For generations, wise (and wise-seeming) elders have counseled us to ‘Feed a cold and starve a fever’. That’s a clear enough prescription in itself, but I’ve always wondered WHAT we should feed our colds to make ourselves most comfortable during the ordeal, and shorten it, if possible…
The medical experts insist that it will take ten days to two weeks for your system to flush our a cold, regardless of what you, what over the counter medicines you take and what you eat. But I feel we should at least be aware of what some dietary authorities have to say about what sufferers should eat and drink.
Herewith, I offer a compendium of recommendations from trusted sources, covering what we should be eating (or eating more of) when we have a cold…
Just about every expert agrees that a bowl of Chicken Soup is a great place to start when feeding a cold. Some expand the recommendation to include all Poultry broths. They’re comforting, soothing and chock-full of nutrients.
Almost as many prescribe a generous dose of Chili Peppers. They’re full of anti-oxidants and capcaisin, which is said to boost your metabolism and relieve pain. Hot Peppers also make you sweat and open up our clogged nasal passages, affording another dimension of relief.
Citrus Fruit has been recommended as a preventive and curative for the common cold for generations. It has loads of vitamin C which is an anti-oxidant and metabolism booster. Citrus also contains anti-viral and anti-bacterial compounds.
‘Blue’ Fruits and Veggies contain high levels of anti-oxidants and inflammation fighters. Blueberries are the most common way to add them to your diet, but don’t forget Beetroot and Purple Carrots.
Ginger is an old favourite. I have, in my cookbook collection, a little volume title Ginger Tea Makes Friends. It can also help fight a cold. It is a well-known decongestant (maybe more to the credit of the hot Water involved than the Ginger, itself) and is soothing to the throat.
Other Herbal Teas can (depending on the Herb) provide anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effects. (See photo, top of page.)
Garlic has been recommended for hundreds of year for everything from warding off demons, principally Were Wolves and Vampires, to – you guessed it – curing colds.
Honey has antibacterial effects and will also sooth your throat.
Stay away from…
Greasy Foods and Refined Carbs (such as bleached White Flour products) both aggravate systemic inflammation.
Sweets can lower your immune response and contribute to inflammation.
Dairy Foods are generally discouraged when one is fighting a cold. The ancient wisdom is, they cause your body to generate more mucous when it’s already generating more than usual, and that is, at the very least, very uncomfortable. However, a recent Australian study shows that’s not necessarily the case. Some folks are more effected than others. It’s up to you.
Caffeine-containing Beverages can aggravate the cold sufferer’s tendency to dehydrate. Stick with the Herbal Teas..
Alcohol is also a well-known dehydrating agent.
Stay well hydrated
Above all else, drink plenty of soothing, warm liquids. Dehydration just makes all the other symptoms of a cold worse!
~ Maggie J.