Being sick might just be the worst: that feeling of being so congested you can barely breathe and the terrible taste of cough medicine is something I would not wish upon my worst enemy. Lately, it seems that no matter what corner I turn, I spot another person sneezing or coughing. Flu season has clearly arrived, and with this comes the refusal to step near anyone with a sniffle. Here are five different types of food to prevent getting sick this season.

Vitamin E

walnut, apricot pits, almond, meat, nut
Kendra Valkema

Vitamin E has certain isomers that have powerful antioxidant abilities. Antioxidants are important because they have the power to reduce free radicals. Free radicals are uncharged molecules that are unstable, and can even contribute to the aging process.

Vitamin E Foods: almonds, tomato, spinach, peanuts, avocado, sunflower seeds, olive oil, and broccoli


parsley, pasture, herb, kale, lettuce, vegetable
Kristine Mahan

Foods high with beta-carotene are great when you’re sick. Beta-carotene is a red-orange pigment found in fruits and vegetables. It is crucial because, for one, it is an antioxidant, and the body transfers beta-carotene into vitamin A. Vitamin A helps increase T-cells, which are responsible for directly attacking foreign substances (like bacteria and viruses). 

Foods with beta-carotene: carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, spinach, onions, peas, squash, asparagus, plums, pumpkin, kale, chives, and apricots 


pasture, blackberry, bilberry, sweet, blueberry, berry
Jocelyn Hsu

Inflammation begins when your immune system senses anything foreign. Foods that inflame include fried foods, refined flours and sugars, antibiotic-heavy animal products, synthetic sweeteners, and artificial food additives. Inflammatory foods build belly fat, cause joint pain, bloating, fatigue, and last but not least: are associated with lots of diseases from sleep disorders to heart disease. Anti-inflammatory foods however, fight back these foreign invaders and are crucial for immunity. 

Anti-Inflammatory Foods: blueberries, tomatoes, kale, ginger, green tea, dark chocolate, salmon, red bell peppers, beets, broccoli, black beans, tomatoes, chia seeds, and pineapple


smoked salmon, salmon steak, sushi, lemon, meat, steak, sashimi, trout, fillet, seafood, fish, salmon
Jonathan Chan

Omega-3 are fatty acids. More specifically, they are essential fats, which means the body cannot make them from scratch, and needs to get them from food. They are an integral part of the cell membranes throughout the body and affect the function of the cell receptors. Omega-3s can fight inflammation and even help you sleep at night.

Omega-3 Foods: soybeans, walnuts, canola oil, sardines, chia seeds, salmon, mackerel, flaxseeds, oysters, herring, anchovies, caviar, chia seeds, and egg yolks

Vitamin C

Caroline Liu

Your mom wasn’t wrong about this one: make sure to have lots of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a crucial food to prevent getting sick because it can help fight illness and decrease both the severity and duration of symptoms. Vitamin C is also good for wound healing, bone and tooth formation, the absorption of iron, and strengthening blood vessels. 

Vitamin C Foods: strawberries, kiwis, papaya, oranges, grapefruit, mango, pineapple, tomato, cabbage, brussels sprouts, red and green bell peppers, cauliflowe

As flu season begins to peak, it is important to evaluate your health and make sure you are doing everything you can to avoid getting sick this year. So many of these foods overlap and have multiple benefits, plus they taste good, too! Staying healthy this year is as simple as stocking up on some of the fruits and vegetables you already know and love.