Perhaps the most searched remedy for a disease is for colds and flu. Over centuries, people have been looking for that cure of the common cold and influenza. However, the cause of common colds is not really that common since the disease comes from over a hundred types of virus, particularly Rhinovirus. Therefore, no matter how one searches for that elusive cure, there is no clear-cut medication because one common cold may be different from another common cold. And this is also true for the influenza virus. However, there are ways to combat these diseases, to prevent one from being afflicted and to shorten recovery time. Below are 8 foods that have been proven to fight against colds and flu and the virus that causes them.
Garlic may be a small herb, but its capability for alleviating colds and flu is high. The reputation of garlic stems from the sulphur compound called allicin. Allicin is more viable if garlic is crushed and made to stay for a long time before changing its temperature through cooking. Allicin has been proven to have antibacterial and antiviral benefits. Additionally, garlic has anti-inflammatory benefits, which can help in relieving airway inflammations that are also connected to some of the signs and symptoms of the disease. But the best time to use garlic is before the onset of the diseases. There have been evidences in research that shows that individuals who take large amount of this pungent yet sweet food before symptoms of colds is magnified usually have reduced time towards recovery. This clearly indicates that garlic, through allicin, is effective in combatting the virus that causes colds and flu.
This horn-shaped food is found underground. With flesh that may either be red, yellow or white in color, ginger has an aromatic, pungent and hot taste. Ginger is widely known for relieving gastrointestinal distress, but it is also common ingredient in foods that can ease colds or flu, such as the chicken soup with ginger or simply ginger brew. According to research by German scientists, ginger has a chemical called sesquiterpenes, which has shown to fight against the rhinoviruses that cause colds or flu. Ginger also has anti-inflammatory effects which can help in fighting the symptoms during the infection process. Therefore, those with scratchy throats are relieved when they take ginger during the disease process. Added to that is the ability of ginger to sedate an individual, which is important when a sick person is trying to recuperate.
A miracle product of the honey bees, this golden viscous liquid is considered to be a cure-all for all diseases, which includes the common colds and influenza. For the colds and flu, honey serves as an anti-viral substance through propolis, or the bee glue. Propolis, which is produced during the honey processing, keeps the honey safe from microorganisms, which also has the same effect on the body if honey is ingested raw. Cough, which happens to be a symptom of colds and flu, can also be eradicated by using honey, having the same effect as cough suppressants.
In China, medicinal mushrooms, such as the Shiitake and the Reishi mushrooms can help in boosting the immune system, thereby preventing the development of colds or flu. The main actor of our immune system is the white blood cell. With lowered white blood cells in our body, we are more prone to diseases. Mushrooms have the ability to trigger the activity of the white blood cells when they are needed by the body to fight off disease causing pathogens. Mushrooms also contain anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant benefits.
Some doubt black pepper as a remedy for colds and flu because a sniff of the powdered black pepper can spontaneously make a person sneeze hard. But peppercorns actually have antimicrobial properties and have the ability to increase blood circulation which is important when warding off viruses. In India, they combine black pepper and tamarind, boil them with water and butter and ingesting the concoction to help relieve the symptoms of colds and flu. Another way is by mixing lemon juice, honey and black pepper and taking the mixture three times a day for one day to help starve cold.
When talking about citrus fruits as remedy for colds and flu, it is always about the vitamin C content of the fruit. This is true. Although vitamin C does not have direct effect on the disease, it can help boost the body’s immune system and provide antioxidant protection. There are several types of citrus fruits – oranges, lemon, and lime. If taken fresh, all of them have that special ability to promote optimal health.
By adding bacterial cultures to milk and fermenting them, yogurt is produced. The tart flavor and pudding-like texture is due to the breakdown of lactose of milk into lactic acid. The lactic acid bacteria, such as the Lactobacillus casei, actually give several health benefits to an individual. One of which is protection from viruses that causes colds and flu. When taking yogurt in a regular basis, you are strengthening the arsenal that protects your body from invasive diseases. Probiotic yogurts can stimulate immunity at the cellular level. Cellular immunity is our body’s first line of defense against viruses, parasites and yeasts. Studies showed that those who are taking their daily cup of either probiotic or conventional yogurt are more likely protected from respiratory disease causing microorganisms, such as influenza and common colds, than those who do not have them in their diet.
Foods rich in Selenium
There are several foods rich in selenium. Button mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, shrimp, cod, snapper, tuna, halibut, snapper, salmon and calf’s liver are rich in selenium. Selenium is a micro mineral and human’s daily needs only require 50 micrograms or less of the mineral. But even with the trace amount, selenium can help in the prevention of oxidative stress. In as much as humans need oxygen in the body, too much oxygen in the molecules of our cells will cause more damage to the cells. With selenium, it lowers the activity as it works with other nutrients. If there is less stress in the oxidative process, the integrity of the immune system is protected. Since colds and flu are recurring diseases due to the variation of the rhinovirus, with strong immune system, the disease can be prevented.