Winter is fully upon us and with it comes cold and flu season. With everyone suffering from sniffles and coughing fits, you’re bound to be caught in the crossfire. The good news is that there are plenty of foods that can help you to boost your immune system to help fight off a cold or flu before it has taken hold of you. Here are our top picks:
A steaming hot cup of tea, especially with a squeeze of honey and a lemon, can help soothe a sore throat and alleviate chest congestion. Tea also contains an antioxidant, catechins, which may have flu fighting properties. Plus, drinking plenty of fluids helps to loosen congestion and prevents dehydration.
Everyone tells you to eat more oranges and drink orange juice if you feel a cold coming on. This is because of the large amounts of vitamin C that can be found in these fruits. Despite this common knowledge, there is actually very little evidence that vitamin C has any effect on the common cold. However, regular intake of vitamin C can help to reduce a cold’s duration. So keep eating these fruits year round, not just because you’re starting to feel sick!
Red Bell Peppers
Citrus fruits are not your only source for vitamin C. Red bell peppers have a large amount of vitamin c in them. You may be surprised to find out that, one red pepper has 150 mgs of Vitamin C – twice the recommended daily allowance for women.
Known in lore as a means of warding off vampires, garlic can also help get rid of colds and flu symptoms. Crushing raw garlic releases a compound called allicin which is a natural decongestant and antibiotic. Garlic loses its cold fighting properties when it is cooked, so using raw garlic is best. Try stirring it into honey or olive oil and eat it on a cracker or slice of bread. Or put 1-2 cloves of fresh garlic and “steep” them in hot water and drink it like a tea.
Ginger is an anti-inflammatory herb and antioxidant. It can help to reduce fever and pain. With its soothing and slightly spicy flavour, it can help to relieve congestion. It is also a mild stimulant so it promotes circulation and can give you a feeling of warmth in your body.
This age old remedy for the cold is not just an old wives’ tale. While it’s not a full cure, it does help to relieve symptoms and a bowl or two of chicken soup can help to boost your immune system. The hot liquid warms you up from the inside out, while the steam unblocks any congestion you may have. Chicken soup also displays some anti-inflammatory responses as well. Add in garlic, ginger and onions for an extra boost to your immune system.
And what if you already have a cold or flu?
Get lots of rest and plenty of liquids. It’ll be over in a week or two.
What are your go to remedies for the cold and flu?