By Jennifer Smith, CHN, BHC, FBCC
In this article I'll share with you some of the best food for cold and flu. Believe it or not, one of the top ways to treat a head cold naturally is to look at what you are eating. Many foods, herbs, and spices can help to heal your body and help you to recover from the cold more quickly, while other foods are bad for you and tend to make your symptoms worse.
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The first thing you should do if you want to eat a diet that helps with your head cold is to know what to avoid. This begins with your dairy products. Dairy isn’t necessarily going to make your cold worse, but it can worsen some of the symptoms of having a head cold. If you are getting a lot of congestion, phlegm, or ear infections, the dairy can actually make these side effects worse, even if you don’t necessarily have a dairy allergy. When you get a cold, try cutting out dairy and see what the difference is.
When you have a cold, eating might not be your favorite thing to do, but it is still important to eat nutritious foods with lots of vitamins and minerals. This includes making sure you fit raw honey and other bee products into your foods and drinks.
Raw honey can be a perfect cough suppressent, just take a teaspoon full a few times a day. Bee propolis spray can be helpful for sore throats and can help boost your immune system. Bee pollen is like the multivitamin and mineral for bees. Bee pollen contains many enzymes that are helpful for digestion and can even give you an energy boost. Or if you aren’t too hungry, just blend up bee pollen and raw honey in a smoothie with greens and fruits to get the added vitamin C as well.
When you are cooking meals or snacks while you have a head cold, don’t miss out on the chance to add a little garlic. This is one of the best spices to have when you are sick, since garlic has natural antibacterials and antimicrobials. These properties can actually help to get rid of bacteria and viruses in your body that lead to both head colds and the flu. While it isn’t a one-stop shop as far as treating a cold, using this as a food for cold and flu can definitely make a big difference in how fast you recover.
While most people don't want to eat a clove of raw garlic by iteself, I happen to like green olives stuffed with garlic. Keep a jar on hand and eat a few a day to boost your garlic intake. Another easy way is to make some home-made garlic bread and mash fresh garlic to spread on the bread with some grass-fed butter.
Pineapple is wonderful for a cough and can benefit colds and flu too because of the beneficial digestive enzymes. Pineapple juice has anti-inflammatory properties. The bromelain enzyme found in pineapples can help to releive inflammation in the lungs and respiratory system. This can be helpful for allergy and asthma sufferers, people with COPD and other lung conditions, and of course can be a beneficial food for cold and flu.
Chicken noodle soup isn’t just good for a head cold because it is a classic comfort food, but it often contains ingredients that can help detox your body, give you nutrients, and allow you to keep something down that is gentle on your body. Try to eat more chicken noodle soup when you have a cold so that you are eating something warm and satisfying, while getting nutrients from the chicken and veggies. Making it with bone broth provides extra nourishment and benefits the gut too.
Bone broth is made by taking the bones leftover from animal meat such as from a chicken, beef or even fish bones. A broth is made by simmering the bones, water, and a little apple cider vinegar to break down the calcium and other beneficial minerals found in the bones.
Bones contain a number of minerals including zinc, calcium, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, and sodium. In addition to minerals, bone broth also contains collagen, gelatin, glycine, and seventeen different types of amino acids. When simmered at low heat for a lengthened amount of time, these nutrients seep into the water and create "liquid gold." This nourishing broth is an especially healing food for cold and flu.
If you are suffering from a head cold, one of the best things you can do is give your body healthy foods without a lot of artificial ingredients. You might know that chicken noodle soup does a body good when you have a cold, but that’s not the only type of soup that is good for you. Here are some different options to try out.
This is an excellent way to get in your veggies, boost your immune system, and get added nutrients that you need when you have a cold. It is also a good detox soup, so if you want to detox your body after your cold, try this soup out. The exact recipe is up to you and your preferences, but it is a good take on a classic chicken soup, without all the noodles. Like many chicken soups, this starts with chicken breast that is already cooked and either shredded or cut into cubes. You can also get a cooked rotisserie chicken and shred that as well. Add in your chicken or vegetable stock, celery, carrots, onions and don't forget the garlic. You can then add in other veggies like chickpeas, kale or spinach, mushrooms, and bell peppers. For spices, try salt and pepper, herbs like oregano, and some turmeric for added immune-boost and pain releiver.
Here is another variation of a simple soup that can help treat your head cold with nutritious ingredients, while also helping to relieve your symptoms. This is a vegetarian soup, but you can of course add in some cooked chicken or turkey for added protein. The soup uses vegetable stock and a good helping of baby bok choy, making sure the bottoms are chopped off before you add it to the pot. Add in some mushrooms, celery, onion, garlic, and kale. Go with turmeric once again for added nutrition, along with some ginger and coconut oil.
If you enjoy eating pho soup, you will love this recipe when you have a cold. You get to enjoy the warm goodness, while also having something delicious and healing for your body. Use vegetable broth as the main liquid for the soup, or you can do your favorite broth from any Asian soup recipe. For the pho soup, you want to have some soba noodles as well, along with green onions, cilantro, and a lime. To spice it up, add some jalapeno, and for a little crunch, add in crushed peanuts as well. Once again, you can turn this into a chicken noodle soup if you like.
Jennifer Smith is certified in Holistic Nutrition, a Biblical Health Coach and Faith-Based Clinical Counselor. She has completed advanced certifications in Functional Nutrition, Biblical Naturopathy and Biblical Eating and Clinical Nutrition.