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What To Eat With The Flu

What Is The Flu?

Influenza (Flu) is an acute pathological condition of a viral nature (influenza viruses A, B, and C of the Orthomyxovirus family) affecting the respiratory tract. It is a seasonal disease, more frequent in winter, characterized by the rapid onset (1-2 days of incubation), high contagiousness, and the ability to target men and women of all ages indiscriminately. Its rapid spread, the possibility of severe complications for some people, particularly children, the elderly, and those suffering from chronic diseases, management and treatment costs, and social costs (e.g., lost working days, lower productivity, etc.) make flu a significant problem.

Flu Symptoms, Diagnosis, And Therapy

The main signs and symptoms of this annoying viral disease are:

  1. fever, often accompanied by chills
  2. weakness and exhaustion, a sense of malaise
  3. asthenia
  4. muscle and joint pain
  5. headache
  6. sore throat
  7. dry cough
  8. cold (nasal congestion)

Influenza generally lasts 5-7 days, after which it tends to regress spontaneously. A visit to your doctor is usually sufficient for its diagnosis, who may prescribe some analgesic and antipyretic drugs.

Influenza Feeding: General Guidelines

The binding effect of the diet can make the difference, before and during, on the incidence, impact, and course of flu. To protect yourself, you must, above all:

  1. Increase the consumption of foods rich in vitamins, especially C and E. It should be emphasized that vitamin C is subject to degradation due to instability in heat and oxygen. Therefore fruits and vegetables rich in this vitamin should be stored indoors, not exposed to direct sunlight, and, once started, they should be consumed immediately (e.g., freshly squeezed juices or extracts made and drunk on the spot). About vegetables, in particular, steam cooking must be preferred as it is the only one capable of retaining a good amount of the vitamins and mineral salts present in fresh vegetables.
  2. Consume foods that contain minerals such as iron, zinc, and selenium. In Grana Padano PDO, for example, there are excellent quantities of zinc and selenium, minerals that perform an antioxidant and protective function on the body.
  3. Ensure proper daily hydration (at least 2 L per day) to replenish the fluids lost due to sweating caused by feverish high temperatures.
  4. Introduces the right amount of daily calories to help the immune system cope better with the virus. To find out how many calories you should take every day, download this weight control program for free: you will receive by email delicious menus of the Mediterranean tradition balanced in macro and micronutrients and built specifically for your daily energy, as well as a program of targeted physical activity.

What To Eat With The Flu

Fresh fruit, especially those rich in vitamin C, such as kiwis and citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits, mandarins, etc.), and strawberries. Vegetables to be eaten, preferably raw or steamed. Above all, I prefer raw tomatoes and peppers (richer in vitamin C), broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, all brassicas, spinach, and rocket. It is necessary to consume at least one portion of vegetables per meal, trying to vary the colors often. Vegetables can also be eaten in the form of soups, pureed or velvety, with the addition of pasta or rice or legumes, or potatoes, to be seasoned with a drizzle of raw extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of grated Grana Padano PDO (to be also used instead of salt). 

In addition to its tasty flavor, this cheese provides good proteins with high biological value, nine essential amino acids, lots of calcium, important vitamins such as A and those of group B (B2 and B12), zinc, and selenium. Nuts such as walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, and pistachios are rich in vitamins, essential minerals such as zinc, magnesium, and potassium, and “good fats like Omega-3s. Dried fruit can be eaten plain (a handful, about 20-25 g), or it can be added to salads or yogurt. Milk and derivatives (yogurt, fresh and aged cheeses). An excellent habit is drinking a cup of milk for breakfast or consuming a yogurt jar as a snack. A couple of times a week, as the main course instead of meat or eggs, you can finish 50-60 grams of Grana Padano PDO, which is naturally lactose-free and can offer all the good nutrients of cow’s milk even to those who are intolerant, especially calcium and noble proteins. 

Meat, both red and white, choosing from the leanest cuts and deprived of visible fat. Poultry should preferably be eaten without the skin. Fish, both fresh and frozen, as it is rich in zinc which helps fight infections. It should be consumed at least three times a week, preferably choosing the blue one (sardines, bonito, herring, anchovies, mackerel, etc.) and salmon for the higher content of Omega-3. Legumes such as chickpeas, beans, broad beans, peas, lentils, etc., provide many vegetable proteins, vitamins, and mineral salts such as iron and fiber and have a low glycemic index. Legumes should be eaten at least twice a week, much more often, for those who do not consume animal products. To avoid or limit meteorism, it is advisable to consume them in the past. 

Cereals (pasta, bread, rice, spelt, barley, etc.), preferably whole meal, are richer in zinc and are to be consumed alternating with refined ones (proportion 50/50). Water, at least 2 liters per day. Hot drinks such as tea, American coffee, barley coffee, herbal teas, and preferably unsweetened infusions, helpful in hydrating and warming up, are recommended. In the evening, it is better to drink decaffeinated tea or barley coffee. Spices and aromatic herbs such as pepper, turmeric, curry, paprika (sweet or spicy), cinnamon, ginger, basil, parsley, sage, rosemary, etc., as they are rich in antioxidants that help strengthen the immune system. Depending on your personal tastes and tolerance, they can be used as desired to give flavor to sweet and savory foods and replace salt.

Tips For Defending Yourself From The Flu

  1. Flu vaccines are the best way to prevent and fight the flu, and they apply to us and those around us. It is essential to point out that the flu cannot be cured with antibiotics as these drugs cannot defeat the virus. Antibiotics should not be used except in the presence of inflammation caused by bacteria. Please do not insist on taking them as they could raise the body’s antibiotic resistance: always consult your doctor for a correct diagnosis and therapy.
  2. Wash your hands often to prevent infection and limit the spread of germs. For the same reason, it can be convenient to use disposable plastic tableware.
  3. Avoid, when possible, closed and crowded places (shopping centers, subways, buses, etc.) where the spread of the virus is easier.
  4. Frequently ventilating the rooms and circulating the air is an excellent way to prevent germs from increasing.
  5. Get regular sleep (at least 7 hours a night ), as a rested physique also has a more robust immune system.
  6. Too dry air can cause a sore throat and cough. If possible, use a humidifier at home with balsamic substances that facilitate breathing.


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