Restaurants Embrace Flu Season with Healthy Specials
Every state in the country is battling a flu epidemic and some cities, like Boston, have even declared a public health emergency. Public venues like churches have asked parishioners to skip the communion chalices and handshakes, and grocery stores have equipped their front doors with hand sanitizer.
Still, several local restaurants have decided not to run from the problem, but to embrace it by concocting healthy flu remedies available for quick take-out.
Wildflour, a vegan bakery in Pawtucket, Rhode Island put together a “fireball shot“, which consists of “Fresh Ginger Juice-Fresh Lemon Juice-and Cayenne” and is served with “a cucumber chaser”.
Salvatore’s, a small restaurant chain in Boston put together a “Feel Better Boston” take-out package that uses the Twitter hashtag #FeelBetterBoston to help spread the word. The $5.99 package includes a pint of chicken soup, fresh baked bread, your choice of orange juice, ginger ale or water and a pack of tissues.
How you can create flu-fighting specials
The science behind chicken soup has been tested as a cold-fighting staple that boosts your immune system and even helps your mental health during a cold. A 1993 study in Chest Journal showed that chicken soup was a great anti-inflammatory and helped to reduce symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections. It’s said to be most effective when made from scratch, starting with a whole chicken in a stockpot.
WebMD says that people with the flu should be consuming 50 grams of protein per day to keep up their strength: “By eating foods high in protein, we also get the benefit of other healing nutrients such as vitamins B6 and B12, both of which contribute to a healthy immune system.”
Next to chicken soup, which is traditionally full of nutrients and protein, there are still a ton of other flu-fighting ingredients that you can use to create something worthy of flu season. Here are some dishes and ingredients known to help get everybody back on their feet:
- Guava, red and green peppers, kiwi, oranges, grapefruit juice, strawberries, brussel sprouts and cantaloupe are some of the top sources of vitamin C proven to boost your immune system.
- Beans, nuts, meat, and poultry are full of selenium and zinc that works to keep the immune system strong.
- Grapefruit, oranges, lemons, and limes contain flavenoids, which help to activate your immune system when it’s running ragged.
- Glutathione (a powerful infection-fighting nutrient) is found in kale, collard greens, broccoli, cabbage and in the red, pulpy area of the watermelon near the rind, according to WebMD.
- Gatorade, ginger ale, clear broths, gelatin, and ice pops are all good for nauseous stomaches—milk is a no-no!
- Yogurt has been shown to reduce the flu by a few days, due to the probiotics.
- Cayenne pepper has been dubbed an “accelerator” because it helps the ingredients it’s mixed with work faster. It’s also anti-fungal and helps break up mucus.
- Ginger helps calm a sick stomach.
Be forewarned though, inviting flu-ridden guests into your restaurant has its obvious consequences. If possible, create a take-out window or station. Or better yet, market your specials as a pre-emptive strike against the flu, instead of a middle-of-the-flu remedy. If you have the bandwidth, offer delivery and keep any germs out all together!