Monday, November 2, 2009
Medical Reports: Flu Fighters
With a shortage of H1N1 vaccinations nationwide, everyone is doing everything they can to avoid the flu. but what you eat could be one of your families best weapons. Seven's Lynn Martinez shows us the foods that are the top Flu Fighters.
WSVN -- There have been nearly 40 deaths from H1N1 flu in South Florida alone, so it's no surprise parents like Dahlia Trask are worried.
Dahlia Trask: "My biggest fear is the flu. I do not want it anywhere near my family."
The stakes are higher for her family this season. Her 8- year-old son has a chronic disease and a weakened immune system.
Dahlia Trask: "He is one of the kids that's at the greatest risk to get the H1N1. For him, I'm really scared."
She's taking the same precautions most parents are taking extra cleaning of household surfaces thorough hand washing and of course daily vitamins, but part of the battle is also being fought in the fridge, which is filled with healthy foods.
Dahlia Trask: "In here, we have a lot of fruits and vegetables."
She's got the right idea. Experts say there are certain foods that can boost your immune system and fight the flu.
Sheah Rarback: "Zinc is critical to fighting off infection. Low zinc, more likely to get sick. The highest source of zinc is oysters, whether they are cooked or raw.
Another good flu-fighter is garlic.
Sheah Rarback: "Garlic is loaded with high sulfur compounds, that ward off disease. In fact, there was a study that showed people who ate garlic are 2/3's less likely to get a cold."
You might want to toss that garlic with shiitake mushrooms, they help the body produce more disease- fighting white blood cells.
Sheah Rarback: "It's going to fight not only the flu, but cancer after the flu season is over."
Just as important add some spice to your life. Cinnamon, cayenne pepper and turmeric are big immune boosters. As for vitamins, here in South Florida we choose oranges for Vitamin C, but experts say you'd be better off picking peppers.
Sheah Rarback: "Bite for bite, bell pepper is going to give you more Vitamin C than a orange. You want to go for rich, dark colors, and you can see both red and green are very colorful."
Another vitamin may actually have more power than C. New research shows Vitamin D could be a flu-fighting frontrunner.
Dr. Scott Fogle-Naturopath: "Vitamin D actually makes your white blood cells more alert. So if your white blood cells are lazy, and a virus comes by, they might not get rid of it, but if they are alert and active they see it, attack it and get rid of it."
Your best bet is to take a Vitamin D supplement or you can get low doses in some foods.
Dr. Scott Fogle: "The best food sources are salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines."
And finally, if you do get sick chicken soup is the way to go. There's now actually science to back up it's healing powers.
Sheah Rarback: "Grandma was right, chicken soup makes a difference. It keeps the bad germs from flowing around our bodies. The salty broth of chicken soup breaks down mucus in a similar way that cough medicine does."
For dahlia, few minor food changes are an easy trade for keeping her family safe this flu season.
Dahlia: "I'd be willing to add anything that's going to help his health to make him stronger."
Lynn Martinez: "Experts also suggest taking a half teaspoon of Flax Oil a day. It too helps increase the activity of white blood cells the ones you need to keep healthy to fight off the flu."