From amla to chicken soup: 11 foods to help you fight common cold and flu-like viral infections
Instead of experimenting with antibiotics or investing in cough syrups which make you feel sleepy, give these cheap, tasty and effective ingredients a try.
Every time the season changes, especially in autumn and spring, viral infections become a predominant reason for concern. Issues like the flu, bronchitis, sinus infections, sore throat and common cold show up and spread quickly during these seasons, especially in offices with a centralised air conditioning system.
A study published in the Archives of Environmental & Occupational Health in 2016 explains how shared resources like breakrooms, cafeterias, bathrooms, etc at the workplace are important sources of the transmission of viral infections. What’s more, once you do get these infections, it’s very difficult to treat them effectively with any medications.
No, antibiotics won’t help
Antibiotics, for example, do not work against viral infections. According to research conducted by the American College of Physicians and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotics are medicines used to treat bacterial infections like strep throat and pneumonia. They will not work against illnesses caused by viruses, like the common cold.
So, if you are at risk of getting the common cold, sore throat, bronchitis, or live with someone who is already showing symptoms, what should you do? How should you boost your immunity to protect yourself from these ailments?
Phytonutrients found in ginger, especially gingerols and shogaols, have anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger also has antioxidants which help keep sore throat and cold at bay.
Lemon is rich in vitamin C, which works effectively against phlegm, cold and sore throat. Make sure you have some lemon peel because the skin is exceptionally concentrated with vitamin C.
This herb has antiseptic and analgesic properties, so eating tulsi or making tea with it is a sure-shot way to prevent dry coughs, sore throat and the common cold.
Yoghurt, especially the varieties made with live cultures, can help soothe a sore throat and boost your immune system to fight viral infections. Just make sure you have it without any added sugars.
The curcumin in turmeric gives it antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Having turmeric mixed with warm milk or water can help flush out the microbes clogging the respiratory tract, and relieve the symptoms of cough and cold.
6. Black pepper
This spice is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties which help clear out coughs and cold while also giving your immunity a boost.
7. Chicken soup
Dehydration is a major issue during viral infections, and chicken soup helps counter that. Further, chicken soup is warm, nutritious and a good source of strength when sore throat, cough and cold hits.
Berries are rich in vitamins and probiotics and have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which can keep viral infections away.
This Indian gooseberry is exceptionally rich in vitamin C and can help clear up phlegm and prevents viral infections, especially the ones that affect the upper respiratory tract.
Apart from soothing a sore throat, honey is known to reduce congestion and coughing. Drinking honey mixed with warm water or herbal tea can also help you sleep well despite suffering from cough and cold.
Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C and an antioxidant called lycopene, which combines to make this fruit exceptionally effective in clearing out mucus from the respiratory tract. Make sure you cook the tomatoes (make tomato soup, for example) to increase the levels of lycopene.
Instead of experimenting with antibiotics (which can be dangerous and ineffective) or investing in cough syrups which make you feel sleepy, give these cheap, tasty and effective ingredients a try.
Please note that these foods won't help treat the novel strain of coronavirus , originating from China. If you notice flu-like symptoms, please reach out to a medical professional.
For more information, read our article on How to increase immunity.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.
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