Foods That Help Prevent & Treat the Common Cold

It starts with a sniffle and perhaps a cough and the next thing you know, you have a cold.  Try as we might, it is difficult to avoid contracting the common cold because we encounter it in our workplaces and schools on a daily basis.  Even the best antibacterial efforts and hand-washing may not stop the cold.  If you are one of the many who get a common cold during the year you may be wondering how to best fight it so you can be done with it sooner.  One of the best tools in the battle against the common cold, aside from rest, is food.

When you do not feel your best you may be tempted to reach for an indulgent snack but the best way to fight your cold and nourish your body is with healthy food choices.  One of the first foods that will help you fight off illness makes a great addition to almost any meal you prepare – garlic.  Garlic has significant antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that will pack a punch for your cold.  Eat it raw or eat it cooked (dried garlic powder will not have the same effect) in any of your meals and you will enjoy the gut healing ability of garlic.  In addition to garlic, it is important to seek out foods rich in Vitamin C.  Vitamin C is known for fighting infectious disease and boosting overall health.  Vitamin C rich foods include strawberries, broccoli, brussels sprouts, bell peppers, papaya, pineapple, cauliflower, oranges, kiwi, cantaloupe, kale, and more.  Mayo Clinic provides some insight into how Vitamin C can help you treat your cold, “It appears that for the most part taking vitamin C won’t help the average person prevent colds. However, taking vitamin C before the onset of cold symptoms may shorten the duration of symptoms. Vitamin C may provide benefit for people at high risk of colds due to frequent exposure — for example, children who attend group child care during the winter.”  TIP: Want a great way to combine the benefits of garlic and Vitamin C?  Consider making a garlic mashed cauliflower dish, it will be delicious and exceptionally nutritious.

Any doctor will tell you that one of the best things you can do for yourself when you have a cold is stay hydrated.  This of course means you should drink lots of water but there are other ways to stay hydrated while also getting the nutrition that you need.  Chicken soup is a great option because it not only hydrates you but it also packs in a bunch of delicious and healthy vegetables that will help your body fight a cold.  And, if you have bone broth on hand, or can get your hands on some (not the chicken stock found on the supermarket shelf) it will add an additional boost in your fight against your cold.  Bone broth is filled with things like cysteine, glucosamine, collagen that help speed healing.  In addition to soup, turmeric is great for your health.  Turmeric has recently gained some popularity as the hot new “superfood.”  Even though it certainly isn’t new, people are realizing that turmeric (part of the ginger family), has powerful antioxidants and natural anti-inflammatory properties.  It is commonly found in curries but there are many ways you can use it in soups, in milk, in tea, in rice, with vegetables, and more.  TIP:  For a great way to combine the power of bone broth/chicken soup and turmeric, make a delicious and flavorful turmeric chicken soup!