatoes
  • 400g can of chickpeas
  • 1 pinch of chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp of garam masala
  • salt and pepper

Dry fry the cumin and coriander in a large pot and then add the coconut oil and onion. Sauté for 5 minutes. Crush the garlic and throw it in with the ginger and some cracked pepper, stir for a minute. Pour in the tomatoes and chickpeas. Throw in the chilli and garam masala. Cook for 30 minutes constantly stirring. For an extra vitamin boost, add a handful of spinach leaves just before serving.