It’s that time, where the flu has most likely knocked you down, and its safe to say it’s such a pain when you have loads to do. Even though you won’t get rid of it straight away, there are a lot of tips to help you battle through it!

Here are 5 ways to help ease flu symptoms:

1) Drink plenty!

Of course, having plenty of water is a key part to any day and when your sick it can help a lot and stop you becoming dehydrated, but its not only water that helps. Hot drinks are known as natural decongestants, which means that they help clear the sinuses of mucus.

Tea needs to be at a hot temperature for it to act as a decongestant, but obviously make sure it’s bearable, as it could irritate your throat even more.

Don’t worry about the fact that some teas are known to ‘dehydrate’ you, some teas do contain caffeine, but the amounts are far too small to cause any increased water loss. Having said this, it means that its a great way to help you stay hydrated and relieve congestion at the same time.

Here are a few herbal teas to drink to help beat the flu:

Garlic, Ginger and Cayenne– Garlic is an antibacterial, and it also stimulates the immune system, and aids with digestion. Ginger helps the feeling of nausea, and is good for pain and sore muscles, which as we all know, when you get the flu, you can feel super achey. Cayenne, on the other hand is anti-fungal and antibacterial, breaks up mucus and increases circulation. All of them together, reduce sweating and detoxifies the body.

Basil and Ginger- Basil helps calm the stomach, battles infections and respiratory disorders. It is full of antioxidants and has antibiotic properties.

Lemon Balm and Black Elderberry- The berries have been used for centuries as a remedy for colds, fever, aches and pains. It works by lowering fevers, clearing congestion, cleansing the liver and kidneys, and acting as a mild laxative. Elderberries are also full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, ensuring to give your immune system a much needed boost.

Lemon Balm is used to heal and sweeten, with it’s pleasant lemon scent and flavour. As well as helping you sleep, improves your mood, soothes an upset stomach and is full of Vitamin C.

Another more simple one is green tea, you can buy lots of different flavours if you get bored of the same taste. This tea contains an antioxidant called quercetin and amino acid L-theanine that helps your body fight the flu.

2) Vitamin C

We’ve all heard of vitamins, and it’s safe to say there’s a lot of them. But when fighting of things such as the flu, vitamin C is your best friend because it helps aid your immune system. It will help ease the symptoms of the flu as well as making your immune system work better to fight off the dreaded illnesses.

As well as it being an antioxidant which can help strengthen your bodies natural defences. Antioxidants are molecules that boost your immune system. They do so by protecting cells from harmful molecules called ‘free radicals’. 

Studies have shown that consuming more vitamin C can increase your blood antioxidant levels by up to 30%. This will then help the body’s natural defences fight inflammation.

But if your not one for taking tablets, then be sure to look elsewhere. You can find vitamin C in fruits, vegetables, meats and a lot of other foods. You can buy vitamin drinks if you’d rather it be in a liquid form and you can buy teabags that have vitamins in them, which is a bonus for everyone really! But be sure not to take to much of it, and always speak to a professional, before you decide to start taking any vitamin supplement.

3) Rest!

Yes, as boring as it may sound sitting in bed all day bingeing Netflix, who am i kidding that sounds great! Well sometimes, the flu can last a while, so it can be a bit repetitive when your laying in bed till its gone. But honestly, its the best way, just relax and don’t stress to much.

The worst thing you can do is put your body into overdrive, the more you challenge your body to work harder, when you’re ill, the more sluggish you are going to feel. Your body needs the rest, to repair itself and get you better quicker, so don’t feel bad for just laying around all day, because it’ll do you a whole lot of good.

If you want fresh air, then just go and sit in the garden or open the windows. Don’t push yourself to do to much, get in a little walk if necessary just to have a breather, but make sure to wrap up!

Sleeping the day away, will be the best thing for you and you’ll recover quicker.

4) Avoid eating these particular foods!

Eating or drinking too much sugar curbs immune system cells that attack bacteria. These effects last a few hours after downing one to many sugary drinks.

Sweets- Sugar can cause inflammation, which will weaken the body’s white blood cells, which are key to fighting off infections Try to avoid comfort foods as hard as it is.

Alcohol- This causes inflammation and weakens the white blood cells. Alcohol also has the double whammy effect of contributing to dehydration. Hydration is key when your sick, because the mucus membranes are better at flushing out a virus when they are moist.

Refined carbs- Toast and crackers might be a classic sick day food. However, they aren’t doing you any favours. Refined carbohydrates are quickly broken down into sugar and will cause a rise in blood sugar similar to juice, soda and high sugar foods. Which means that they can hinder infection-fighting in the same way. Try having whole wheat bread instead, as this tends to not spike your blood sugars as much.

5) Eat more of these!

Chicken soup- It helps get fluid into you and it’s nourishing too. Hot chicken soup may also improve the tiny hair-like parts in the passage of your nose to protect your body from bacteria and viruses.

Garlic- If you feel up to it, garlic can be a good choice to spice up foods like soup. It appears to have the ability to boost the immune system and may help you get fewer colds.

Broth- Whether you prefer chicken, beef, or vegetables, broth is one of the best things to eat when you have the flu. You can eat it as soon as your symptoms begin through to when you recover. Broth helps prevent dehydration, and the warm elements can help sooth a sore throat and relieve congestion.

Yogurt- Can help soothe a sore throat, but can also boost your immune system. It also contains protein, which is very good for you. But for it to be even more beneficial try sticking to the ones with no added sugar.

Fruit- Bananas are good as they are full of potassium and give you a little bit of an energy boost. Vitamin C based fruits such as strawberries, tomatoes and citrus fruits are another alternative.

Leafy greens- Spinach, kale and other leafy greens can help your immune system when you have the flu. They are rich with vitamin C and E. Perhaps combine leafy greens with fruit in a smoothie.

Spices- Towards the end of the flu, you might have increased sinus and chest congestion. Spices, like pepper and horseradish, can help break up the congestion so you can breathe better. However, it’s best to avoid spicy foods when you have a sore throat.

Hopefully these tips helped and you’ll be able to beat the flu in no time, but for now grab a blanket, make a hot cup of green tea, grab a piece of fruit and relax.

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Student Journalist