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Flu Season Foods

Now that the relatively delightful chilliness of October has come and gone, the full-on cold, horrid days of November and December are looming large. And you know what that means – flu season is coming up. Even with the advent of the flu shot and despite the staggering drop in flu diagnoses the last couple of years due to COVID-19 measures (social distancing, masks, hand-washing), the flu is one of those unwanted guests that a lot of us just have to put up with year after year.

As with most things in my life, I find that the best way to treat being sick is to do so through food (also, you know, vaccines and listening to a doctor, but that should go without saying…) So, in order to help make your flu experience a little less horrible, I’ve compiled a list of the best foods to eat to help you recover from the flu:

Chicken Soup/Broth

Ah, a classic – chicken soup having healing properties is so ubiquitous that it has seeped into the collective unconscious. However, the scientific evidence readily agrees that chicken soup (or even just chicken broth) can combat illness as it has properties that relieve congestion, boosts your immune system, and even acts as a mild anti-inflammatory.

Lemon Chicken with Spinach and Wild Rice Soup

Ready to make soup?
Find the this Chicken soup recipe here!

Oranges/Vitamin C

While some people continue to vacillate between whether vitamin C is actually good for you when you have a cold or whether that is a story made up by Big Pharma to push vitamin C pills in the 1970s, the scientific evidence doesn’t lie. We feel the effects of the flu much less with a good dose of vitamin C in our systems, so reach for those citrus fruits!


I’m constantly trying to find new ways to expand my definition of soup, and I think I can say that yogurt is definitely a soup. It’s a liquid, it has a cream/dairy base, and it often contains fruit to add to the flavour. That aside, yogurt is fantastic for you when you have the flu, as the naturally occurring bacteria in yogurt has been found to actually help combat the flu.

Oatmeal with Banana

I’m not the biggest fan of oatmeal, but I certainly respect it. It is an incredibly quick food to make, satisfyingly filling, and is loaded with prebiotics that can help your immune system combat the flu or other colds/illnesses you may have. While the best way to eat oatmeal is with a ton of maple syrup and brown sugar in it, that’s probably not the best to have such sugary supplements when you’re sick. Most experts recommend adding a banana to compound the health benefits of oatmeal.

Ice Cream

This one has zero nutritional value or scientific properties that help you combat a cold. Straight-up, I added this because when you have the flu, you feel horrible. And ice cream makes people feel good. I figure you’re sick, so you deserve to sit in a pile of blankets with a tub of your favourite ice cream.

What are the sickbed meals that you swear by? And why is it ice cream?

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Tayla Blaire

Tayla Blaire is a South African writer, teacher, epicurean, and (most importantly) mother to all cats. Tayla has been thinking (and subsequently writing) about food since she was a tiny tot after her mother taught her that measuring ingredients was for the weak. If you’re interested to see what Tayla has whipped up recently, check out her Instagram profile @tayla.blaire to see the recipes that she has lovingly filmed in her very own too-small kitchen.

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