The common cold is not a life threatening disease and often goes away in a few days after running its course. However, a running nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, persistent sneezes, or coughs can leave you feeling miserable. Although nothing can cure a cold, some remedies may ease your symptoms while the infection lasts. If you do not want to pump your body with over-the-counter drugs, the good news is there are home remedies that can be just as effective. Check out this list of top 5 foods for healing colds without the need for medication.
Healing Colds with Natural Home Remedies
1. Chicken Soup
This age-old remedy can work wonders when trying to recover from a cold. But, how does grandma's old recipe work to relieve the sniffles? Well, at the basic level, a bowl of chicken broth will prevent dehydration, loosen up mucous congestion and may provide some relief for a sore throat.
Researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center took this age-old folk remedy from the kitchen to the lab to investigate its claimed therapeutic effects on colds. The study found that chicken soup mitigated movement of netrophils (white blood cells) in serum infected with the cold virus, indicating that chicken soup has anti-inflammatory effects that help shorten upper respiratory tract infections.
Garlic is believed to possess antiviral, antibacterial and immune boosting properties. These purported therapeutic effects were put to the test in a 2014 study that split 146 volunteers into two groups receiving either a garlic supplement or placebo. The trial lasted three months and found that test subjects taking a placebo had 65 colds while the garlic group only recorded 24 occurrences of the common cold. When using garlic to treat colds, you can add it to chicken soup for a more potent cold tonic. Alternatively, grate garlic and add it to daily broths.
Ginger is believed to be popularly useful for the common cold. Nutrition experts suggest that it contains compounds called sesquiterpenes, which specifically attack the rhinoviruses that cause common cold. Ginger is claimed to have immune boosting, antibacterial, antiviral and expectorant properties as well. Some studies suggest it fights inflammation too. Adding a couple of tablespoons of grated ginger to your tea or drinking up a strong cup of ginger ale can provide some fast relief for a scratchy throat. Much like garlic, you can also include ginger in chicken soup recipes to prepare a strong cold remedy.
4. Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits are packed with vitamin C, the vital nutrient that helps to maintain proper immune system function. Vitamin C's antioxidant properties make it an excellent nutrient to fortify your body's defenses against the common cold. Drinking some lemonade or eating whole citrus-fruits like oranges and tangerines can therefore help to speed up recovery.
Mushrooms help ward off colds thanks to the presence of Beta-glucan , a biological response modifier known for boosting immune system function. As a result, consumption of these edible fungi has been associated with increased production of cells that fight off infection. When it comes to mushrooms, your choices are plenty. However, the most popular cold fighting mushrooms in traditional Chinese medicine are the reishi, maitake and shiitake varieties.
In addition to healing colds by eating cold fighting foods, you should also get plenty of rest to speed up the recovery process. A common cold typically last for about one week. If your symptoms persist for much longer, you may have a bacterial infection that will require treatment with antibiotics. In such cases, it is best to check with your doctor to find out if you have developed a sinus infection that may require different treatment approaches.