Spring in Beijing is dry and windy. The temperature changes frequently, with chilly early mornings and evenings and hot afternoons. Catching the flu is easy at this time of year, and can be difficult to shake off.
Instead of turning to pills, try natural flu-fighters that can enhance your immune system. A boost to the immune system is more effective than treating cold symptoms, since you are bound to bump into more bacteria and viruses in the big city.
You can reduce your own susceptibility by choosing the right foods and arming yourself with proven immune system boosters.
Don’t let this season’s cold and flu take you down. Pump up your immune system with these eight tasty foods and beverage
**Flu Fighter 1: Green Tea
Green tea contains an immune-boosting chemical called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). To get the most benefits from this hot drink, steep the tea in boiling water for about 4 minutes. You can change the flavor by steeping tea with a 2-centimeter chunk of fresh ginger, fresh mint leaves, a twist of orange peel or a cinnamon stick. Try to drink three or more cups per day.
Recommendation: Green tea in Laoshe Teahouse
Where: Zhengyang Market Building 3, Qianmen Xi Dajie, Xuanwu District
Tel: 6303 6830, 6302 1717
Open: 10 am – 10 p
**Flu Fighter 2: Yogurt
Yogurt contains probiotics ?the good bacteria that line the intestines and defends the body against invading germs. Buy plain yogurt for reduced calories and less added sugar than in fruit-flavored versions, then add a teaspoon of honey. There are at least 100 million bacteria per gram of yogurt.
Recommendation: You can try Dannon’s Activia and DanActive, which are clinically proven to help regulate the digestive system.They are available in major supermarkets.
**Flu Fighter 3: Cabbage
A source of vitamin C, fiber and phytochemicals known as glucosinolates, cabbage is thought to prevent cancer and heal ulcers. Scientists also have reported that the leafy vegetable has helped animals recover from viruses. Although it is high in sodium, try adding sauerkraut to your hot dog to offset its processed contents.
Recommendation: Beef and Cabbage Soup in Kiessling Restaurant
Where: 206, Hualong Shipin Jie, Nanheyan Dajie, Dongcheng District
Tel: 6559 7735
Open: 11 am – 9 p