To Your Health

To Your Health By Pam Carter, RD Fight the flu with food

Your first thought when talking about flu season may be the infamous flu shot shortage. Yet the most potent weapon against the battle of the bug may be in your kitchen. Whether you got a flu shot or not, the good news is � there are plenty of foods that have been shown to help fight the flu.

Here are a few foods that you might want add to your flu-fighting arsenal:

* Orange juice � It's well known that orange juice is an excellent source of vitamin C which has been found to fight certain viruses and bacteria and decrease the duration and severity of colds. If you have a cold or feel a cold coming on, most studies show that 1000 mg of vitamin C a day is effective. One cup of Tropicana orange juice every hour for eight hours would provide approximately 1000 mg of vitamin C.

* Whole fruits and vegetables � Eating whole fruits and vegetables does more than a vitamin supplement. Whole fruits and vegetables, such as apples instead of applesauce or oranges instead of orange juice, offer beneficial plant chemicals called phytochemicals which protect our bodies from disease. Some strengthen the immune system and others protect against heart disease and cancer. According to the Produce for a Better Health Foundation, people who consume green, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables have a better chance of not developing a secondary or bacterial infection after a simple cold.

* Zinc �Zinc is important for building immune functions and may help lesson the severity of some cold symptoms. A diet low in this mineral could weaken the immune system. Animal sources of zinc are absorbed best; they include lean red meat, eggs, oysters, shellfish and milk. Other non-animal sources of zinc include wheat germ, whole-wheat foods, lima beans, soybeans, peanuts and baked beans.

* Yogurt � Yogurt is a yummy flu fighter. Not only is it rich in calcium and protein, it also contains live and active cultures called probiotics or friendly bacteria. These friendly bacteria appear to strengthen our bodies' resistance to infection, help with digestive disorders, ease diarrhea and boost our immune system. For general good health, simply add some yummy yogurt to your daily diet.

* Chicken noodle soup � Can chicken noodle soup really fight the flu or cure the common cold? A University of Nebraska researcher found that chicken noodle soup had a positive effect on clearing up colds. However, no one has been able to identify the ingredients in the soup that make us feel better. Some think it's the steam � sipping the hot soup and breathing the steam helps clear congestion. Others say it's the spices such as garlic and pepper that are normally added to soup which are known for their ancient treatments of respiratory disease. Some think it might simply be soup's comforting characteristics.

Ease the flu with Chicken Tomatillo Soup

All you need:

1 T. Bertolli olive oil

1 small zucchini, diced

1/4 cup onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

4 cups water

1 package Knorr Pasta Soup with Chicken

1 cup shredded cooked chicken

1/2 cup prepared salsa verde

1/2 cup queso fresco cheese

All you do:

In 4-quart saucepot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat and cook zucchini and onion, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, 30 seconds. Stir in water, Knorr Pasta Soup with Chicken and shredded chic-ken. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes. Stir in salsa verde. Serve with cheese and garnish, if desired, with chopped fresh cilantro.

Hy-Vee registered dietitians are available to the public to answer questions about smart eating. For more information, recipe ideas, or to contact your local dietitians, visit and click on health or call toll-free 866-865-4878.

This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

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