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My Top 5 Flu Fighting Foods

Winter’s here and now more than ever we’re all scrambling to find ways of improving our immunity and warding off the myriad of viruses that are waiting in the wings for a viable host.

The ability to use food as medicine is a tool that we all have in our toolkit. We all eat right? So why not make your diet work for you and throw in some foods that have been scientifically demonstrated to reduce the frequency and severity of the winter bugs?

Here are my top 5 flu flighting foods to add to your diet ASAP….


All varieties of mushrooms contain beta glucans. Beta glucans can engage receptors in the human body improving the first-line defences of the immune system. Beta glucans from mushrooms have been shown to reduce the frequency of the common cold during “flu season”, reduce the number of absent days due to sickness, reduced severity of respiratory infections and improve feelings of overall well-being.


Compounds in green tea have demonstrated antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects in the research. Studies have also shown that people who consume (or even gargle) green tea regularly are at a lower risk of respiratory tract infections and the flu. As well as this, green tea appears to be able to reduce the duration of an upper respiratory tract infection. Some research suggests that green tea has a preventative effect by inhibiting the entry of viruses into human cells.


Garlic is an old favourite. Long known to have anti-microbial effects, recent research suggests compounds from garlic can inhibit a virus from entering the cell where it can replicate and do damage. As well as this garlic can enhance immune defences and reduce oxidative stress having a positive effect on immune function. I recommend using fresh, raw garlic frequently. If garlic doesn’t agree with you, try making your own garlic-infused oil.


Turmeric has been studied against many different viruses including those that cause the common cold, influenza A, herpes viruses and more. Turmeric has the potential to inhibit viral replication. It has also become famous for its potent anti-inflammatory effect making it useful in acute and chronic infections. Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, is notoriously difficult to absorb. Consuming turmeric (fresh or powder) with some oil and black pepper can increase its bioavailability.


Kiwifruit are a powerhouse of nutrients. This small furry fruit is rich in vitamin C and prebiotic fibres. This combination offers support for your immune system in two ways. Vitamin C, being an essential nutrient for immune cell function and the prebiotic fibres supporting gut health by feeding healthy intestinal bacteria. Why is this important? 80% of your immune system is in your gut and your friendly bacteria have a significant role in regulating the immune response. Gold kiwifruit are particularly high in vitamin C!

So, time to sit back with your green tea and mushroom soup and have a great winter!

About the Author

Kelli Kieselbach BHSc (NutDMed), Adv Dip (Nat), Adv Dip (WHM)

Kelli Kieselbach is an Adelaide based Naturopath and Clinical Nutritionist who works with clients of all ages to restore health and prevent disease using nutrition and herbal medicine. Kelli has a special interest in pain and fatigue management working closely with Fibromyalgia and Chronic fatigue syndrome patients to empower them to live life with more energy and less pain. Kelli sees patients one on one both in clinic and online as well as educating businesses and community groups on various health related topics through workshops and guest speaking roles.

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