My alarm was set for 5:30 a.m. My plan was to get up, head to the gym and run 3 miles.
The alarm went off and my head was pounding. I tried to swallow and my throat felt like sandpaper.
I hit snooze.
When I finally peeled myself off my pillow at 7 a.m. I assessed my physical symptoms. Sore throat, headache, overall exhaustion. My first thought was, “I don’t have time to be sick!” I have a story due on deadline this morning, I have an interview this afternoon, I’m teaching a fitness class at 5:30 p.m. and I’m meeting a girlfriend for a cupcake decorating class at 7 p.m. Tomorrow is just as full.
So what’s a girl to do? Power through and hope it gets better? Or cancel everything? I’m more of a power through type of girl, but I also don’t want my sickness to last forever because I didn’t take the time to let my body heal.
I believe that you are what you eat. If you eat healthy foods, you feel healthy. So it makes sense that there are foods that can help beat cold or flu symptoms. My plan is to power through my commitments, but feed my body all these illness-busting nutrient dense foods. (If I’m still feeling sick in a couple days, maybe I’ll take a day off.)
Whole Grains - they’re loaded with zinc, which is vital for maintaining a healthy immune system. Try whole grain pasta with tomato sauce, brown rice with veggies or oatmeal.
Bananas - they contain vitamin B6, which helps your body fight infection. Eat a banana sliced over whole-grain cereal or oatmeal.
Cayenne Pepper - the active ingredient in the spice, capsaicin, beats congestion by thinning the mucus in your nasal passages so you can breathe freely again. Sprinkle some in soup or on a bean burrito.
Sweet Potatoes - they’re one of the best sources of beta-carotene (a form of Vitamin A), which your body needs to make enough white blood cells to fight infection.
Garlic - allicin, one of the active components in freshly crushed garlic, can zap viruses by blocking enzymes that lead to infection.
Or try these healthy snacks or meals that will help you get through cold and flu season.
Vegetarian Chili - a spicy chili made with onions, garlic, kidney beans and tomato paste not only warms up a cold-afflicted body, it may also have medicinal properties. Onions and garlic have antiviral effects, beans have good-for-the-immune system B vitamins, and the spices can actually help clear sinuses.
Fresh Clementines - research shows that while Vitamin C can’t prevent colds, it can cut down on the duration and severity of colds. Clementines are a great source of Vitamin C.
Roast Beef Sandwich - zinc plays a big role in immune system functioning, and has been shown to stop the growth of microorganisms in the body, including some bacteria and viruses (and a virus is what causes colds). Both roast beef and whole-grain bread are great sources of zinc.
Chicken Soup - chicken soup is the perfect snack when you’ve got a cold. Not only is the warm broth comforting and soothing, research at the University of Nebraska Medical Center showed that chicken soup helps control the production of inflammation and congestion-causing neutrophils (white blood cells).
Tuna Salad - packed with glutamine, an amino acid that helps step up your immune system’s efficiency, tuna is a great pick when you’re sick. Research at the University of Oxford showed that athletes who ingested glutamine after workouts were less likely to get an upper respiratory infection than those who didn’t. For regular people, glutamine could have the same effects.
Ginger Tea with Gingersnaps - ginger helps relieve congestion and has a soothing, spicy taste. To make a throat-calming, congestion-busting tea, steep chopped raw ginger in boiling water for about 10 minutes. Make your tea a little sweeter by adding a teaspoon of honey to the brew and have some gingersnap cookies on the side.
*From Fitness Magazine