Cold and Flu Fighters
New twist on staying healthy.
Want to cut your chances of getting a cold or the flu this season? Eat breakfast. Profesor Andy Smith of Cardiff University directed a study of 100 peoples in Wales. He found that people who had fever colds were more likely to eat breakfast. And they weren’t just healthy because they got up early, he points out “breakfast is associated with a general healthy lifestyle, but we controlled for this and the breakfast effects”.
Take his advice and give colds and flu the cold shoulder with a morning bite. Here’s mouth-watering menu to get you started.
- a glass of orange juice
- a quarter of a cantaloupe, cut into chunks
- a cup o low-fat yogurt or a glass of low-fat milk fortified with live yogurt cultures
- a bowl of whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk, or two slices of whole wheat toast
Start with vitamin C.
While vitamin C may not prevent a cold, research shows it might shorten the length of time you suffer from cold symptoms. You can get plenty of vitamin C from traditional breakfast fare, like orange juice, cantaloupe, grapefruit, and strawberries. And when you’re tired of these, try tangerines, pomegranate juice, mangoes, and guavas.
Add more live cultures.
Studies show that the live cultures found in yogurt could improve your health. These cultures, or healthy bacteria, not only encourage the growth of other friendly bacteria in your intestines, they also have a reputation for boosting your immune system.
In a study of 571 children in day-care centers in Finland, those given milk fortified with live cultures had fever colds. And in a group of older adults, those drinking milk containing live cultures had stronger immune systems.
You may have heard you shouldn’t drink milk when you have a cold because it increases the amount of mucus you produce, but studies show milk doesn’t affect mucus at all. In fact, researchers say drinking milk, even without live cultures, can improve your immune system and help you fight off colds.
Try cereal for selenium.
Getting enough selenium is usually not something you have to worry about since it’s abundant in grains. But if your levels are low, your bout with the flu could be much worse. In one study, rats deficient in selenium developed a particularly vicious form of the flu.
So get a head start on selenium with a bowl of whole-grain cereal in the morning. If you eat the recommended grain and meat servings a day, you should be getting all the selenium you need to stay healthy.
To boost your immune system, Dutch researches recommend eating more when you have a viral infection and less when you have a bacterial infection.
There was a reason your mother rushed to the teapot when you came home with a cough. Recent medical findings support the “hot cuppa” as your line of defense against a cold.
1. Hyssop. Though it might not be related to the hyssop of the Bible, hyssopus officinalis has been recommended for centuries as a decongestant. Drink it as a tea to loosen phlegm or gargle with it to soothe a sore throat. Make your own tea by steeping one to two teaspoons of the dried leaves and flowers in boiling water for about 10 minutes, or buy ready-made tea bags at a health food store. For an extra touch of flavour, add a little honey to this healing brew.
2. Ginger. This fragrant herb can help rid your body of viruses. Gently simmer three to four slices of fresh ginger root in a pint of hot water for 10 to 30 minutes to make a refreshing and soothing remedy.
3.Pineapple juice and honey. All that coughing and hacking can leave your throat feeling scratchy and sore. Just mix together 8 ounces of warm pineapple juice with two teaspoons of honey for a delicious, soothing drink.
4. Chicken soup. Health experts finally caught on to the healing power of chicken soup. Researchers discovered that the hot liquid moistens and clears your nasal passages and soothes your sore throat. It can also relieve symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection by reducing inflammation. To make your own medically proven home remedy, add some garlic, celery, parsnips, onions, sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, and parsley to your homemade chicken broth.
5. Water. Most importantly, drink plenty of water to replace the fluid you are losing. Water will also keep your throat lining moist and supple so it won’t crack and let viruses in. Drink eight glasses a day, enough to turn your urine almost clear.
6. Try a zinc nasal gel to shorten a cold’s duration and reduce the symptoms. You can start treatment up to 48 hours after you first feel a cold coming on.