We all know the age-old adage that hot chicken soup is good for a cold. But what other foods and ingredients offer health benefits to help protect your body against cold symptoms?
First, as your primary care provider will tell you, nothing can truly cure a cold — not even over-the-counter cold meds. There are, however, remedies that can help lessen the effects of a cold, so you don’t feel so crummy. More importantly, incorporating these into your diet now can help boost your immune system so you’re less likely to catch what’s going around.
Let’s look at some of them:
Some studies have shown that garlic can help prevent colds and boost your immunity. Garlic contains the sulfur compound allicin, which is responsible for its unique odor as well as its health benefits. The most benefits come from raw garlic (chop it up and add to vinaigrettes or salsa), but it can also impart some goodness when cooked, too.
2. Beta Carotene-rich Foods
Add carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, broccoli and tomatoes to your diet to get beta carotene, which is an antioxidant that helps boost your health.
3. Vitamin C-rich Foods
Unfortunately, researchers say increasing your Vitamin C intake after getting a cold won’t help to cure it. It’s important to instead make Vitamin C part of your regular diet to keep a cold at bay. Look for citrus fruits, berries, melons, tomatoes, bell peppers and broccoli for a good dose of vitamins.
4. Hot Liquids
This is where chicken soup comes in, as well as hot tea, warm apple juice and other warm liquids. It can help soothe the throat, increase mucus flow to clear up congestion and also help to keep you hydrated. Chicken soup also has the added benefit of giving you protein, which is important to get your energy back.
5. Salt Water
Gargling salted water can help soothe a sore throat, break up mucus, reduce inflammation and expel germs in the mouth.
Mix it with lemon and hot water (see “Hot Liquids” above), but studies show honey on its own is just as good at suppressing coughs and soothing the throat.