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Fight Off Colds With Your Diet Forever

By Sydney Cook
Posted On Jun 21, 2016
Fight Off Colds With Your Diet Forever

With constant coughing, non-stop sneezing, and throbbing headaches, the common cold is something we can all do without. So the minute our noses feel tingly and our throats a bit scratchy we go on a search for all sorts of new (and sometimes weird) supplements to ward off the dreaded cold.

Who can relate?

Well, it turns out that if you take the right precautions, you may be able to dodge the curse with your daily diet. We have to eat anyway, so why not fight floating bacteria while doing so?

Feed Your Bacteria Army

The GI tract, home to your good gut bacteria, comprises over 70% of the immune system. If you want the good bacteria, called probiotics, to work for you, you must feed them. They love to munch on nutrient-dense, fiber-rich whole foods, so some of their favorites are oatmeal, wheatgrass, and citrus fruits. Processed foods, fats, and sugars are a no-no.

A balanced whole-foods diet is the best way to roundhouse kick all viruses and infections that come your way. Lousy dieting results in one getting sick more often and staying sick longer.

Prebiotics

Want to have a ready-for-war bacteria squad? Here’s how to keep your army prepared.

Prebiotics help nourish our good microbial bodyguards. We should have at least two to three servings of prebiotic-rich foods each day, and more if your gut is on the unhealthy side. Some of the best whole-food sources of prebiotics are:

Vegetables: asparagus, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, and onions

Carbs: barley, beans, oats, quinoa, rye, wheat, potatoes, and yams

Fruits: apples, bananas, berries, citrus fruits, and kiwifruit

Fats: flaxseed and chia seeds (Superfood blend)

You can also take a prebiotic supplement, but remember that supplements are just that – an addition, not a replacement, to the real foods you’re eating.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Probiotics

Probiotics, which are the actual bacteria, help us stay healthy and recover faster when sick. If you’re healthy, one to two servings of probiotic-rich foods each day is sufficient. However, consume more if you are trying to prevent or cure a medical problem.

Some of the best whole-food sources of probiotics are:

Dairy: yogurt, cheese, and kefir with live and active cultures

Fermented vegetables: pickles, sauerkraut, and kimchi

Fermented soy: miso and tempeh

Miscellaneous: soy sauce, wine (in moderation, of course), and kombucha

You can also take a probiotic supplement to give your healthy gut bacteria a helping hand.

Eating tons of pre and probiotics will help fight off viruses and bacterial infections, but sometimes even the healthiest diets can’t ward off all of the invaders and we just get sick.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

How To Get Un-sick

We’ve been warned time and time again that there is no cure for the common cold. And at this point, we just need to accept the fact that we’re probably going to get a cold every year for the rest of our lives. However, there is a way to speed up our road trip to recovery. Certain foods can aid in that process.

Garlic: Many of us love garlic-flavored food, especially in the form of butter at a hibachi restaurant. But during cold and flu season, we may be able to benefit from taking a spoonful of the raw ingredient. Garlic is a powerful antibiotic with antimicrobial and antiviral properties. It provides decongestant and expectorant effects and naturally lessens the severity of colds and other infections.

Chicken soup: It’s a miracle.  Not all of our childhood beliefs are lies – chicken soup actually works! The hot fluids break up the congestion associated with cold and flus, and the salt in the soup can soothe a sore throat. Sadly, you can’t just crack open a can of Campbell’s, it should be homemade with natural ingredients and a little love.

Green tea: It is rich in polyphenols, catechins, and flavonoids, which present antioxidant, antimicrobial, alkalizing, and immune-stimulating qualities. The green drink also boosts the production of B cell antibodies, helping us fight off invading pathogens.

Honey: This sweetener contains antioxidant, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties that suppresses viruses, bacteria, and fungi to treat all the symptoms of a cold. A few teaspoons in a cup of green tea are all you need to soothe a sore or scratchy throat and boost your immune system. (See more sweet uses of honey here.)

Elderberries: These are high in vitamin C, have antiviral properties, and are loaded with phytonutrients. The extract from the red berries may reduce the duration of colds and other upper respiratory tract infections.

Healthy adults are typically able to fight off difficult-to-beat viruses. If you have a healthy diet, but still seem to always get caught up in the coughing craze, you might want to look into getting a flu shot.