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Foods that Help Fight Colds

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Written by Rebecca Faulkner, MS, R

If your typical daily routine includes skipping meals, indulging in high-fat or high-sugar foods, and lots of coffee, you are setting yourself up for defeat. Keep your immune system in shape with plenty of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean protein.  

In addition to keeping our bodies functioning, vitamins also work as antioxidants. Antioxidants act as bodyguards that prevent damage to our cells and tissues. Therefore, be sure to get at lest 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. General serving sizes of fruits and vegetables include a ½ cup 100% fruit juice, 1 small fruit, ½ cup cooked or 1 cup raw vegetables.

Research has also shown that specific types of foods, nutrients and ingredients can also help you ward off the chance of getting the cold or flu. For example, garlic contains substances called allyl sulfides, which may help fight infections and lower cholesterol. Some believe that it reduces cold and flu symptoms. Add garlic to your favorite foods, or eat a raw clove if you can.  Don’t head for the garlic supplements, because the actual form is best.

Foods that Help Fight Colds

Reach for vitamin C fruits not just the vitamin bottle. Citrus fruits give you more than just vitamin C; you get extra phytochemicals, fluids, and fiber, as well.  Other great sources of vitamin C are green bell peppers, strawberries, broccoli, and pineapple.

Some people find that liberal use of fresh gingerroot helps treat colds and flu. You can make ginger tea by pouring a cup of hot water over 2 tablespoons of freshly grated ginger and letting it steep for 5-10 minutes.  Others believe that hot and spicy foods will help break up congestion quickly. If you can handle hot peppers, hot sauce, chili, and garlic, reach for your favorite hot pepper or sauce.

Instead of coffee or soda, drink plenty of water and 100% fruit juices. Try hot tea with lemon or even hot lemonade. You lose more fluids when you are sick, so stay well hydrated. Your body needs the fluid to properly fight the bugs.

Then there is chicken soup. Research seems to have proven what Mom always knew. Hot chicken soup helps clear clogged airways and the broth helps speed your recovery. For extra healing power, add plenty of vegetables, including onions, garlic, and cabbage. The protein in the chicken provides amino acids, which support your immune system.

Think of nutritious foods as part of the cold-and-flu armor. Stay clear of sick co-workers, get your flu shot, and get adequate rest.

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Weight Loss Safety

Rebecca Faulkner, MS, RD

Food Safety

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