From Chaucer in “The Canterbury Tales.” In Middle English, the phrase was “Fede a cold and starb ob feber” translated as “feed a cold and DIE of fever.” In those days people did not eat when they were sick and died from lack of food.
Starve a Cold, Feed a Fever?
Do you starve a cold and feed a fever when you’re feeling under the weather? Or is it the other way around? Good news — starving is never the correct answer.
When you eat a nutritional, well-balanced diet, many other factors fall in place that keep your body functioning optimally. Foods that are rich in nutrients help fight infections and may help to prevent illness. Because a wide array of nutrients in foods — some of which we may not even know about — are essential for wellness, relying on dietary supplements (vitamins and minerals) for good nutrition may limit your intake to just the known nutritional compounds rather than letting you get the full benefit of all nutrients available in food.
Including more raw fruits and vegetables in your diet is the best way to ensure a high intake of antioxidants. And when you cook these super-nutrients, be sure you cook them using as little liquid as possible to prevent nutrient loss.
If you follow the guidelines issued by most health organizations and eat five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily, you can easily get enough antioxidants. For example, one quarter of a cantaloupe gives you nearly half the recommended daily requirement of beta-carotene and is a rich source of vitamin C. Spinach is not only full of beta-carotene, but also contains vitamin C, folic acid, and magnesium. Foods rich in beta-carotene and other carotenoids include: Apricots, asparagus, beef liver, beets, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, corn, guava, kale, mangoes, mustard and collard greens, nectarines, peaches, pink grapefruit, pumpkin, squash (yellow and winter), sweet potato, tangerines, tomatoes, and watermelon. Foods rich in vitamin C include: broccoli, cantaloupe, cauliflower, kale, kiwi, orange juice, papaya, red, green or yellow pepper, sweet potato, strawberries, and tomatoes. Foods rich in vitamin E include: almonds, corn oil, cod-liver oil, hazelnuts, lobster, peanut butter, safflower oil, salmon steak, and sunflower seeds.
Colds and Foods High in Bioflavonoids
Foods high in bioflavonoids may also help speed healing from a cold. Hosts of experiments on bioflavonoids have suggested that these key nutrients increase immune system activation. These biochemically active substances accompany vitamin C in plants and act as an antioxidant. You can find bioflavonoids in the pulp and white core that runs through the center of citrus fruits, green peppers, lemons, limes, oranges, cherries, and grapes. Quercetin is a highly concentrated form of bioflavonoids found in broccoli, citrus fruits, and red and yellow onions.
Colds and Protein-Packed Foods
Protein is vital to build and repair body tissue and fight viral and bacterial infections. Immune system powerhouses like antibodies and immune system cells rely on protein. Too little protein in the diet may lead to symptoms of weakness, fatigue, apathy, and poor immunity. Choose lean sources of protein like skinless chicken, lean beef and turkey, beans, and soy.
Colds and Grandma’s Chicken Soup
Chicken soup is a powerful mucus stimulant. It helps clear nasal congestion as well as thin mucus so you can better cough it up. In addition, research shows it may have a mild anti-inflammatory effect than can help ease cold symptoms.
Drinking hot tea is another great old home remedy. Hot tea helps to thin mucus and ensure proper hydration of the body. Green and black tea are filled with flavonoids, which are potent antioxidants.