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Fighting The Flu With Food

Bonji Hot Takes: Volume 88

Welcome to 2024, and this year’s first edition of Bonji's Hot Takes, where we serve fresh and unconventional culinary ideas that are guaranteed to tickle your taste buds. We sincerely hope your year is off to a great start and that you enjoyed the holiday season.


It is now officially cold and flu season. Between the weather getting colder, everyone getting together for the holidays, and spending so much time indoors, it is hard to avoid a case of the sniffles this time of year.  Luckily, the Bonji team has remained healthy thus far, but we’ve all noticed our friends and family coming down with some nasty bugs over the last few weeks; which got us thinking: What foods can we eat to help avoid or fight off a cold? 

Fighting the flu with food - bonji

How To Avoid Getting Sick... With Food!

Our research team went to work to bring the answer to you!  Here’s the scoop(-able acai…Dad jokes help fight off the flu. Laughter is the best medicine, it’s a proven fact.)

  1. Protein

  2. How- When protein is digested it breaks down into smaller parts called amino acids. Those amino acids are then used to build new proteins that all have a job in the body… including the noble task of fighting off disease. This is why it is so important to get your protein in while you’re sick! The bigger the pool of amino acids that your body has to delegate to immune function, the better.

  3. What [LS1] [AV2] to eat

  4. Meat

  5. Poultry

  6. Fish

  7. Dairy (but be careful, dairy can increase mucus production)

  8. Soy

  9. Protein supplements

  10. Vitamin C

  11. How- Vitamin C helps send white blood cells (the proteins our body makes to fight off disease) to the site of infection. It’s also a powerful antioxidant, which helps protect human cells from damage.  No need to reach for the supplements though! Vitamin C is abundant a wide variety of fruits and vegetables:

  12. What to eat

  13. Acai (2x the Vitamin C found in oranges )

  14. Dragon fruit

  15. Mango

  16. Pineapple

  17. Berries

  18. Citrus fruits

  19. Potatoes

  20. Tomatoes

  21. Broccoli

  22. Bell Peppers

  23. Really any fruit or vegetable will at least be a decent source of Vitamin C, so try and get some produce in for your daily dose.

  24. Zinc

    1. How- Zinc is a mineral that is crucial in the development process of immune cells, which means those proteins you’re eating will be put to good use.  Additionally, many common colds are caused by rhinoviruses (which surprisingly do not infect rhinoceroses). Zinc helps to stop rhinoviruses from replicating in the body and infecting other cells. This means the cold won’t be as severe, and the immune cells will be able to get rid of the virus faster.

    2. What to eat

  25. Poultry

  26. Red meat

  27. Seafood

  28. Nuts

  29. Cereals

  30. Chicken Soup?

    1. Chicken soup was first documented as a remedy for illness back in 60 A.D by a Roman army surgeon named Pedanius Dioscorides. Science has come a long way since then, but people still believe in the healing powers of the dish.  Which begs the question, does it work? Or is it just a placebo? Here’s what we found:

  31. Taste- When we get sick, our body jumps into a state of inflammation in an attempt to fight off the disease.  When this happens, the human appetite severely decreases. Think about it, when you’re sick, everyone tells you to eat, increase fluids, and rest. The resting part is easy, but it’s so hard to get the food and water down… and we need those nutrients to get well again! 

  32. For some reason, despite the lack of appetite, chicken soup always seems to go down fine. There’s science behind this! Chicken soup is known for its “umami” flavor. Umami is the fifth category of flavor (preceded by salty, sweet, sour, and bitter). The umami flavor profile has actually been shown to increase appetite AND signals our body to absorb more protein! Which means you’ll be able to eat more soup.  This brings us to our next point.

  33. Nutrients- Previously we discussed the importance of Vitamin C and Zinc.  Chicken soups, whether they are made with rice, noodles, matzo, orzo, couscous, or any other starch, usually contain a bunch of different vegetables, and always contain chicken.  Many veggies are an excellent source of Vitamin C, and chicken is an excellent source of Zinc AND protein.  So not only will you eat more, but it will also provide your body with the essential nutrients it needs to fight off the bug.

  34. Heat- Finally we get to the most obvious reason.  A nice hot shower always helps unclog those stuffy sinuses.  You can think of chicken soup as a nice hot shower you can eat from the comfort of your cozy bed.  The steam and heat that comes off the soup will help open your sinuses just like a shower would, providing temporary relief of congestion symptoms and sore throats.

We hope these tips help you avoid a cold this year!  From the Bonji Family to yours, enjoy your 2024!

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