The Best Foods to Beat a Cold
You've got the sniffles, your head feels heavy, your throat is scratchy. Coughing and sneezing are now part of your daily routine, and only one of your nostrils seems to be accepting air. You, my friend, have a cold. Lying in bed and watching television might be one cure, but here are some other delicious remedies that are sure to support your immune system and nip that cold in the bud.
1. Chicken Soup
Known as the “Jewish Penicillin,” chicken soup has been touted to help heal colds and flus for generations. Chicken soup has mild anti-inflammatory properties and is believed to actually ceases mucous production. The heat of the soup helps soothe inflamed respiratory pathways and thins mucous. Besides all that, it is absolutely delicious and is usually made with the best secret ingredient: love.
Whether eaten raw or cooked garlic is a potent cold fighter! Garlic is part of the allium family, which has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties; meaning it can kick a lot of germs in the butt! Garlic has the power to shorten the duration of your cold and reduce its severity. If you are especially daring, you can try making garlic tea by chopping up one clove of fresh garlic and placing it in boiling water. Allow it to cool slightly and drink.
Commonly used in Indian cooking, this powerhouse of a spice has potent anti-inflammatory and anti-viral benefits. Turmeric has a bitter taste and a bright orange colour. Most of turmeric’s medicinal properties are due to its star component curcumin. Curcumin relieves coughs and chest congestion. One of the best ways to consume turmeric while fighting a cold is to drink “Golden Milk” – an Aryuvedic healing drink: pour almond milk in a pot over the stove and stir in ½ tsp of turmeric, honey, cinnamon and ¼ tsp of fresh ginger. Heat, mix, and drink.
Ginger is a superfood that is incredibly flavorful and has tons of healing benefits, with its anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-nausea properties. It also acts as an anti-histamine and decongestant, which is helpful for combating colds! Ginger helps promote sweating, which allows the body to detoxify and fight off infections. Slice some ginger and place it in hot water to make a tea, or use it in Golden Milk (mentioned above). Either way, consuming ginger during a cold will help get you back to normal in no time!
5. Colourful Vegetables
When you eat an array of colourful vegetables, you are absorbing the powerful health benefits. During a cold, it’s best to consume lots of health promoting vitamins – especially vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E; all found within the vegetables like carrots, squash, kale, onion and red pepper. Each of these vitamins are antioxidants that work to support the body by activating white blood cell function (the main defense of the immune system) or by protecting cells from damage or mutation.
Already feeling the chills? Click for the cure from this recipe for Cold Kicker Stew.
Tamara Green is a Toronto-based holistic nutritionist, personal cook and co-founder of The Living Kitchen
by Tamara Green