With bright blue skies, crisp days and cozy nights, winter also comes along with some infectious ailments, which may halt the wintry fun. A change in weather influences almost every one of us. Sniffling, sneezing, viral fever, etc., become common in this season. Common cold is a contagious disease of upper respiratory tract that affects our nose. The major symptoms include runny nose, sore throat, fever, nasal congestion; coughing and sneezing that usually take a week to resolve. The other names of this viral infection are rhinopharyngitis, head cold, nasopharyngitis, and acute coryza. Unfortunately, there is no cure for cold. However, some antibiotics may give you some relief.
In addition, there are multiple super foods that may help you get rid of common cold. Everything you eat affects your body, both internally and externally. Healthy eating habits and proper sanitation can prevent several infections. Include the following super foods into your diet to protect your body from several seasonal germs.
Yogurt that contains live bacteria can ward off a number of issues related to cold. These live cultures stimulate the production of white blood cells, which, in turn, boosts our immune system. In addition, consumption of yogurt on a daily basis keeps your weight in check and cleanses the gastrointestinal track. To obtain its full benefits, choose a sugar-free and low-fat yogurt.
Allicin, ajoene and thiosulfinates, found in garlic, safeguard your body against common cold and flu. Regular consumption of garlic strengthens the immune system. It fastens the healing process and reduces the cold symptoms. Either consume two garlic cloves, or add minced and crushed garlic to any of your recipes. Moreover, it is best to season your dish with extra flavor, aroma and nutrition.
Since ages, honey is popularly used for curing cough and cold problems. The antiseptic, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties fight off many viruses, fungi and bacteria. It effectively reduces cough, soothes sore throat and helps get a sound sleep. Drink a glass of warm water with lemon juice and honey added to it, for complete relief from nasal congestion. It will also keep your body hydrated.
- Children above one year – 1 tsp before going to bed
- Adults – 2-3 tsp (after every 2 hours)
4. Chicken Soup
Ever wonder why your mother serves a bowl of chicken soup, as soon as the first sign of cold appears? Well, it is because chicken soup provides your body with the elements required to fight off the germs that are responsible for colds. Add a few vegetables for that extra flavor.
5. Capsicum (Green and Red Bell Peppers)
Both of these varieties of capsicum are full of Vitamin C, and packed with anti-inflammatory and antioxidants properties. You should include them in your daily diet. They also contain capsaicin- a natural painkiller for the joints. Flavonoids present in green peppers actually boost the level of Vitamin C. Therefore, eat them raw, fried, roasted, steamed or grilled.
Mushrooms increase the production of cells that fight off infections. The most common types of mushrooms used in treating cold and flu are maitake, shiitake and reishi – all of which help in boosting your immune system as well. Consume an ounce of mushrooms several times a day to gain maximum protection against cold.
7. Lean Ground Beef
During winters, it is essential to keep the cells salubrious in order to protect your body against infection, like cold and flu. Lean beef helps the cells to do so, as it is full of proteins, selenium and zinc. Adding some freshly minced garlic to the beef will not only increase the zest, but also turns it into the ultimate cold fighter. Moreover, you can add tomatoes for its vitamin C content.
The phytochemicals present in onions boost up the immunity of our body. Therefore, it helps prevent the viruses causing the common cold. However, onions may make your breath stink, but they will open up your clogged nasal channel.
Ginger is one of the best treatments for the common cold. It not only cures scratchy throat, but also helps the body fight against rhinoviruses that cause cold and flu. Moreover, ginger is a natural pain reliever and also aids reducing the fever. A concoction of ginger defends against several infections. Simply, simmer 500 ml of water and add juice of ½ lemon, a tbsp of honey and some grated ginger to it. Allow the liquid to cool down and drink two glasses in a day. Alternatively, you can add grated ginger to your morning and evening tea.
10. Brazilian Nuts
These nuts contain a sufficient amount of mineral called selenium that improves the immune system. A few Brazilian nuts in a day can fulfill the daily requirement of selenium in our body and ward off several viruses and infections. Other foods that contain a good amount of selenium are- crabs, tuna, lobster, and oysters.
11. Red Wine
Polyphonies and resveratrol present in red wine stop the germs from multiplying. It also reduces mucus and phlegm resulted due to cold. For those who do not drink, eating peanuts and grape leaves would be a better substitute.
12. Black Pepper
The expectorant feature of black pepper breaks the deposits of phlegm and mucus found in the respiratory tract. Moreover, a concoction of black pepper, vinegar and ginger will help reduce fever and pain caused by the cold.
Oats are full of beta-glucan fiber that boosts up the immune system and lowers the bad LDL level. They are well-off in vitamins and minerals that defend the body against the symptoms of the common cold.
14. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds contain abundant minerals and zinc. Minerals fight off common cold, while zinc immunizes your body. The best way to include pumpkin seeds in your diet is by roasting them. You can add them to the salad, soups, yogurt or any of your favorite dishes.
Although these berries are quite expensive in the winter season, but if you can manage to get your hands on a bunch, you are sure to get well soon. They contain ample antioxidants that fight off the viruses causing flu and cold.
16. Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene that gets converted into vitamin A after consumption. A darker sweet potato contains more beta carotene. Since vitamin A is essential for stronger immune system, sweet potato plays a vital role in preventing cold issues. ½ cup of roasted or boiled potato per day is sufficient for building immunity.
It is very important to remain hydrated during sickness. The more water you drink, the better you become, since it keeps the mucous membranes wet. However, you must drink water that is at room temperature, instead of cold water.
18. Skim Milk
Skim milk is full of vitamin D that makes white blood cells active, and thus, keeps your body protected from germs and infections. Besides, it makes your bone stronger and reduces the risk of cardiovascular ailments.
19. Goat Cheese
Unlike processed cheese, goat’s cheese contains copper, which boosts the immune system. You can add it to your salad or smear some on your toast in the morning.
Beta-carotene present in carrots strengthens the immune system, hence, leads to the production of vitamin A and destroys the disease causing microbes. Eat ½ cup of fresh baby carrots once a day to acquire its benefits.
During the winter season, have a bowl of muesli instead of your normal cereal. Whole grains contain nutrients, such as selenium and zinc that keeps your immune system healthy and strong.
Oranges are full of fiber and vitamin C. In addition, flavonoids content of this fruit works as an antioxidant. It is advisable to eat 1 orange a day, instead of drinking a glass of packaged orange juice, which contains added sugar.
23. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is loaded with strong alkaline properties that wards off cold and reduces nasal congestion. Take a glass of lukewarm water and add 1-2 tbsp of ACV in it. Lemon and honey can also be included. Drink this concoction several times a day to fasten the recovery process.
24. Leafy Greens
Dark green vegetables contain higher nutrient content that safeguard your body from seasonal illness. Vegetables are best eaten in their raw form. When we chew them, a chemical is released that increases the white blood cells in your body. Vegetables like arugula help clear the chest and nasal passage.
25. Green Tea
Green tea is abundant in antioxidants that slow down the activity of virus and bacteria.
In addition, it increases the metabolism rate and strengthens the immunity. Sip 2-3 cups of green tea in a day. You can also add honey and lemon to it.
26. Skinless Turkey Breast
Lean proteins are ideal for building antibodies in our body. Similar to chicken, turkey is also full of protein that wards off infections.
27. Dark Chocolate
Chocolate in its pure form is ideal for fighting infections, as it contains zinc and several antioxidants. However, we often forget its nutritional benefits and avoid chocolate when we have a cold. To obtain its benefits, have ¼ ounces of dark chocolate a day that contains minimum 70% of cocoa content.
28. Sunflower Seeds
Full of vitamin E, the seeds help keep our lungs healthy and phlegm-free. It is best to consume dry roasted seeds, as opposed to cooking food in sunflower oil. An ounce of this crunchy snack fulfills 30% of daily requirements.
Spices, such as cinnamon, ginger, cloves, coriander and turmeric are often used to cure cough, cold, flu and other infections. The antiviral, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties of these spices defend your body against flu and cold bacteria.
Almonds contain vitamin E, zinc, manganese and ample protein that work as an immune booster. It is advised to consume a handful of almonds daily in order to prevent cold completely. Drink a glass of warm milk by adding some crushed almonds to it before you hit the bed.
31. Anise Seeds
Anise seeds are also a good remedy to alleviate common cold. A tea prepared from these seeds reduces congestion and coughing. You can add a little honey and ginger for better taste.
Fennel helps clear the chest congestion. One can eat fennel in its raw form. They are superb mouth freshener. Roast them and add some roasted coriander seeds to it. Besides, fennel tea also tastes good. Boil a cup of water and mix ½ tsp of raw fennel seeds to it. Steep it for 15 to 20 minutes. Add honey to this solution. Strain it afterwards and drink straight away.
Fish, such as tuna, salmon and mackerel contain sufficient amount of omega-3 fatty acids. These acids help reduce the chronic inflammation that is harmful to your body.
The warming properties of horseradish help fortify the immune system. It effectively cures sinus issues, as it reduces mucus and relieves nasal congestion.