10 Foods to Eat When You Have a Cold
Cold symptoms (like congestion, sore throat, and fatigue) are no fun. While these tasty and nutritious ideas probably won’t cure your cold, they may take the edge off a bit—and they could help you heal faster. From chicken noodle soup to dark chocolate, here are 10 foods to eat when you have a cold:
Chicken Noodle Soup
The rumors are true—chicken noodle soup actually can make you feel better when you’re sick. The classic healing concoction promotes hydration and has vitamins and nutrients that can help support your immune system when it needs it most.
Not only can you choose your herbal tea based on what symptoms you want to fight (peppermint for congestion, chamomile for sore throat, etc.), hot—but not too hot—tea can prove comforting for an irritated throat.
For an extra dose of healing power, add a spoonful of honey to your teacup. Its microbial properties may help fight certain bacteria and viruses, while it may also work as a cough suppressant.
Stuffy nose? Clear your blocked nasal passages with spicy peppers, wasabi, or horseradish. It may not cure your cold, but it can certainly help relieve some pesky symptoms.
To get the most bang out of your citrus buck, you should be eating oranges, lemons, and the like before you start exhibiting symptoms—the extra vitamin C could help prevent a cold in the first place. Still, drinking a cup of OJ once you’re sick might help you get over your illness faster.
Pungent garlic works wonders against congestion. But that’s not all: It might boost immune function too. It’s a win-win situation!
Here’s a controversial one: While some research suggests dairy stimulates mucus production in certain people, other studies have found quite the opposite (dairy reduces mucus). Either way, a cold glass of milk is an A+ sore throat soother. So there’s that.
What can’t leafy greens, like kale and spinach, do? These colorful veggies pack a powerful antioxidant punch, which can help reduce inflammation and ease some of your worst cold symptoms.
When it comes to immune system function, vitamin C gets all the attention. But vitamin A—which can help produce white blood cells and helps maintain mucous membrane health—is no slouch. Lucky for us, sweet potatoes are full of vitamin A.
Treat yourself with a piece (or two or three) of dark chocolate when you’re feeling lousy. Theobromine, an ingredient found in cocoa, may help suppress coughing.