How to Relieve Colds Through Diet

Four Methods:Using Food to Relieve ColdsUsing Herbs and Supplements to Treat ColdsFollowing Other Home Remedies for a ColdLearning About Colds

Colds are typically caused by a type of virus that can cause larger problems, such as upper respiratory infections, lower respiratory infections, and in rare cases, pneumonia. You are at most risk of colds in March through October, and symptoms manifest within 12 to 72 hours of exposure to the virus.[1] If you catch a cold, there are ways to use your diet to relieve your symptoms.

Method 1
Using Food to Relieve Colds

  1. Image titled Get Bigger Naturally Step 6
    Consume high protein foods. Your body needs plenty of protein while you are sick to keep up your energy. Try fish or skinless, boneless chicken in a sandwich, wrap, or with vegetables.
    • You can eat eggs as well. Eggs have zinc in them, which also helps boost your immune system.[2]
    • If you are a vegetarian, try some hummus to get a boost of protein.
  2. Image titled Lose 30 Pounds Step 7
    Eat complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are nutrient rich carbs that help boost your energy and immune system. These include whole grains, which can be found in brown rice, whole wheat breads, quinoa, cereals, granola, and whole wheat pastas.
    • Oats, like those in oatmeal, are particularly helpful because they contain glucans, which help support your immune system.[3]
    • Avoid simple carbs, such as white breads, pastas, and sugary pastries.
  3. Image titled Stop Eating Junk Food Step 6
    Eat more yogurt and milk. The active cultures of bacteria in yogurt can help boost your immune system. While you are sick, buy some low fat yogurt with healthy probiotics. Consider getting Greek yogurt as well. It has numerous great probiotics that will help you get better.
    • You can also try kefir, which is a drink made from fermented milk helps replenish the germ fighting bacteria in your system.
    • You can also drink more almond milk, which contain immune boosting vitamins such as vitamin C and E as well as zinc.[4]
  4. Image titled Strengthen Eyesight Step 4
    Consume foods with vitamin C. Vitamin C can help you boost your immune system while you fight a cold. Eat foods rich in vitamin C, such as red peppers, oranges, berries, papayas, and leafy green vegetables. Try to incorporate these into each meal so you get a boost all day long.[5]
  5. Image titled Strengthen Eyesight Step 3
    Have vitamin A rich foods. Foods rich in vitamin A and beta-carotenes, which are the building blocks of vitamin A, help boost your immune system. To get more of these while you are sick, eat foods that are rich in vitamin A, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and squashes.
  6. Image titled Cure a Cold Fast Step 20
    Use garlic. Garlic has antibacterial and antiviral properties that boost your immune system, which helps shorten the length of colds as well as prevent them from occurring. Try a garlic supplement or use garlic in your daily recipes.
    • For example, add a clove or two of garlic in a marinade for your meat or put it into your chicken soup. [6]
  7. Image titled Make Home Remedies for Diarrhea Step 10
    Have more ginger. Ginger is a warming herb that has antiviral properties, which can help fight colds. Add fresh or ground ginger to your food recipes or make it into a tea.[7]
    • You can also get lozenges that have ginger in them that may also help calm an irritated throat.
  8. Image titled Stop Food Cravings at Night Step 1
    Eat small meals. The goal of dietary treatment is to support the immune system while it fights off the cold. To keep your energy up while you're sick, you need to eat small meals throughout the day. This will keep putting nutrients back into your body so your immune system has a constant source of energy.[8]
  9. Image titled Get Rid of Inner Thigh Fat Step 2
    Incorporate all nutrient rich foods throughout the day. The best way to fight off a cold with food is to combine all the nutrient rich foods together throughout the day. For example, start with a small breakfast frittata with mushrooms and a pinch of cayenne pepper. The eggs have zinc and protein and the mushrooms have glucans that will help boost your immune system. The cayenne pepper will help break up your nasal congestion.
    • For snacks between meals, have a yogurt with a piece of fruit and an apple with peanut butter.
    • For lunch, eat a bowl of chicken soup, which is proven to help fight colds.[9]
    • For dinner, have a broiled piece of salmon with a spinach salad, steamed green beans, and sweet potatoes.

Method 2
Using Herbs and Supplements to Treat Colds

  1. Image titled Control Asthma Without Medicine Step 26
    Try Echinacea tea. Echinacea has been shown to help prevent colds and also shorten the length of a cold. Try to take Echinacea earlier in the cycle of your cold to help fight it at the beginning. Find a premade Echinacea tea or steep a teaspoon if it in hot water to make a tea.
    • Echinacea rarely causes side effects, but may cause rare allergic reactions. You should ask a doctor first before taking Echinacea if you are pregnant or nursing, have an autoimmune disease, or take drugs that repress the immune system.[10]
  2. Image titled Cure a Cold Fast Step 18
    Drink elderberry tea. Elderberry has been shown to help colds by loosening and lessening congestion, have antiviral properties, and help regulate your immune system.[11]
    • Find a premade tea with elderberry in it or steep one teaspoon of elderberry in warm water. Drain before drinking.
  3. Image titled Heal the Lungs Naturally Step 11
    Take a zinc supplement. Zinc is an essential component for immune function. However, you need to make sure that you take the recommended amount per day, which is 15 to 25 mg per day.
    • Do not use zinc-containing nasal sprays because they have been associated with the loss of the sense of smell.[12]
  4. Image titled Get Rid of Acne Scars with Home Remedies Step 34
    Try selenium supplements. Selenium is an essential mineral that you may not get as much of every day. It comes from plants that grow in selenium rich soil, but if the soil lacks it, then the plants will too.
    • Take no more than 100 mcg of selenium per day.[13]
  5. Image titled Treat Hypothyroidism Step 8
    Take a multipurpose supplement. If you are worried about getting all the vitamins and minerals you need while you are sick, try a multivitamin that has all of the vitamins, such as vitamin A, Bs, C, and D, zinc, and selenium, you need to boost your immune system. Make sure you follow manufacturer's instructions for dosage.
    • You can also take immune boosting supplements, such as Airborne or Cold-Eeze. These are full of vitamins and minerals that are targeted to your immune system. [14]

Method 3
Following Other Home Remedies for a Cold

  1. Image titled Reduce a Fever without Medication Step 7
    Drink plenty of fluids. When you are sick, you need to stay hydrated. Although it may not taste the best, drink plenty of water each day, which is at least eight to 10 glasses of at least eight ounces each. If you do find it difficult to drink this much water, try all natural juices as well as no salt added clear chicken or vegetable broths.[15]
  2. Image titled Be Calm Step 12
    Stay home from work or school. Since your immune system is down when you have a cold, you shouldn't get out in the public. Stay home from school or work to avoid catching any other illnesses and to keep from infecting those around you.[16]
  3. Image titled Sleep All Day Step 14
    Take over the counter medicine. Over the counter cold medicine can help relieve your symptoms if dietary methods aren't helping. When choosing a cold medicine, pick the medication that will best help your symptoms that most prevalent.
    • If you have to work or go to school, make sure you get a non-drowsy formula.[17]
  4. Image titled Sleep All Day Step 9
    Get enough rest. When you're sick, you need to make sure you get plenty of rest. This means, at minimum, you should get at least seven to nine hours a night if you are an adult (eight to 10 a night for teens). However, given that your body is fighting off a cold, you should add a few hours a night or add in naps so you get even more rest than normal.[18][19]
  5. Image titled Cure a Cold Fast Step 17
    Gargle with warm salt water. When you are fighting off the symptoms of a cold, your throat may be irritated and feel uncomfortable. If this is the case, gargling with salt water will help. Fill up a small cup with warm water and put a teaspoon or two of salt into it. Stir it in to let it dissolve. Then sip a little into your mouth and gargle it in the back of your throat.
    • Once you've gargled for a little while, spit the water out and repeat with fresh water.
    • If your throat is still sore or if you are coughing too much, try cough drops or a throat spray to alleviate the symptoms.[20]

Method 4
Learning About Colds

  1. Image titled Cure a Cold Fast Step 7
    Know how you get a cold. You can catch a cold very easily. You catch a cold by being too close to someone who already has a cold. When that person sneezes or coughs, the virus-infected saliva or snot helps spread the germs to you.[21]
  2. Image titled Cure a Cold Fast Step 1
    Recognize the symptoms. There are some common symptoms that occur when you catch a cold. These symptoms include:
    • Nasal dryness or irritation
    • Sore or irritated, itchy throat
    • Nasal discharge and congestion, typically thin and clear
    • Sneezing
    • Head and body aches
    • Watery eyes
    • Congested sinuses, which may cause face and ear pressure
    • Inability to smell and taste
    • Cough
    • Hoarseness or loss of voice
    • A low-grade fever may occur, typically in small children[22]
  3. Image titled Cure a Cold Fast Step 8
    Look for complications. There are some conditions that can be escalated by a cold. You may get sinusitis, ear infections, chronic bronchitis, or have worse asthma symptoms.[23] Make sure you take care of yourself while you are sick so you don't develop any of these conditions.
    • If you have a history of these conditions, be careful when you get a cold.
  4. Image titled Cure a Cold Fast Step 6
    See a doctor. If your symptoms don't get better within two to three days of using diet treatments, you should see your doctor. If they get worse despite treatment, you should also see your doctor. If your small child has a cold, she needs to see the doctor immediately if she has these symptoms:
    • A fever higher than 100.4° F
    • Symptoms that last more than 10 days
    • Severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, or difficulty breathing[24]

Source and Citations

  3. Davis, J. Mark, et al. "Effects of moderate exercise and oat β-glucan on innate immune function and susceptibility to respiratory infection." American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 286.2 (2004): R366-R372.
  7. Rosenbloom, Richard A. "First ingredient obtainable from turmeric; a second ingredient obtainable from ginger; and a third ingredient obtainable from horseradish; treating viral infections." U.S. Patent No. 6,827,945. 7 Dec. 2004.
  11. Roxas, Mario, and Julie Jurenka. "Colds and influenza: a review of diagnosis and conventional, botanical, and nutritional considerations." Alternative Medicine Review 12.1 (2007): 25-49.

Article Info

Categories: Colds and Viruses | Specialty Diet Recipes