Nov 012010
 

foods fight cold flu

Fight colds and get healthy with these tips. The cold and flu season lasts from September until May and accounts for more doctor visits and missed days of school and work than any other illness. Although there are no sure-fire cold treatments, some of these time-honored remedies have proven medical benefits. Between folklore, family recipes, and science, the menu for treating colds has become quite diverse. In fact, the Rx for colds may be right in your kitchen.

Fight colds and get healthy with these remedies

Chicken Soup

Not just for the soul, chicken soup contains cysteine, an amino acid that thins the mucus in the lungs, reducing some of the ‘cloggy’ symptoms of a cold. Additionally, it reduces inflammation and congestion, and provides much-needed rehydration. Make chicken soup with real stock if possible—chicken and vegetable stock is rich in nutrients. Onions and garlic are excellent immunity-boosting additions.

Hot Lemon Drink with Ginger and Honey

Freshly-squeezed lemon juice contains a healthy dose of vitamin C, commonly taken in supplement form to treat colds. Adding fresh grated root ginger helps to relieve nausea, suppress coughs and settle the stomach, and the honey adds the sweetness. To make the drink, pour boiling water over 1 Tbsp grated root ginger and the juice of one lemon. Stir in a few teaspoons of honey to taste. Strain the ginger out if desired.

Spicy food

Curries and chili will not actually cure the common cold–but the spices can help relieve some of the symptoms by clearing out the sinuses. Add ginger, onion and garlic to your curry for best results—or combine spices with the healing power of chicken soup by creating a spicy version.
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Garlic

Now considered a superfood, garlic is antifungal, antibiotic, germicidal and beneficial to the cardiovascular system. Its health benefits are numerous, but cold sufferers are most likely to welcome garlic for its ability to clear mucusy lungs and sinuses. Allicin, one of the active components in freshly crushed garlic, can zap viruses by blocking the enzymes that lead to infection. Alternatively, garlic capsules can be purchased which are odorless.

Shop for nutrient-rich foods and beverages that are high in vitamins A, B, C, and E; and in potassium, zinc, and magnesium. Basically select a diet that is rich in the antioxidants found in fruits and veggies. Look for the most colorful ones: red, orange, yellow, dark green, and purple. This means tomatoes, bell peppers, squash, spinach, bananas, and blueberries, to name a few. Shoot for five to seven servings a day to keep your immune system healthy. “Live and active cultures” in yogurt also pack a punch, as well as folate found in 100% orange juice.

You should avoid foods that are high in sugar because they can decrease your immunity. The sugar in a can of soda suppresses immune function by 30% for three hours. Avoid excess milk products if you are stuffy. Milk protein thickens mucus and makes it harder to drain. Water, on the other hand, will help keep mucus thin and easier to clear.

Don’t forget that eating a healthy diet is not just a winter concern, so try to stick to it year-round as an insurance policy to build up your immune system. You won’t regret it and you’ll fight colds!

  • Foods to Fight Your Cold (everydayhealth.com)
  • Immunity Boosting Foods Helps Against Flu & Colds (mommyfactor.blogspot.com)

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