We need no introduction to influenza. The disease has already won enough attention across the world as a pandemic. Commonly known as flu, influenza is caused by a virus that is highly contagious and causes running nose, a sore throat, fever and general body weakness.

The infection affects mainly the nose, throat, bronchi and, occasionally, lungs. The disease is characterized by sudden onset of high fever, aching muscles, headache and severe malaise, non-productive cough, sore throat and rhinitis. It usually lasts for about a week.

The flu virus is transmitted easily from person to person via droplets and small particles produced when infected people cough or sneeze. Influenza tends to spread rapidly in seasonal epidemics.

Most infected people recover within one to two weeks without requiring medical treatment. However, in the very young, the elderly, and those with other serious medical conditions, infection can lead to severe complications of the underlying condition, pneumonia and death.

We present a list of six foods that can help you prevent the flu:

1) Citrus fruits: Citrus fruits and other fruit juices are rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C is found to have power healing abilities. Vitamin C is also an effective preventive of diseases and infections. Fruit juices have the effect of antihistamines or anti-allergy.

2) Garlic: Garlic has antiviral properties. The herb contains substances that can prevent natural infections. Cooking does not affect the beneficial effects of garlic, unlike some other herbs.

3) Pepper: Pepper has a chemical called capsaicin that is believed to be synthesized in the interlocular septa of chili peppers by addition of a branched-chain fatty acid to vanillylamine. It can help relieve the upper airway which includes nose, base of nose, and larynx. Normally, it is the upper airway that gets obstructed during flu infections.

4) Water: Water is perhaps the best remedy to prevent influenza. Drinking plenty of water could help clear viral infections including influenza faster. It could also help remove the toxins in the body.

5) Chicken soup: Chicken soup acts to increase body immunity, show studies. The steam from hot chicken soup can help to overcome shortness of breath associated with flu.

6) Meat stew: Chicken or beef stew is rich in zinc and other minerals that can help stimulate the immune system to prevent the disease causing virus.