Foods That Help You Kick a Cold
The best way to kick a cold is to drink plenty of fluids and eat immunity-boosting foods. Here are some of the best items out there:
It’s not just an old wives’ tale—chicken noodle soup can actually help soothe a cold: The chicken contains an amino acid called cysteine, which helps thin mucus in the lungs, and the hot broth helps to keep nasal passages moist, prevent dehydration, and fight inflammation in the throat. Plus, the other ingredients may help the body kick a cold by stopping congestion and inflammation in their tracks.
Warm liquids can soothe a sore throat and alleviate congestion, so drinks like freshly brewed green tea—which is rich in infection-fighting antioxidants and supports the immune system—are ideal for staying hydrated while helping out that stuffy nose. If you don’t like tea, hot water with lemon should also do the trick.
It’s a myth that vitamin C can cure the common cold, and there isn’t much scientific evidence behind the theory that it can reduce the length or severity of your symptoms. But while citrus fruits might not be a cure-all, the soft white layer of skin found on oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and limes does contain flavonoids, which can help boost the immune system and speed up recovery.
Staying properly hydrated when you have a chest cold can keep mucus thin and help reduce congestion. While it’s generally better to eat fruit than to drink it, popsicles are a great way to hydrate and are especially easy on the throat. Bonus points if they’re 100 percent fruit juice or made from whole fruit!
Spicy foods can make your nose run and your eyes water, but they’re also effective natural decongestants. Eat chili peppers, wasabi, or horseradish to help relieve the symptoms of congestion.
Foods That Settle Your Stomach
When it comes to stomach issues (which can accompany the flu), staying hydrated and eating bland things that are easy to digest are the quickest route to a speedy recovery. Here are a few of your best bets:
Crackers and Toast
Plain, unsalted, or lightly salted crackers and toast are easy on the stomach. These high-starch foods won’t aggravate any nausea you may have and can help stabilize digestion (which is especially helpful after vomiting).
Bananas are rich in potassium, which is often depleted during bouts of sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea. They’re easier to digest (A+ for bland foods!), may help lower body temperature, and can help replenish lost electrolytes.
Research has shown that ginger is incredibly effective at preventing and soothing nausea and other gastric ailments such as constipation, bloating, and vomiting. Drinking ginger tea or flat ginger ale (to avoid disrupting the stomach with carbonation) can help keep you hydrated while also soothing tummy troubles.