Coming down with a cold is a real drag with all the sniffling and sneezing, but most of us accept them as an inevitable part of life. What if you could ward off colds by eating foods that improve your immune system, though?
While you’ll probably still catch a few, by packing your diet with these 5 foods, you can reduce the severity and get back on your feet faster – and isn’t that what we all want?
Citrus is one of the most widely known foods for treating colds because citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, and one of the best things about vitamin C is that you can load up on it when you first start to feel the symptoms of a cold. Meanwhile, those who work with young children, such as at daycares or schools, or in healthcare settings, should maintain a diet high in vitamin C to nip any viruses in the bud.
Vitamin A Gets An A+
While vitamin C will help minimize cold symptoms, vitamin A actually boosts immune system function to keep you from getting sick in the first place. To maximize this nutrient in your diet, emphasize orange vegetables like carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes, or vegetables like collard greens. These may not sound like foods you want when sick, but carrots, squash, and sweet potato are all delicious in soup, while carrots can also be juiced and added to that under-the-weather essential, orange juice.
Broccoli – An “ACE” In The Hole
We’ve already covered the importance of vitamins A and C when ill, but these nutrients don’t work alone. According to RDN Sharon Palmer, vitamin E also supports the immune system, so don’t skimp on this key nutrient. You can get all three vitamins – A, C, and E – at once by eating broccoli when you’re ill. Broccoli also boosts antioxidants, plus fiber for healthy digestion.
Add In Some Herbs
We often think as herbs as a bonus seasoning but not essential. When you’re under the weather, though, herbs have a lot of benefits that other foods just can’t offer. For example, black walnut has antifungal and antiseptic properties that can help fight off candida, strep, and staph infections, plus anti-inflammatory abilities that will sooth aches and pains. Meanwhile, echinacea, which is popular in immune teas and supplements, stimulates helper T cell production to strengthen the immune system.
Get Help With Hydration
Many cold medicines, especially decongestants, are badly dehydrating, and while that’s great when it comes to clearing up your stuffy nose, it’s not so good for your overall health. Give your hydration efforts an added boost, then, by opting for coconut water instead of regular water. Coconut water contains electrolytes as well as glucose, helping to control blood sugar and improve fluid balance. It’s also the ideal drink if you’re suffering stomach upset or have a fever.
They say you should feed a cold and starve a fever, but the most important thing you can do for your health when you’re sick is to make sure you’re eating the right foods. You can’t just indiscriminately feed a cold and expect to feel better. With the proper balance of nutrition, though, you’ll be feeling like your old self in no time.