10 Foods to Combat the Common Cold

By Kathleen Ryan
Updated on 13. Aug. 2020
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10 Foods to Help You Combat the Common Cold


While the common cold isn’t a serious illness, it can be a serious disruption to your daily life, making it hard to work, exercise, take care of your kids, or complete countless other tasks. If you don’t address the sickness properly, it can linger for weeks, leaving you functioning at a lower capacity than normal. While there are no immediate cures for a cold, there are plenty of things that can help relieve symptoms and speed up your recovery, like rest, hydration, and a good diet. We have compiled a list of ten foods that not only can help prevent the common cold, but also can properly equip your body to combat infection if you’re already ill.

  • Chili: Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a bioactive ingredient that breaks up mucus, which can help relieve coughing and a sore throat. This can also cause your nose to run more, which is great for clearing up congestion.  
  • Elderberries: Elderberries have been known to prevent or shorten the duration of herpes outbreaks, decrease pain and inflammation, and reduce symptoms of upper respiratory infections. The elderberry plant has long been considered one of the most powerful natural solutions for preventing and treating colds and influenza through its antiviral properties.
  • Honey: Although honey won't cure a cold, it may relieve certain common cold symptoms. Research has shown that honey might be used to relieve coughs, sooth a sore throat, and fight some bacteria and viruses through its antimicrobial properties. 
  • Chicken Soup: Nutrients from chicken noodle soup can help support your immune system, and clear nasal congestion in its fight against infection. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect that can help ease cold symptoms because of the various nutrients from the different elements of the soup. Chicken Broth contains vitamins, minerals, and some fat, which can help to improve upper respiratory tract symptoms by providing hydration and stimulating nasal clearance. Carrots, celery, and onion contain vitamin A, C, and other antioxidants that can help build a strong immune system and fight off viruses. The protein filled chicken supports the immune system by encouraging cell growth, and the carbohydrate rich noodles will help you feel satiated. All these ingredients lead to a super combination of nutrients that can help ease your illness. Check out our recipe for chicken noodle soup here! 
  • Legumes: Legumes contain iron, which helps circulate oxygen to protective antibodies. Legumes are also good sources of protein and zinc, which contributes to proper functioning of the immune system and is a factor in energy and tissue formation.
  • Ginger: Ginger contains compounds called gingerols and shogaols, which are thought to give ginger its medicinal properties. Fresh ginger may help in the fight against respiratory viruses, specifically pharyngitis, which is inflammation at the back of the throat.
  • Yogurt: Eating a daily cup of yogurt could help reduce your susceptibility to colds, because its beneficial bacteria may stimulate production of immune system substances that fight disease. Yogurt contains live and active cultures called probiotics that may help stimulate the immune system and fight off disease. 
  • Cabbage: Cabbage contains more than half of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C in just one cup. Cabbage contains the amino acid glutamine, which assists in the proper function of the immune system. Glutamine can help boost your immunity if you get sick a lot, do frequent, heavy exercise, or don’t get enough sleep.
  • Sea Buckthorn: Sea buckthorn berries have long been used in Eastern traditional medicine against infections like the common cold because of its immunomodulatory properties, immune system-enhancing properties, and anti-inflammatory properties,
  • Onion: Onions are high in flavonoids and antioxidants, but they are especially high in the flavonoid quercetin. Quercetin is known to have numerous health benefits, but most importantly, it fights against infections. Onions are also anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anti-bacterial.

We hope these foods help you get well soon!

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