By Dana Dean
St. Louis (KSDK) -- The flu season usually doesn't kick into high gear until after Christmas, but almost every state is already reporting cases. A health expert said there are some foods that might help you fight off and prevent the flu.
You may not feel like eating a thing if you have the flu, but there are some foods that won't make you feel nauseated if you do eat. They'll also help you prevent influenza, according to a doctor NewsChannel 5 spoke with. Dr. Sonny Saggar says the following foods have natural antibacterial or antiviral properties.
1. Blueberries, strawberries, and elderberries are all high in Vitamin C and antioxidants. Dr. Saggar says they will mostly help you prevent influenza, but they can be used as treatment.
2. He says beans contain something called phytochemicals and can fight disease.
3. Another food to try is mushrooms. They have selenium and have been known to prevent and clear sickness.
4. Honey is also good for you. Dr. Saggar said, "Honey is also immune boosting. It's been said that no bacteria can grow in honey. It's the ultimate antibacterial. But traditionally people will have a hot honey and lemon drink."
5. Sweet potatoes are full of beta-carotenes, fiber, and are known to be disease fighting.
6. Oats are high in vitamins E and B. They have something called beta glucans, which are disease preventing fibers found in a lot of grain foods.
7. Almonds are high in vitamin E and are immune boosting.
8. The doctor believes dark chocolate should have a place in healthy diets because it has been shown to boost the immune system.
9. He says garlic has been known to prevent people from catching influenza. Dr. Saggar said, "A lot of people would actually swallow a garlic clove like you would actually swallow a huge horse pill. So biting it whole is kind of foul. It would taste disgusting. But if you swallow it whole, it does wonders for your health but terrible things for your breath."
You can also chop it up if you can't swallow a clove whole.
The doctor says you should stay away from meat and dairy if you have the flu. He says they won't help you if you have the flu and you probably won't feel like eating those items anyway.