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Blueberry Smoothies for Colds & Flu

You can’t cure the common cold, but you can shorten the duration of symptoms with vitamin C. Blueberries contain high amounts of vitamin C. Blueberry smoothies provide a good way to boost that nutrient when mixed with other natural fruit juices. Substances in blueberries also have antiviral properties shown to reduce the risk of the flu. Although you should see your doctor if you have the flu or lingering cold, blueberry smoothies may help you feel better while recovering from illness.

Ease Congestion

Drinking plenty of liquids, including water and juice, helps loosen congestion and prevents dehydration when you have a cold. Taking vitamin C may not prevent colds, but consuming vitamin C before the onset of cold symptoms may shorten the time you suffer symptoms, according to Blueberries have rich vitamin C content. The berries also contain antioxidants that strengthen the immune system and may help you fight off colds.

Boosting Smoothie Nutrition

Both frozen berries and fresh berries have equal nutrition, according to Nancy Correa-Matos of the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of North Florida. However, storage and freezing berries may cause a loss of some nutrients. Correa-Matos recommends boosting vitamin C lost in frozen blueberries by mixing the blueberries with fresh citrus juice in a smoothie. Aside from vitamin C and antioxidants, blueberries also provide you with plenty of vitamin E, dietary fiber, magnesium, calcium, zinc, vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids for heart health. Zinc may have benefits in fighting a cold, notes.

Reduce Flu Risk

A substance called quercetin, found in blueberries as well as other fruits and vegetables, may help reduce the likelihood of getting the flu, according to a study published in the August 2008 issue of "AJP Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology." The study analyzed the effects of quercetin feedings on the influenza virus in mice following stressful exercise 23. Quercetin may work effectively to prevent susceptibility to infection associated with stressful exercise 3. The researchers note that previous studies on humans show quercetin helps reduce illnesses following exhaustive exercise.

Tasty and Healthy Smoothies

A blueberry smoothie may also help your taste buds during a cold 5. For a healthy mixture to help ward off symptoms of a cold and provide protection from the flu, add low-fat milk, nonfat plain yogurt, frozen, unsweetened blueberries and a little bit of honey into a blender. Dr. Joel Fuhrman, a physician and nutritional researcher, recommends a blueberry and flax smoothie to help boost your immune system 5. Include fresh or frozen blueberries along with soy milk, flax seeds and dates, mixing them in a blender.