Cold Comfort: 6 Recipes to Ease the Common Cold
Feed a cold — isn’t that how the saying goes? Sounds like an odd offer for a “guest” you don’t want to stick around. (Maybe build your cold a nice fire, too, and give it a pair of cozy slippers …)
But, of course, it’s not actually the cold you’re feeding — it’s you. Or, more specifically, your body, which if you’re reading this now with Kleenex in hand, you know is on a war path trying to kick that nasty virus out of your system.
Nothing you eat or drink (or, for that matter, any medicine you take) will actually “cure” your cold. Once the virus has taken hold in your body, you basically have to let it run its course. But what you eat can help to alleviate the worst symptoms, while at the same time pumping up your immune system to prevent further infection.
While there’s not a whole lot of hard scientific evidence to tell us what we should be eating when the sniffles strike, we’ve pulled together some recipes based on current medical thinking. And, of course, you can up the dose on these remedies as much as you want — no warning labels required.
While the jury is out on whether vitamin C really helps prevent colds, there’s evidence that consuming it at the onset of cold symptoms can cut a cold short. Peaches are a good source of vitamin C, but you can really up the ante here by using frozen mango. Unlike dairy, soy contains natural anti-inflammatory properties that may help ease congestion.
The beta-gluten fiber in oatmeal helps strengthen the immune system. In fact, it’s been shown in studies to be even more effective than the popular herbal remedy echinacea. Adding dried fruit ups the nutritional value, and this recipe can be made ahead (because for heaven’s sake, we know you’re not going to get up early to make oatmeal when you have a cold).
Hot tea not only helps you get the fluids you need when you have a cold, it soothes raw sinus passages. Experts advise steering clear of caffeinated drinks, though, which can dehydrate you. This tea is as easy as it gets — sliced ginger (which has natural anti-inflammatory properties), steeped in water. Add a little honey for a hot little cup of pure comfort.
Yes, it’s true: chicken soup does appear to alleviate cold symptoms. The hot broth acts much like tea, to help clear your nasal passages. But researchers have confirmed that chicken soup in particular acts as another anti-inflammatory agent. Lots of store-bought soups are loaded with sodium, though; this one isn’t (if you choose to use store-bought broth, just buy the low-sodium version). It’s also got garlic, which is also reputed to help combat the cold.
Or instead of the soup, you can go for a good ol’ turkey sandwich. Like chicken, the lean protein appears to help keep your immune system strong while giving you more energy. Here, cranberries may help fight inflammation.
Those famed omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon that help protect your heart? They also reduce inflammation and help relieve that icky, raw feeling in your chest that comes from a day of coughing. And those red bell peppers are loaded with vitamin C.
You can also try a healthy helping of edamame on the side. Edamame are soy beans, and like we mentioned above, soy also naturally relieves inflammation.
Stay healthy; stay strong!
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