Nothing would conflict with studying for finals or finally being able to relax over the holiday break more than the dreaded flu. It makes you feel weak, stuffy, uncomfortable and helpless. So for those of you who didn’t make it to the University Health Center to get your shot this year, here are some foods you may want to eat to help prevent catching the flu.

1. Salmon


Photo by Natalie Choy

This fatty fish is known for its great source of unsaturated fats and omega-3s. But what does it actually have to do with preventing the flu? Salmon is one of the healthiest foods out there containing Vitamin D, and recent studies have linked this vitamin to a decreased risk for catching the flu. Your body gets loaded with Vitamin D during the summer because it comes from the sun, but since many of us haven’t been out in the sun during winter, and probably won’t be for a while, a daily dosage of this vitamin is practically necessary. Some other great sources of Vitamin D include fortified cereals, egg yolks and lean meats.

2. Yogurt


Photo by Natalie Choy

Yogurts contain probiotics, the good bacteria that sit in your GI tract and promote optimal digestion and health. Accumulation of this good bacteria not only lines your stomach and helps digest your food, but it also improves the health of your upper respiratory tract, decreasing the risk of developing flu-like symptoms.

3. Garlic


Photo by Natalie Choy

Commonly used to flavor your meals, garlic is actually closely related to onions and is therefore a vegetable. And much like other vegetables, it’s full of health benefits. It contains antioxidants, which help prevent sickness and disease all throughout the body, including the flu. One study even linked people who were taking garlic supplements to a quicker recovery from the flu.

4. Carrots & Sweet Potatoes


Photo by Natalie Choy

Similarly colored foods often contain similar nutrients, and therefore, similar effects on your health. Carrots and sweet potatoes definitely follow this trend. Their vibrant orange color comes from the beta-carotene, a precursor of Vitamin A. Once digested in the body, Vitamin A promotes a healthy immune system and keeps the flu away. It specifically works to maintain the mucus lining in your nose and throat, which doesn’t function properly when you have a cold.

5. Citrus Fruits

Orange and Grapefruit

Photo by Paulina Lam

Everyone knows to drink orange juice when you feel like you’re coming down with a cold. It’s the great Vitamin C content that your body is craving that will boost your immune system and help you recover more quickly. Although they might get less attention, there are other fruits that have a similar effect. Specifically grapefruit, lemon, kiwi and lime.