Food & the Flu

by Dawn Boulay

One way to help prevent or fight the flu is healthy eating. Chicken and barley have anti-inflammatory qualities, B vitamins and zinc. Sweet potatoes and carrots are rich in Vitamin A, necessary for the body to make white blood cells that strengthen the immune system to fight viruses. Whole grains, bright orange, red, yellow and green vegetables are rich in immune-boosting vitamins and minerals. Hot and spicy liquids help clear up stuffy nasal passages and mucus in the lungs. Garlic fights infection and bacteria. Ginger has flu fighting compounds and soothes and upset stomach.

This is a great snack, side dish or hors d’oeuvre to serve to guests.


Dipping Sauce

Spears1/2 cup soy or wheat-free tamari sauce
2 lb. sweet potatoes, spears peeled and cut into 3 inch sticks, ½ inch thick
2 TB rice vinegar
2 TB vegetable oil
1 TB minced garlic
¼ to ½ Chinese five-spice powder
1 TB grated ginger
salt to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste
Combine all sauce ingredients and set aside. Toss sweet potatoes with oil, five-spice powder and salt. Spread onto a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake

in a 400 oven until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot. Can be made ahead and reheated in a 400 degree oven until warm.


1 whole chicken breast with skin and bones
2 TB olive oil
1-2 large onions, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
1-2 cups cooked barley or brown basmati rice
Green beans, frozen peas, spinach, lima beans, corn, kidney beans or any other vegetable you’d like in your soup
1 large can whole tomatoes with liquid
Chicken broth or water to cover
Dash of hot sauce or to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

• Heat olive oil in a stock pot and brown the chicken breast on both sides and remove from the pan.

• Add onions, carrots, celery, garlic and sautee over medium heat until soft.

• Put the chicken back in the pot, cover with broth or water, bring to a boil, then simmer with no lid, for an hour until chicken is cooked.

• Remove the chicken, remove skin and bones and cut into bite-size pieces, return to the pot.

• Drain the tomato juice into the pot and roughly chop the tomatoes, add to pot.

• Add barley and vegetables, hot sauce, cover and bring just to a boil to heat through

• Serve in bowls with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese if desired and some crusty whole grain bread for dipping.

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