1. Chicken Noodle Soup
This old school cold-remedy is number one on the list for a reason: When you're suffering from a stuffy nose, nausea, or a sinus headache, it gives you a much-needed dose of fluids and nutrients to fight off the cold virus. Plus, the combination of both broth and healthy veggies can help reduce upper respiratory inflammation that can cause further infections.
2. Fruits and Leafy Greens
Oranges, grapefruits, berries, kiwi, and even red bell peppers and cauliflower are all chock-full of vitamin C, which according to the National Institutes of Health, can help reduce cold symptoms and shorten its duration altogether. Good Housekeeping's nutrition director, Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, especially loves leafy greens as a remedy. "They have more than 130% of our daily recommended vitamin C intake, and 133% for vitamin A. And both are antioxidants that can fight against colds."
3. Spicy Foods
Garlic, onions, and leeks are full of immunity-boosting compounds and antimicrobial and antiviral properties that can help combat against clogged sinuses. In 2001, researchers did a blind study where participants were given either a garlic supplement or a placebo capsule. Those who took the garlic supplement once a day for 12 weeks reported feeling healthier and had significantly fewer colds than the placebo group.
Salmon, tuna, mackerel, and oysters are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which helps fight the inflammation that can compromise your immune system during a cold. Oysters are also full of zinc, which might prevent the virus from multiplying. London also points out that loading up on protein while you're sick can help speed up the healing process.
5. Coffee and Tea
Both contain antioxidants with flu-fighting properties. Even better: Add one tablespoon of honey and fresh ginger to your tea. Ginger is a natural pain reliever and a mild sedative so it can help you get some much-needed rest. And a little bit of honey coats your throat and works as a natural sore throat-reliever.
6. Dark Chocolate
Pure cocoa (70% or higher) is full of disease-fighting antioxidants called polyphenols. So feel free to indulge when you're feeling ill. But stick to a one-ounce serving a day. Another bonus? One British study found that a chemical in cocoa can block the nerves that cause a cough.
7. Red Wine
Drink up! One glass of red wine could not only help you sleep at night, but it's full of the same cold- and flu-fighting antioxidants that you'll find in tea and chocolate. In fact, one study says that drinking red wine can lower our susceptibility to respiratory infections. However, if you're taking any medications, be sure to read labels carefully so you don't mix anything harmful with alcohol.
8. Nuts and Seeds
According to London, nuts are another great source of zinc. They also have the added bonus of vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that can help fight your infection faster.
What to Avoid:
Skip anything that is fried or processed as much as possible. They have little nutritional value, are full of immune-suppressing ingredients like high fructose corn syrup. Plus, they're full of fat. "You're most likely not very hungry when you're sick, so if you're eating less overall, you have to optimize your nutrient intake when you can," stresses London. This means no chips, no burgers, and definitely no soda.
It's no fun being sick as we all know, but especially in the winter months, which is flu season. Try to choose only ORGANIC foods for a healthier new year!