Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Foods That Fight The Flu, Foods That Depress

This weeks Green Links is going to keep you healthy this winter. We've got "Flu-fighting" foods, foods that lead to depression, and a dessert with 1/2 the fat!

A bowl of chicken soup with a slice of bread.

Photo: nettsu (Flickr)

Chicken soup, along with many other dishes, can help to fight the flu.

chickensoup

Assuming that you’ve all recuperated from last week’s post-Halloween sugar rush, lets take a look at some healthier foods. Today’s roundup is all about health, both physical and mental.

Flu Fighting Foods

Here’s something to lessen your swine-flu fears. Epicurious recently published an article titled, “Six Foods That Fight The Flu.” The article, written by Megan O. Steintrager, identifies 6 foods that help “boost” your immune system.  John La Puma, M.D., author of Chef MD’s Big Book of Culinary Medicine, gave his advice on how to fight the flu “epidemic.”

In the article, Puma assures meat-lovers and water drinkers alike that they need not worry about catching the virus from ingesting pork or tap/bottled water. He goes on to state three other pointers that can lessen your chances of getting the pig-dubbed virus:

  • Swine flu is spread person-to-person (physical contact, coughing, sneezing). Wash hands often using soap, water, and rubbing alcohol if necessary.
  • People with immune disorders (thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and celiac disease) should first consult with their doctor before upping their intake of “flu-fighting” foods.
  • Not all foods that are said to be “immunity boosters” have actually been proven to help fight the flu. These include garlic, oysters, peanuts, and some cheeses.

Foods To Fight The Flu!

  1. Quercetin Powerhouse Produce: Apples, Onions, Broccoli, and Tomatoes
  2. Chicken Soup
  3. Green Tea
  4. Vitamin D–Rich Foods: Salmon, Light Tuna, Sardines, Milk, and Cereal
  5. Yogurt and Kefir with Live Active Cultures
  6. Chiles Such as Serranos, Jalapeños, and Poblanos

For more information on these immune defending foods, check out the complete article.

Foods That Will Make You Sad

As it turns out, a slimmer waistline and nice legs aren’t the only reason to be eating healthy these days. This just in from the BBC:

“Eating a diet high in processed food increases the risk of depression, research suggests.”

These findings, from the University College London, went on to further suggest that people who ate more fish, fruit, and veggies were actually at a lesser risk for depression.

The study, which was the first of its kind to examine both dieting and depression in the UK, separated 3,500 middle aged men and women into two categories: a “whole foods” diet made-up of fruit, veggies, and fish; and a processed diet full of sweets, fried grease, dairy, and processed meat.

After five years of experimentation, the research team found that “people with a diet high in processed food had a 58% higher risk of depression than those who ate very few processed foods.” Not surprising – everyone knows that greasy, fried foods are bad for you – but how often do we really think about the psychological affects of such high-calorie foods?

Emily Shelton

Emily Shelton is a web producer and blogger for Earth Eats. A native of Evansville, Indiana, Emily moved to Bloomington in the fall of 2007 to attend Indiana University, pursuing a major in Telecommunications and a minor in Business. Emily began interning at WFIU in the fall of 2008 and is now an Assistant Web Producer. As an official Earth Eats "tweeter", Emily loves spreading the word about the importance of environmental issues and "going green". In her free time, she enjoys watching movies, writing, and looking at pictures of delicious meals that she'll only ever dream about.

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