Sunday, January 2, 2011

Top Foods for Colds and Flu

Clients and class participants often ask what are the top foods for colds and flu or what to eat for a specific condition. While certain foods can be helpful, one has to look at the bigger picture.

Juan wants to know if eating more oranges and eating kale will help prevent colds. He knows that vitamin C is key to wintertime health.

While there is truth to this...if the rest of his diet consists of burgers and soda, then oranges and kale will not be very helpful.

Let's suppose that he eats a "healthy" American diet - oatmeal and fruit for breakfast, salad and low-fat yogurt for lunch, chicken or fish and a vegetable for dinner. He only has one cup of coffee per day and occasionally has some soda.

Juan lives alone and spends most of his non-work time watching movies. Every day he excitedly checks to see what Netflix has brought to him.

Increasing citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables might have some marginal effect on Juan's health. But to really ward off colds and flu, he needs to exercise. Movement increases the flow in our lymphatic system and keeps the blood clean - empowering it to ward off undesirable bacteria and viruses.

Cindy eats a great raw, vegan, organic diet. She starts every day with a green smoothie - heavier on greens than fruit. At lunchtime she eats a large salad with homemade dressing that has no fat. At dinnertime she has another salad or maybe raw soup and includes a little fat. If she uses seeds or nuts, she always makes sure to soak them.

Cindy also has enormous stress at her job and spends a lot of time being anxious and angry. She doesn't have time for a social life and on weekends feels lonely. She usually gets sick in the wintertime and has a cold for months at a time. She wonders if she should be eating blueberries or include acai powder or perhaps a superfood in her smoothie.

In my view, it doesn't matter what she eats. If the other parts of her life are not in balance, she will get sick. Dis-ease is an imbalance in our mental, emotional, spiritual and physical well-being.

The top foods for colds and flu are not magic. One cannot ingest something and have it supersede other efforts to make up for lack in other parts of life. Food is merely one part of health. What are the best foods for colds and flu? The ones that are part of a healthy LIFESTYLE and promote health, happiness, curiosity and creativity. The foods which fuel your body, appropriately, for exercise and fun. The foods that inspire creating a wonderful meal for yourself - served on pretty dishes in a lovely ambiance. These are the top foods for colds and flu.