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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Health Issues and Diet >>  Cold

Cold Diet, Foods

Come winter and the cold-flu season starts, and the best way to keep the viruses away is to boost the body’s immune system by eating nutrient- rich balanced meals. A diet for cough and cold prevention starts way before the symptoms of common cold like a scratchy throat, a runny nose, sneezing, blocked sinuses, headaches, and a low grade fever appear. Regular nutritional meals that provide the body with the right balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals are the foundation of wellness, and when combined with adequate exercise, sleep and rest can help you lead a robust, healthy life. A diet for common cold should contain foods high in antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins A and C.

Fruits are considered ideal foods for colds because they are rich in bioflavonoids, a key nutrient that fuels the immune system in the body in its fight against viruses and bacteria. Foods to eat for a cold are mainly soups, broths, stews made with vegetables and chicken, and lightly cooked fish, since these are easy to digest.
Red meats, fried food, and dairy products that take longer to digest, slow down the liver. Since the liver is a vital link in the immune system’s efforts to rid the body of toxins, it makes sense not to put too much strain on the liver. Spicy foods for colds are suggested because foods like chili or hot pepper sauce can make the eyes watery and the nose runny, thus easing nasal congestion and clearing sinuses. Hot chicken soup is a very popular food for cold and flus in the West, though researchers attribute the soothing properties of the soup more to the vegetables that are added to the chicken soup rather than the chicken. Among vegetables, pumpkins rich in beta carotene, bell peppers that contain more vitamin C than any other vegetable, and broccoli that is packed with vitamins A, C and E, are the best allies against cold.

Foods To Avoid Cold

When the throat feels scratchy and irritable, people generally do not have a good appetite and prefer hot soups or broths that soothe the throat. Caffeine is one of the foods to avoid during cold since it acts as a diuretic and makes the body lose fluids. Dairy products like milk, cheese, and butter are best avoided because they can add to nasal congestion, besides being more difficult to digest. Drinking alcohol or brandy has absolutely no effect on the cold, in fact it might delay recovery because alcohol makes the liver sluggish.


Vitamins for colds prevention are effective as they help boost the immune system of the body. Vitamins are not medicines to cure colds; it is only that the antioxidants in them reduce the damage to cells from free radicals. Vitamin C for colds has been recommended along with other supplements like zinc and selenium, since they help minimizing the intensity of the infection. Vitamin C dosage for colds can go up to 1000 mg every six hours initially and can be tapered off as the symptoms ease. In some people, high doses of vitamin C can upset the digestive process, resulting in diarrhea. Recent research suggests vitamin D for colds, particularly in winter, as it can protect against respiratory tract infections. Consult your doctor for more advice on dosage.


There are several natural herbs for colds and nasal congestion used in various cultures around the world. Water in which holy basil leaves have been boiled is said to soothe a scratchy throat. Hot tea with ginger as well as elderberry tea is known to ease the pain in a sore throat and relieve nasal congestion. Goldenseal, turmeric, and garlic are known for their antibacterial properties and are commonly used as herbs for cold cure. Hyssop and licorice root are used to treat lung conditions and bronchial problems associated with cold and phlegm. Among Chinese herbs for colds mint, Chinese licorice root, mulberry leaves, honeysuckle, ginger root, and cinnamon twigs may be used in different combinations to create formulas suitable for each type of cold. Green tea is chock full of antioxidants and other helpful chemicals that bolster the immune system.

Symptoms, Causes, Treatment For Cold


Starting with a sore throat that gets more irritable and scratchy, cold symptoms can be as follows:
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Coughing with phlegm
  • Headaches
  • Hoarseness of the throat
  • Nasal congestion
  • Low grade fever


When it comes to cold causes, a majority of colds are the result of an infection of the rhinovirus, which enters the cell lining of the nose and begins reproducing. One can catch the infection from another person through physical contact or the virus may be transferred from surfaces like door knobs or phones, touched by an infected person. Exposure to cold weather does not cause cold; you get a cold only if your immune system is not up to the mark and cannot fight against the infection.


Drinking plenty of fluids and getting adequate rest and sleep enables the body to deal with the virus without any medication.
Medication for colds relieves the severity of the symptoms of cold and helps the immune system eliminate the virus from the body.


  • A healthy diet, regular exercise and adequate hydration and rest ensure that the body remains in peak form and that the immune system is well equipped to deal with infections of any kind.
  • Supplements of vitamins and minerals enable the body to build absorb the nutrients in the food consumed and compensate for any shortfalls in the diet.
  • With strong immunity, cold prevention becomes a lot easier, no matter what the season is.
  • Simple steps like washing hands before eating or drinking anything or touching one’s face can get rid of disease causing bacteria or viruses that may have been transferred to one’s hands from infected surfaces such as door knobs, elevator buttons, handles and railings.


Most people who get a cold do not go to a doctor to get it diagnosed and treated, unless they have other serious health issues. Cold diagnosis is made based on the symptoms such as a runny nose and sore throat, though other problems such as a sinus infection or a strep throat must be ruled out.

Submitted on January 16, 2014