SACRAMENTO, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Hand washing and cough covering are important in avoiding the flu but some foods also help fight flu, a U.S. dietitian advises.
"It's important to eat a variety of healthy foods from all food groups throughout the year, but it's particularly significant during flu season," Andrea Garen, a registered dietitian says in a statement. "Adding flu-fighting foods like yogurt, garlic, citrus and chicken to your diet can boost your body's immune system and help you to avoid getting sick."
Yogurt and other cultured milk products contain probiotics, beneficial bacteria with immune-boosting benefits. Look for the "live active culture" seal, which indicates probiotics have been added, and also check milk product labels for vitamin D, Garen says.
Early research suggests low levels of vitamin D may be linked to a seasonal increase in colds and flu and a higher incidence of respiratory infections, Garen adds.
Garlic boosts the immune system, increasing resistance to infection and stress, while citrus fruits contain vitamin C, and meat and peanuts contain zinc. Both nutrients play important roles in the proper functioning of the immune system, Garen says.