It’s that time of the year again when you see people in your home and workplace constantly sneeze, cough or clear their noses. Yes, it is the season where most of us are down with cold or flu at least once. While you may prefer to reach for over the counter medicines to treat your infection, foods in your kitchen cabinet and refrigerator can also help you get rid of cold.
A common viral illness, cold can spread from an infected person to you through physical contact, contaminated food and air. The virus causes inflammation in the inner lining of your nose and throat resulting in a host of symptoms that include running nose, throat irritation, coughing, and sneezing. Blocked nose, ear ache, fever and tiredness make cold even more miserable. The viral infection lasts for 1-2 weeks even if left untreated. However, if the symptoms persist for more than two weeks, it is prudent to visit a physician to identify the underlying infection. In the meantime, scroll down to find simple remedies that can give you relief from symptoms of cold in a natural way.
Foods To Treat The Common Cold
When you are down with cold, the first thing one craves for is a steaming bowl of chicken soup. Chicken soup is an age-old remedy for cold. It gives you instant respite from nose blocks and body pains. Studies have confirmed that chicken soup has anti-inflammatory effects. They are also known to reduce the mucosal secretions. A bowl of soup will also nourish the ailing body and make you feel energetic. Add vegetables like broccoli, spinach, carrots, capsicum, etc. to your chicken soup. These vegetables are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that can boost your immune functions.
Tea is another traditional remedy used to treat cold and flu. Like chicken soup, a hot cup of tea can alleviate the congestion in the nose. It helps you beat lethargy that is commonly associated with cold. Tea can also soothe your sore throat. It is advisable to drink decaffeinated tea, especially when you are giving it to children. It is also beneficial to have herbal teas like chamomile, peppermint, etc. The antioxidants present in these teas are known to act as an immunity booster. Have a cup of tea 3-4 times a day to alleviate the symptoms of cold.
Allicin, an antioxidant present in garlic exhibits antimicrobial activity and hence used to treat cold. It is also known to boost the immune system. Crush 1-2 garlic cloves and have them like pills. If you prefer the garlic flavor, cut the cloves into small pieces and chew them every 3-4 hours to ward off cold. You can also add garlic to soup and other broths. Garlic is also known to relieve nose and chest congestion.
Water and Other Beverages
It is important to stay hydrated when you are down with cold. Drinking 7-8 glasses of water everyday can lubricate the mucous membrane. It is prudent to drink plenty of water, especially when you have a fever. If you have a sore throat, drink hot water at regular intervals to get instant respite. It is best to choose fruit juices that do not contain added sugars.
Another home remedy from your grandma’s shelf, honey can ease the symptoms of cold. It can soothe a sore throat, provide relief from persistent cough and boost your immunity. Honey coats your throat and reduces the incidence of dry cough. Have a teaspoon of honey every 5-6 hours as soon as you experience the first sign of cold. You can add honey to a hot cup of tea or water to enjoy its benefits.
Spices in your meals can ease the symptoms of cold. Chili or cayenne peppers that are added to your food give relief from a stuffy nose. Capsaicin, the compound present in pepper can thin the mucous secretion and destroy the germs in your nasal passage. They promote sweating and are useful when you have a fever. Spices like coriander and cinnamon can help you to bring down the body temperature. They contract the blood vessels and unblock your stuffy nose. You can add whole or grounded coriander or cinnamon to your cup of tea or soup.
Ginger has been used to alleviate the symptoms of cold since time immemorial. It reduces the inflammation in your nose and throat. It can clear nose blocks and helps you breathe better. Boil a piece of fresh ginger in a cup of water for a few minutes. Add a teaspoon of honey to the ginger concoction and drink it twice a day to ease the symptoms of cold. You can also chew a small piece of fresh ginger to get instant relief from a stuffy nose. Add ginger to tea, soups and other dishes to garner its benefits.