Guys love quick cures and the hopeful promise of scientific wonder potions. When we get sick, we reach for over-the-counter chemical concoctions.
The modern miracle juice comes in a dazzling rainbow of colors — one for every cold or flu symptom imaginable. And sure, they’ll knock you out until the cold gives up, but they’re not true remedies. If you really want to fend off the flu or kill a cold, you don’t have to look any further than your fridge.
That’s right: Many foods harbor antiviral and antibacterial agents that can help your immune system slaughter nearly any nasty bug. The following ingredients can prevent infection or boost your body’s natural defenses.
1. Cayenne Pepper and Hot Chilies
If your head feels like it’s packed with Elmer’s glue, skip the pills and pop a chili pepper instead. Capsaicin, the chemical that gives chilies their bite, acts as a decongestant, expectorant and pain reliever all at once. Remember how your nose, mouth and eyes ran after your friend dared you to munch on a jalapeno?
Imagine the same effect when your head is clogged by a cold. Capsaicin encourages your body to thin down all that mucus so you can hack it up and get rid of it.It may seem counterintuitive, but capsaicin does deaden nerves when it’s applied. The chemical depletes the neurotransmitter “substance P,” which relays pain signals to the brain.
It also cranks up the body’s production of collagenase and prostaglandin, which reduce pain and swelling. Got a sore throat? Gulp down some Tabasco sauce. Chilies are also packed with vitamin C. In fact, one chili can contain up to four times as much vitamin C as an orange. And vitamin C, as we’ll see, has been proven to shorten the duration of colds.
2. Chicken Soup
Science has confirmed grandma’s wisdom: Chicken soup is undoubtedly good for a cold. But grandma knew it without holding clinical trials or applying for research grants, so what gives? Doctors at the University of Nebraska Medical Center actually tested the cold-healing powers of chicken soup.
In fact, they used grandma’s recipe, which included chicken, onions, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, carrots, celery stems, and parsley. After conducting a number of laborious tests, researchers were able to pinpoint one of the soup’s active, cold-fighting ingredients: chicken stock. The base for all chicken soups actually slows down mucus production, helping you breathe easier during a cold. The researchers went on to test 13 different brands of store-bought chicken soup. Nearly all of them suppressed mucus production to some degree. Vegetarian versions, however, were missing the crucial ingredient.
So even if grandma isn’t around to make you the family chicken soup, grab a can of Campbell’s. The steamy broth will definitely help you get over your cold more quickly.
More From AskMen.com:
— Healing Foods
— Herbal Remedies For Relaxation
— Foods That Boost Your Immune System
— Cholesterol-Reducing Foods
3. Orange Juice
When you got sick as a kid, your mom poured orange juice down your gullet. As with most things, your mom knew what she was doing. Orange juice is great medicine for a cold. It contains tons of vitamin C, which has been more or less proven to shorten the duration of colds.
In the ‘70s, Dr. Terence Anderson and colleagues at the University of Toronto published a number of studies that suggested that taking the FDA-recommended daily dose of vitamin C (about 90 milligrams) could shorten the duration of a cold by a day.
Other researchers and doctors, including the legendary biochemist Linus Pauling, suggested that taking up to four times the daily recommended dose of vitamin C could do wonders. More recent studies, however, have shown that mega-dosing vitamin C has no real benefits over taking the recommended dose.
So how much vitamin C is in orange juice? Depending on the brand, there are about 120 mg in one cup — that’s more than the recommended daily dose. So the next time you come down with a cold, reach for the OJ. And remember: The fresher, the better, so go for the freshly squeezed stuff if you can.
4. Ginger Tea
If you catch the sniffles in China, you’ll likely be served ginger tea. Herbalists in the ancient country have been prescribing the stuff for centuries. They claim that ginger tea can miraculously cure colds, relieve headaches, negate nausea, and even improve circulation. There’s evidence that ginger, taken as a tea or by itself, does have mild analgesic (pain-relieving) effects. Other studies have shown that ginger fights certain types of viruses. So a cup of ginger tea or some freshly crushed ginger mixed in hot water can ease cold symptoms and help you recover more quickly.
The ancient Egyptians loved garlic so much that they used it as currency. Today, you might not be able to trade a clove or two for an Xbox game, but you can use the pungent plant to fight off an invading virus. Garlic contains allicin, a chemical compound that destroys bacteria and makes it seriously hard for viruses to stay alive.
A 2001 study by the Garlic Center in East Sussex, England, found that people who took an allicin supplement were half as likely to catch a cold than those who did not. Of course, eating raw garlic or garlicky foods would have a similar effect. Garlic is so good at fighting the flu that chemists are studying ways to refine its potent punch. Ajoene, a derivitive of allicin, slaughters bacteria and inhibits the growth and reproduction of many viruses.
How do you know you’re getting enough garlic? Try eating a clove a day, either raw or cooked in your food. But remember: Cooking does diminish garlic’s potency, so you may want to add more than one clove to your pasta sauce to get the full benefits.
Don’t give into the temptation of buying a bottle of brightly colored cold syrup at the drugstore. Instead, dive into your fridge or your pantry and fight your cold with natural ingredients. Mother Nature has provided you with an extensive array of edible treatments that will work just as well as — or even better than — their man-made counterparts.
- How we became convinced that orange juice could conquer the common cold
- It makes your sore throat worse
- Added sugars can further hurt your immune system
- You could be eating more beneficial foods instead
- You’ll be neglecting your water intake
- Use it as a prevention method
- Americans are buying lots of orange juice to fight off colds and the flu — but it’s the biggest con of your life
- Orange juice won’t help you heal from a cold or flu
- Pediatric flu death: Mom encourages vaccination after losing 6-year-old daughter to flu
- 1. Ginger tea
- 2. Oranges
- 3. Water
- Should your kid get the flu shot every year? TODAY answers your medical questions
- 4. Greek yogurt
- 5. Blueberries
- 6. Ginseng tea
- 7. Tomatoes
- 8. Wild salmon
- Cold remedies: What works, what doesn’t of honey, Vitamin C, more
- 9. Dark chocolate
- 10. Broccoli
- 11. Extra virgin olive oil
- 12. Green tea
- 13. Spinach
- 14. Whole-grain bread
- 15. Eggs
- 16. Garlic
- 17. Apples
- Does Orange Juice Help Chase Away a Cold?
- Sorry! Orange Juice Will Not Cure Your Cold
What You Don’t Need
These drinks won’t help you get over your cold or flu, and some could do more harm than good.
- Sports drinks. They can help if you’re very dehydrated, but they don’t really do much to make you feel better. Plus, they have a lot of sugar. Other drinks will help you hydrate without the extra sweet stuff.
- Fruit juices. Juice may seem like a good idea, especially for kids, but like sports drinks, most have loads of added sugar. Citrus-based ones like orange juice can also aggravate sore throats. If it’s all your child wants to drink, try adding a splash or two to a cup of water instead of a glassful of juice.
- Coffee. If you’re going to sip a hot drink, might as well get your daily dose of caffeine in it, right? Wrong. Try to stick with water and nutrient-rich soups.
- Ginger ale. While ginger in its natural form may have some cold and flu benefits, this carbonated, sugary version won’t offer much relief. Soft drinks of any kind have very little of the nutrients and electrolytes you need to fight off sickness. Get your ginger in a mug of hot tea instead.
- Alcohol. It dehydrates you and can make some symptoms worse, like nausea, headaches, and body aches. Booze can also make your body less able to handle infections. So save that hot toddy for when you’re feeling better.
How we became convinced that orange juice could conquer the common cold
At first sniffle, my friend insists drinking orange juice will prevent a full-fledged cold from forming. She’s definitely wrong, but she’s not alone in her thinking — and I love her anyway.
It’s common advice that chugging liquid vitamin C — Emergen-C and orange juice are most popular in my social circles — will thwart sickly symptoms from ripening into a cold. While there’s no evidence a glass of Tropicana can keep the mucus at bay (some research suggests it could actually aggravate your sickness), the remedy is a much-repeated myth. For the first time in decades, however, grocers have seen a spike in orange juice sales in 2018, occurring in tandem with an especially turbulent flu season.
Where did the orange juice myth come from?
A Sunkist ad from 1917Sunkist
Drinking OJ for health is something people did in the early 20th century, around the same time men would endure electrical impotence cures.
Orange juice’s pervasive health halo dates back to the Industrial Revolution. From the 1880s through the 1920s, the U.S. experienced massive epidemics of illness and disease. “Explosive growth in cities led to problems in street cleaning and garbage removal and general sanitary issues,” Juliann Sivulka, professor of advertising and American studies at Waseda University in Tokyo, said in an interview. With crowded and filthy spaces came health crusaders, as Sivulka put it — and with the health crusaders came marketers seeking opportunity in this new environment.
In the early 1900s, Sivulka said, the Southern California Fruit Growers Association (which later became the popular orange brand Sunkist) was searching for a way to sell more fruit. Marketers hired by the company understood that consumers typically ate oranges. To increase the number of oranges sold, Claude Hopkins of the ad agency Lord & Thomas introduced a campaign called “Drink an Orange,” said Sivulka.
A 1916 ad campaign for Sunkist, published in the ‘Saturday Evening Post’Sunkist
According to Sivulka, Hopkins had the brilliant idea to dole out juice reamers. The tool taught consumers to enjoy oranges in a totally new and radical way — by drinking it. Juicing “meant that the average consumption per serving went from half an orange to about two or three oranges,” Jeff Cruikshank, co-author of The Man Who Sold America told HBR IdeaCast. “And became the biggest producer of flatware in the world and the biggest producer of glass orange-juice squishers because it was such a runaway success. It’s probably his biggest commercial triumph.”
Even before the juice’s soaring success, the orange itself had earned a reputation of health.
“To eat an orange was to imbibe the spirit of the land, to be lifted momentarily from the city sidewalks of Chicago or Boston and placed in the paradise of California’s resplendent valleys.”
How oranges got their healthy reputation
Sunkist positioned the fruit through the lens of health to attract consumers. With their new urban lifestyles, “many reformers had worried that Americans, deprived of sunlight and the challenges of the frontier, might degenerate,” Douglas Cazaux Sackman wrote in his book Orange Empire: California and the Fruits of Eden. Oranges were accepted symbols of nature and could help city dwellers return to their roots.
“In the form of the orange, the curative effects of nature could travel to those suffering from the ‘rust’ of modern life,” Sackman wrote. “To eat an orange was to imbibe the spirit of the land, to be lifted momentarily from the city sidewalks of Chicago or Boston and placed in the paradise of California’s resplendent valleys.”
A Sunkist advertisement published in the ‘East Oregonian’ in March 1910 refers to oranges as “real health insurance.”University of Oregon Libraries/Library of Congress
Orange juice soared in popularity in the 1920s, when pasteurization and trucking were introduced and people could drink the stuff from a can, Megan J. Elias wrote in her book, Food in the United States, 1890-1945.
Sunkist masterminds glommed on to new nutritional findings from food scientists that certain foods could be protective, even “ research in nutritional science that yielded certain findings, which Sunkist in turn promoted, inflated and then defended by pointing to the fact that scientists had discovered them,” Sackman wrote. “This gave Sunkist just the thing it wanted — a new and mysterious presence in its product about which it could educate the public. Sunkist ingeniously presented educational narratives that simultaneously aroused fear of dietary deficiency and offered relief with its unique remedy.”
The rise of questionable claims
The surge in information around vitamins led Sunkist to declare some questionable — but irresistible — claims about its juice’s star vitamin, juicing the fear factor. “Sunkist claimed that because it had vitamin C, orange juice could prevent or cure ‘pneumonia, flu, or common colds,’” Elias wrote. “For Americans who had lived through the trauma of the 1918 influenza epidemic, this gave the juice special appeal.”
A Minute Maid ad from 1952Minute Maid/Classic Film/Flickr
That the false notion of OJ curing the common cold has survived for nearly 100 years teaches us one thing: The power of marketing is lasting and strong. Since Sunkist set the foundation, several other brands have piggybacked off its strategy: A 1952 Minute Maid advertisement, for example, told consumers to “drink Minute Maid for better health” and claimed frozen OJ was more healthful than home-squeezed versions (sounds fishy, no?).
But when it comes down to it, there’s not enough consistent evidence to show that vitamin C — let alone orange juice — can prevent a cold. “At the end of the day, a cold is a virus, it has to run its course, and treatment is for symptoms only,” Randy Wexler, assistant professor of family medicine at the Ohio State University College of Medicine, told Everyday Health.
As for my friend who is dead-set on prescribing orange juice, I’m going to show her this 1,000-word screed. She probably won’t believe me. Old habits die hard, and the association of health and orange juice isn’t going anywhere. “It’s amazing,” Sivulka said about the marketing tactics for orange juice. “It’s selling a habit — the brilliant marketers were finding a need and filling it.”
By: Jacqueline Gomes, RDN, MBA
There are no known cures for colds and flu, so cold and flu prevention is key. A proactive approach to warding off colds and flu is apt to make your whole life healthier. A healthy immune system starts with a diet rich in fruits and vegetables which will support your body with vitamins such as C, K, A and D. Even the slightest deficiency in these nutrients can lower your immune system defenses, potentially making you more susceptible to infections.
Foods good for Cold and Cough
- Phytochemicals are natural chemicals found in plants that give the vitamins in food a supercharged boost. Eat dark green, red, and yellow vegetables and fruits.
- 100% orange juice and oranges provide a good source of potassium for a healthy blood pressure, folic acid and an excellent source of antioxidant Vitamin C, which has been shown to help support a healthy immune system.
- The perfect on-the-go snack, apples are rich in flavonoids! The antioxidant power of apples is estimated to have more than 1,500mg of vitamin C.
- Cranberries are scientifically recognizable as potent sources of polyphenols, specifically from a subclass of flavonoids called proanthocyanidins (PACs), which are unique to and abundant in cranberries. Scientific studies suggest that people who eat foods rich in certain polyphenols have lower rates of inflammatory disease. The great news is that these beneficial phytonutrients can be enjoyed in different types of cranberry products, fresh, dried, canned or frozen cranberries!
- Pineapples are known for their anti-inflammatory enzyme bromelain. Bromelain has been reported to calm a cough and soothe a sore throat. The rich source of vitamin C is an added bonus for prevention!
- Sweet potatoes…not your usual “cold-preventing” food but they are a stellar source of Vitamin A, which plays a key role in maintaining the health of the mucosal surface. Think the inside of your nose, gastrointestinal tract and your skin!
Immune Boosting Smoothie
Prep: 5 minutes
Makes: 2 Servings
- 1 cup cubed frozen pineapple
- 1/2 sliced banana, frozen
- 1 cup kale, leaves torn, stem removed
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 1 (6ounce) Plain fat-free Greek Yogurt
- Dash Cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup water
Puree all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Add more water if a thinner smoothie is desired.
Recipe by: Jacqueline Gomes, RDN, MBA
Nutrition information: 176 Calories; 0g Fat; 0g Saturated Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 55mg Sodium; 36g Carbohydrate; 4g Fiber; 11g Protein
Pineapple Sweet Potatoes
This recipe is just for fun! Makes a sweet addition to your holiday table!
Makes: 8 Servings
- 6 sweet potatoes
- 1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 pinch ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch ground ginger
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter one 9×13 inch baking dish.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes; cook until tender but still firm. Drain, and transfer to a large bowl to cool. Peel and quarter.
- In a sauce pan, combine pineapple, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Bring to boil and reduce heat.
- Arrange potatoes in a single layer in baking dish. Pour sauce over potatoes and bake for 45 minutes.
Sometimes we hear our mom’s voice in the back of our heads when we’re sick telling us how to get better. Buy some chicken noodle soup. Get lots of sleep. Drink orange juice?
Not so fast. Orange juice may not deserve its holy reputation for curing that cold. It’s been praised for its Vitamin C content, but next time I think I’ll pass on the orange juice when I’m feeling under the weather.
It makes your sore throat worse
Although Vitamin C is credited for helping with inflammation, the Vitamin C in Orange Juice is completely canceled out because of its acidity. Acidic liquids will aggravate an already-scratchy throat. Try gargling with salt water, not only will it soothe sore throats, it will flush out post-nasal drip (ew) and salt also doesn’t allow bacteria to grow.
Added sugars can further hurt your immune system
Most juices that you buy at the grocery store are full of hidden sugars that can wreak havoc on your immune system. Extra sugar can reduce the quality of your white blood cells which help keep your immune system running smoothly.
Most commercial orange juice is so over processed that it wouldn’t even be drinkable without added “flavour packs.”
You could be eating more beneficial foods instead
If you want to get some micronutrients in, stick to actually peeling an orange. Or try some other Vitamin C heavy foods like broccoli or red bell peppers. You’ll get some added fiber, so you can make it part of a meal.
If you’re not into vegetables, chop up some garlic for a pasta dish (or eat a clove—yes, I’ve done this.) They act as a natural antibiotic and provide the most antioxidants when eaten raw.
You’ll be neglecting your water intake
By drinking orange juice, you might be forgetting to hydrate yourself with the simplest juice of all: water. Hydration is key to fight off a cold. It keeps your organs hydrated and working great to prevent a cold, but also flushes out toxins if you’re already suffering.
Jazz up your drinks with some hot, vegan options too, so that you can get better as soon as possible.
Use it as a prevention method
If you’re in love with orange juice, don’t fret. The Vitamin C will help boost your immune system to avoid future colds. You can still enjoy this drink, just maybe don’t give it such high priority when you’re sick.
Want to know what’s an even better prevention method? Dark chocolate. Yep, research shows eating chocolate can help alleviate cold symptoms. Move over, OJ.
Let’s face it, besides the bitter cold and snow we can experience during the winter season at Notre Dame, the cold and flu season that accompanies it is even more unwelcome. So can orange juice be helpful in battling these ailments, or are there better strategies?
Most people reach for orange juice because it is a known high vitamin C food. A typical cup has about 80 mg (that’s over 100% of the recommended dietary allowance) and vitamin C is well known for being a powerful immune system booster. So from that standpoint, orange juice seems like the perfect beverage this time of year. However, what’s lurking in orange juice, and any juices for that matter, is a substance that most of us consume way too much of, AND actually weakens our immune system. Any guesses? If you said sugar, pat yourself on the back.
The research on the dangers of sugar in our diets has exploded. We now know sugar in our diets is linked to obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. We also know that sugar suppresses the immune system; something we want to avoid as we try to avoid colds and flu this winter. In fact, a glass of orange juice has about 36 grams of carbohydrates, or 9 teaspoons of sugar. This is just shy of the 39 grams of carbs you’d find in a glass of soda. In fact, this is the reason many of us say that fruit juices are just glorified soft drinks.
So with orange juice out of the running, what can you eat or do to help your immune system this winter? Feel free to eat oranges, the fiber in oranges protect us from the sugar. Look to other high vitamin C foods as well such as: green peppers, cantaloupe, grapefruit, tomatoes, broccoli, and green leafy vegetables. Garlic is wonderful for our immune systems, so eat as much as you can stand. Try to eat 5 servings of vegetables a day, a proven immune system winner. Drink plenty of tea and water. In addition, get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night and wash your hands frequently throughout the day. I’d also advise taking a vitamin D supplement throughout fall and winter (2000 to 4000 IU daily).
Americans are buying lots of orange juice to fight off colds and the flu — but it’s the biggest con of your life
- Orange juice sales are on the rise for the first time in half a decade.
- The beverage contains some vitamins, but it also has a lot of sugar.
- Research suggests that orange juice will not help you recover from a cold or the flu — and vitamin C supplements won’t either.
Growing up, I cherished the lazy Saturday morning when I could eat breakfast in my pajamas and watch cartoons. Back then, it seemed every cereal ad included the phrase “Part of a complete breakfast!” — a meal made up of cereal, milk, and orange juice.
But orange juice shouldn’t be part of a complete breakfast.
While the beverage has some vitamins, it also has an awful lot of sugar — a 12-ounce glass contains roughly the same sugar content as a can of Sprite or a bag of M&Ms.
More importantly, juicing fruit removes most of the fiber, which is the key ingredient that keeps you feeling full until your next meal. This is one of the reasons calories from sweetened beverages are often referred to as “empty calories,” since they can increase hunger pangs and mood swings and leave you with low energy levels.
It also likely won’t help you beat the common cold or the flu.
Orange juice won’t help you heal from a cold or flu
This winter, as an especially bad flu epidemic has swept the US, people seem to have resumed drinking juice in the hope that it will help them fight off illness. Sales of the drink rose 0.9% in the four weeks ending on January 20,according to The Wall Street Journal — the first time in almost five years that Nielsen data showed a year-over-year increase.
But upping one’s OJ intake won’t help. Some studies suggest it could actually do more harm than good, since the juice is high in the sugar fructose, which some evidence suggests could actually suppress your immune system.
Many people believe that drinking juice is a good way to give the body vitamin C. While the vitamin is generally beneficial for your health, studies have found that it does nothing to prevent or treat the common cold. Plus, if you want to up your vitamin C consumption, a lot of other foods pack more of it than an orange. These include guava, red bell pepper, kale, and broccoli.
If you really want to take something to feel better while you’re sick with a cold, studies suggest that zinc — not vitamin C — might be your best bet.
The mineral seems to interfere with the replication of rhinoviruses, the bugs that cause the common cold.
In a 2011 review of studies of people who’d recently gotten sick, researchers looked at those who’d started taking zinc and compared them with those who just took a placebo. The ones on zinc had shorter colds and less severe symptoms.
When struck with a cold or the flu, turn to these symptom-soothers and immune-boosters to help get back on track.
When you’re sick, you’re sick … and while science has done some pretty impressive things, it has yet to invent an instant cure for cold and flu. While we all know that we’re supposed to drink lots of fluids and get rest, I like these nutritionists’ recommendations that Time.com recommends for battling the bugs (and to which I’ve added). “Staying hydrated and eating nutrient-rich foods can help ensure you don’t feel any worse than you already do,” writes Amanda Macmillan, “and may help ease your discomfort and get you back on your feet faster.”
1. Electrolyte drinks
Denver-based nutritionist Jessica Crandall, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says, “Staying hydrated is the most important thing when you have the flu, especially if you’re running a fever and sweating, or you’re having trouble keeping food down.”Water is the most basic way to hydrate, but adding an electrolyte-rich sports drink can help replenish sodium and potassium as well. I would personally opt for coconut water, which comes without the artificial ingredients and added sugar.
2. Green tea
Think of green tea as another route to hydration; with an added soothing factor and a boost of antioxidants. “The flu usually involves upper respiratory symptoms, and drinking warm or hot liquids can help open airways,” says Rena Zelig, assistant professor of nutritional sciences at Rutgers University. “It may also feel better to drink than room-temperature water.”
Adding honey can help too: Aside from folk wisdom, there is plenty of research showing that honey is efficacious for treating cough and sore throat. Bonus points for a bit of caffeine as well, to quell withdrawal headache if you can’t stomach your morning coffee.
3. Chicken noodle soup
Zelig says that the granny go-to, chicken noodle soup, is more than just clever marketing:
Its salty broth can help hydrate and replace lost sodium while the vegetables provide vitamins and minerals. The chicken itself provides protein, “which is important for healing and for getting your strength back when you’ve been sick.”
And while chicken noodle soup in particular may have some special tricks up its sleeve, opting for vegetarian soups can do a load of good as well. I find that a ginger-rich broth with vegetables and citrus soothes on many levels – make it udon-style for the noodle part, no birds required. And on that note, Chinese hot and sour soup or Thai tom yum gai soup have a host of their own curative miracles as well.
4. Beans or peas
Crandall echoes my hesitation about chicken, which I never want to “choke down,” saying: “Sometimes when you’re sick, you don’t want to choke down a chicken breast. In that case, getting protein in an alternative form—a protein drink, or a more palatable food source—may be a better option.” Adding plant-based proteins may be easier to stomach, and are great in a steaming bowl of soup. My raid-the-pantry staple “soup” consists of little more that a can of tomatoes simmered with a can of chickpeas (both BPA free) with whatever produce odds and ends are in the refrigerator. Nobody needs to be fancy when they’re sick.
5. The ol’ rainbow of plants
Eating a variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables is important all the time, to ensure a nice array of antioxidants, says Zelig (and most everyone else). But when you’re sick with a compromised immune system, it’s especially prudent.
“It’s not like if you stock up on fruits and vegetables you’ll get better a day sooner,” says Zelig. “But we do know that antioxidants have a role in keeping you healthy and boosting the immune system, so it’s certainly a good idea.” Eating a bunch of vibrant raw produce may not seem that appetizing when sick; consider making smoothies, or, sounding like a broken record here, make soup.
6. Orange juice
This one surprised me because the general nutrition advice of late generally steers us away from juice, and points to whole fruits and vegetables instead. But if you’re sick, drinkable antioxidants and a boost of vitamin C, may help lessen the duration of colds and flu, says Crandall. But that C comes with a caveat. “Your body can only absorb so much vitamin C at once, and if you have too much it can cause gastrointestinal issues,” she adds. One way to get some of orange juice’s benefits and extra hydration without the GI distress and calories is to dilute it with one part juice to four or five parts water.
7. Zinc-rich foods
Zinc has been shown to help regulate the immune system and taking zinc supplements is my sure-fire way to reduce the symptoms and duration of a cold. Crandall says that getting zinc from food sources may be helpful as well. Here, she recommends beef – but for those of us who shun the thought, other good sources of zinc include cashews, fortified breakfast cereal, chickpeas, oatmeal, kidney beans, and almonds.
8. BRAT foods
Because who doesn’t feel a bit bratty when they don’t feel well? Ok, actually this one gets the thumbs-up because the BRAT foods – bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast – are good for tummies that are feeling peevish. “Sometimes when people have the flu, they have a lot of nausea or GI upset,” says Zelig. “If that’s the case, you want to stick to simple, bland foods that your stomach can easily tolerate.”
9. Fortified grains
Zelig recommends foods to boost energy levels, specifically foods that contain B vitamins. While things like vitamin B12 are found in eggs, meat, shellfish and dairy, those might not be appealing to vegetarians or someone suffering from the flu. Plus, cooking. In which case, opting for fortified (and low in added sugar) cereal or bread can be a good option. Both seem especially practical if you don’t have someone playing nurse, as they require little preparation.
Ginger is my best friend in times of sickness; research shows that it is anti-inflammatory and effective against nausea – and its spicy aroma is wonderfully soothing when the nose, throat and lungs are complaining. Zelig reminds us not to rely on ginger ale because of its lack of actual ginger and preponderance of sugar; but you can make your own, or make a beautiful spicy hot ginger tea. Here’s how to make a ginger-honey syrup that can be used for both. Ginger is also great in, yes, soup – seriously, it can be as simple as simmering ginger slices in water, adding some miso paste and scallions, and that’s it.
Read more at Time.com, and for more on natural remedies and staying well, see the related stories below.
A drop in temperature signals the start of cold and flu season. If you’re not careful, you could be one of the thousands of people who get sick.
Of course, one of the best ways to protect yourself is by getting your annual flu shot, but fortifying your immune system doesn’t end at the doctor’s office. You can also protect your body from the coughing and sniffles by loading up on the 17 immune-boosting foods we’ve listed below. And while you’re keeping yourself healthy, be sure to avoid these 40 habits that make you sick and fat.
Pediatric flu death: Mom encourages vaccination after losing 6-year-old daughter to flu
Dec. 6, 201804:02
1. Ginger tea
When it comes to treating a common cold, ginger is one of the best foods for relief. In a review published in the International Journal of Preventative Medicine, researchers summarized that ginger’s potent anti-inflammtory properties were key in the root’s powers to combat a cold or flu. Because inflammation can affect your body’s immune response, anti-inflammatory ginger can play a key role in boosting your immunity.
Oranges are packed with vitamin C, an essential nutrient when you’re feeling under the weather. According to a review conducted by the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, at the Australian National University, vitamin C is helpful in preventing the common cold for people exposed to sickness-inducing environments, such as cold weather, and can help lower the duration and severity of a cold.
When you’re feeling sick, good ol’ H2O can be one of the most helpful drinks to sip. Staying hydrated can help loosen trapped mucus. Try drinking at least the recommended eight glasses of water a day to keep yourself fully hydrated since we tend to lose more fluids when we’re sick.
Should your kid get the flu shot every year? TODAY answers your medical questions
Oct. 29, 201803:36
4. Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt is filled with sickness-fighting probiotics and is packed with more protein than regular yogurt. A meta-analysis published in the journal Korean Journal of Family Medicine found that probiotics can help to prevent and treat the common cold. The researchers discovered that people who ate probiotics daily had a lower risk of catching a cold than those who did not eat any probiotic-rich food.
Blueberries are filled with antioxidants that can help treat and prevent coughs and colds. According to research conducted by the University of Auckland, consuming flavonoids — a class of antioxidants found in blueberries — made adults 33 percent less likely to catch a cold than those who did not eat flavonoid-rich foods or supplements daily.
6. Ginseng tea
Ginseng tea is popular for more reasons than its delicious taste. Namely, the tea has been used as a treatment for upper respiratory tract infections (aka the common cold). A review published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal noted that ginseng has been shown to significantly reduce the symptoms of colds and influenza. However, the researchers noted that more research needs to be conducted to fully support ginseng’s immunity-boosting claims.
Tomatoes are also a great food to eat when you’re sick due to their high concentration of vitamin C. Just one medium tomato contains a little over 16 milligrams of vitamin C, which is a proven fuel to your body’s immune system.
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In a German study published by Medizinische Monatsschrift fur Pharmazeuten, vitamin C was shown to be a vital part of the strength of the body’s phagocytes and t-cells, two major components of the immune system. The researchers also noted that a deficiency in this nutrient can lead to a weaker immune system and a lower resistance to certain pathogens that can lead to illness.
8. Wild salmon
Wild salmon is filled with zinc, a nutrient that has been proven to assist with reducing common cold symptoms. If you want your family, and especially your children, to avoid a cold this winter season, then you should be giving them zinc-rich foods.
The Journal of Family Practice published a study examining the effects of zinc on the common cold in children ages 1 to 10 years old. Researchers found that zinc, in comparison to a placebo, significantly reduced the severity and duration of symptoms when taken within 24 hours of the onset of cold symptoms.The researchers noted another trial involving children ages 6.5 to 10 years old proved zinc to also be a helpful component in preventing that cold. The children who took 15 mg of zinc daily for seven months were found to be significantly less likely to catch a cold during flu season in comparison to those in the control group.
Cold remedies: What works, what doesn’t of honey, Vitamin C, more
Jan. 25, 201602:58
9. Dark chocolate
Believe it or not, dark chocolate can be extremely helpful in fighting off of a cold. Dark chocolate contains a heavy concentration of theobromine, an antioxidant that has been proven to alleviate coughing. A study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology found that theobromine is helpful in suppressing cough symptoms for people with bronchitis, but notes that more research needs to be done to fully confirm their findings.
University of California in Los Angeles researchers reported broccoli can be a great addition to your diet if you’re trying to prevent a cold. Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables were proven to help boost immunity, according to the study. Researchers claim that sulforaphane, a chemical in the vegetable, switches on antioxidant genes and enzymes in specific immune cells, which combat free radicals in your body and prevent you from getting sick.
11. Extra virgin olive oil
This oil has been shown to also help rebuild and boost the body’s immunity. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found olive oil’s high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids act as an anti-inflammatory agent in the body, which also assisted in boosting the immune system and guarding the body of infection.
12. Green tea
Green tea is not only one of our recommended 5 best teas for weight loss, it’s also one of the best sources for fighting off a cold. It contains flavonoids, an antioxidant that boosts immunity, and has anti-inflammatory properties, according to a study published in the Journal of Indian Society of Periodontology. The study states that the antioxidant catechin, which is heavily prevalent in green tea, is known to be a powerful antibacterial and antiviral and can kill off cold-starting bacteria and the influenza virus.
Spinach is a major superfood that is great for your overall health. Not only is it packed with digestion-regulating fiber, but it also contains vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful nutrient that can assist in preventing the common cold and help reduce symptoms of sickness.
14. Whole-grain bread
Whole grains contain anti-inflammatory properties, which allows for an increase of production of healthy bacteria, according to a study published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Seventy percent of your immune system lives in your gut, according to Tyeese L. Gaines, DO, in our list of 27 Doctors’ Own Cures for a Cold. So, it’s important to keep your gut healthy if you want to fend off any cold-causing germs!
Eggs, especially the yolks, are packed with immunity-boosting nutrients. Eggs contain a high amount of vitamin D, a vitamin that’s vital in regulating and strengthening immunity. According to a study published in the journal JAMA, participants who took a daily serving of vitamin D in the wintertime were less likely to catch a cold or any other upper respiratory tract infection in comparison to those who did not.
Garlic has built a reputation for being one of the best cold-curing foods, and for good reason. A review of the food published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews showed that a group of participants in a study who ate garlic over a three-month period only had 24 cases of the common cold total, a significant decrease in comparison to the 65 cases reported by the control group. However, the researchers noted more studies need to be conducted in order to validate garlic’s true impact on the common cold.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” isn’t just a saying — apples actually can help prevent illnesses such as the common cold. This fruit contains phytochemical antioxidants, according to a study published in Nutrition Journal. These antioxidants help boost immunity and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
This originally appeared on Eat This, Not That!
Does Orange Juice Help Chase Away a Cold?
It’s not uncommon for someone who’s snifflin’ to show up at work with their arms full of vitamin C tablets and a carton of orange juice. “I don’t have time to be sick,” they say with a congested voice. “I’ve been chugging orange juice all weekend.”
Vitamin C loading is a go-to home remedy for many people once early cold symptoms appear. Moms have been recommending it to their kids, who recommended it to their kids. Does it work?
Sorry, moms: Orange juice (and vitamin C tablets) won’t chase the cold away.
Although the orange juice strategy is a myth, it’s based in some logic. One of vitamin C’s main functions is to support the immune system. It is an antioxidant, so it boosts immune function, according to the National Institutes of Health.
But having a stronger immune system doesn’t mean you’re cold-proof. What it can do is make your colds less miserable. Regularly reaching your daily recommended intake of vitamin C—as part of an overall healthy diet—may help shorten the duration of your colds and make your cold symptoms less severe. While there are some mixed studies, the general consensus is that taking vitamin C after the onset of symptoms won’t have any effect on your colds.
Plus, when it comes to nutrients, more isn’t always better. Regarding vitamin C, intake above 1,000 milligrams just gets excreted through urine, so starting your ill morning with 7 glasses of orange juice and a vitamin C tablet will do nothing (except make you have to pee and give you a sugar rush).
Here’s the thing: On average, most Americans easily meet their vitamin C requirement. Adult women only need 75 milligrams of vitamin C daily, and men need 90 milligrams. (That recommendation is higher for smokers because this antioxidant can somewhat alleviate the harmful effects of cigarettes.)
While you can technically get lots of vitamin C from orange juice, experts recommend getting your nutrients from whole foods, which have the benefit of fiber to improve digestion. The top food sources of vitamin C include:
Red bell pepper (95 mg)
An actual orange (70 mg)
Broccoli (51 mg)
So what should you do if you feel a cold come on? Well, for starters, if you’re sick, protect your coworkers and consider staying home. Then, drink fluids (like water or warm tea with buckwheat honey to soothe coughs), and get plenty of rest: Your immune system uses up a lot of energy to fight off infections. If you need it, take OTC pain relievers to reduce fever and body aches.
As for vitamin C? It’s not on the prescription.
Sorry! Orange Juice Will Not Cure Your Cold
Winter is coming. Ladies and gentlemen, unwrap your lozenges.
The onset of cold and flu season signifies that your school or workplace will soon be flooded with a chorus of coughs and a veritable menagerie of maladies. The sick season also harkens the return of a myth that just won’t die: that orange juice will cure your cold.
This myth was originally derived in 1970 from the book Vitamin C and the Common Cold, by Nobel prize-winner Linus Pauling. Though his publication lacked scientific evidence, Pauling authoritatively claimed that consuming megadoses of vitamin C was a surefire way to diminish the world’s most common ailment. The message stuck, and decades later it has been perpetuated by both word of mouth and an aura of false certainty that seems to accompany almost every ingrained myth.
Each winter, millions of Americans reach for the OJ when their throat starts to tickle. Despite elevating prices, the trend is sure to continue this season.
“I drank a half a gallon of orange juice yesterday; I’m not catching your cold,” one of my co-workers confidently declared to his cube companion last week.
Oh dear! This orange has caught a cold of its own!
Despite my burning desire to set the science straight, I decided not to rain on my coworker’s parade. I figured his sanguine belief in the magical healing powers of the Florida (or California) orange could very well wrap him in a placebo-forged cloak of invincibility.
But make no mistake, I will ‘parade rain’ now.
I absolutely adore my morning glass of OJ, but I recognize that it will not cure, prevent, reduce the severity of, or reduce the duration of the common cold.
Over sixty years of research have cemented this notion. Study after study has shown that while daily supplementation of Vitamin C can slightly reduce the frequency and duration of the common cold, no amount of vitamin C consumed immediately before, during, or after the appearance of symptoms will reduce a cold’s severity or duration. Sorry, chugging vitamin C like it’s your job won’t ease that sore throat or cough.
Cold plasma, however, does show promise in the fight against the common cold. If Tropicana could somehow find a way to infuse cold plasma into their orange juice in the same manner as calcium, then they might just have something!