What Do You Feed a Cold?

by Sandy Todd Webster on Feb 01, 2013

Food for Thought

Your mom or grandma likely taught you their tried-and-true methods for stopping a cold in its tracks—or at least for making you feel better. Was it homemade chicken soup? Perhaps it was tea with lemon, honey and even a shot of something a bit more, er, medicinal? Have you ever tried slurping a bowl of steaming Vietnamese pho or adding hot chiles to a dish to help “sweat” out the stuff that ails you?

Don’t let a cold get you down this time of year. Consider borrowing from these cultural remedies to construct a favorite concoction for yourself and your loved ones when unwanted sniffles and sneezes come calling.

Chinese approaches range from very simple (green tea or miso soup with the white part of green onion and fresh ginger) to complicated and very specific to symptoms, employing “potions” made from several ingredients such as ma huang (ephedra), cinnamon twig, apricot seeds and licorice. Take caution if an ingredient is unfamiliar to you or if you don’t know how one substance will react with another or with medications you are taking. Better yet, consult with a naturopathic physician or Chinese medicine specialist when venturing into this territory.

Raw garlic is a recurring ingredient in the cold home-remedy bags of many cultures. It can be found in steaming broths or drinks—or simply eaten au natural. The common denominator is that the garlic is chopped or crushed and consumed in as near a raw state as possible. The cold avenger in garlic is believed to be a compound called allicin, which gives this “stinking rose” its characteristic hot flavor. Allicin has demonstrated antifungal and antibacterial properties and can also be found in pill form.

Prevention is still the best measure for beating a cold, however. Pay attention to where you are putting your hands (avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth) and wash your hands often in hot, soapy water.

What is your favorite cold remedy? Share it with editor in chief Sandy Todd Webster: swebster@ideafit.com.

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About the Author

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster IDEA Author/Presenter

Sandy Todd Webster is Editor in Chief of IDEA's publications, including the award-winning IDEA FITNESS JOURNAL and IDEA FOOD & NUTRITION TIPS, the industry's leading resources for fitness, wellness and nutrition professionals worldwide. Sandy joined IDEA in 2001 as executive editor of IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER and IDEA FITNESS MANAGER magazines and was promoted to lead the editorial team in 2003. More than 20 years in magazine publishing, marketing communications and creative services have shaped her straightforward approach to multi-channel communication. Early experience in Los Angeles as a sports writer/reporter, and then enriching years as a managing editor in allied health care publishing have pulled her across a spectrum of stimulating subject matter. Fitness, health and nutrition reside at the perfect center of this content continuum, she feels. A Chicago native, Sandy grew up fully engaged in various competitive sports. Her drive and dedication as an athlete translate to a disciplined work ethic and unwavering approach to challenge in her career. Shortly after graduating journalism school from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, she was recruited to L.A. for her first post in magazine publishing. After two decades of working on magazines--and now in the throes of applying the unbelieveable multi-media content delivery options available in the magazine 2.0 world--she is still "completely in love" with the creative process it takes to deliver meaningful, inspirational content to end users. She is an accomplished home cook and gardner who would love to combine those skills and passions with her health and fitness background to continue educating readers about a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle.