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What to Eat When You Have a Cold

Everyone gets a cold from time to time. However, some people seem to be able to recover quickly from them and get back to enjoying life sooner. Making a full and fast recovery from a cold isn’t a mystery. It has to do with what you eat to help boost your immune system so you can heal quickly.

Since colds are one of the most common illnesses, there has been plenty of research—and trial and error—over the years in discovering what to eat when you have a cold.

About Colds

Colds, or the common cold, is called that for a reason—they are incredibly common and easy to spread between people. The common cold can affect anyone, however, it’s most likely to affect young children under the age of six, as well as seniors. But even the healthiest person can be struck by a cold when they least expect it.1

Most people recover from a cold in under 10 days. In some cases, complications arise and colds can cause more severe, longer-lasting illness. This usually occurs in people with weakened immune systems.1

Regardless of your level of health, all people get colds the same way: a viral infection that enters through your nose or throat and infects your upper respiratory tract. Different viruses can be responsible for a cold. The most common cold-causing virus is called rhinovirus. Cold viruses can easily spread through coughing, sneezing or hand-to-hand contact with someone who is infected. Touching door handles, telephones, utensils or any other shared surface can also transfer a cold virus to another person.1,2

It usually takes 3 days after a viral infection for a cold’s symptoms to appear. Colds can cause a variety of symptoms, depending on who is affected. Common cold symptoms include:

  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Congestion
  • Sneezing
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Body aches and headache
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • General feeling of being unwell (malaise)

Having a runny nose during a cold may produce a thicker, yellow or green substance, which indicates the body in on its way towards healing. While most people generally let a cold run its course, it’s also important to eat and drink the right foods and fluids during a cold to help your body better repair itself.

Top Natural Remedies for Colds

The common cold generally passes within a few days. However, certain foods can help boost the immune system and allow you to fight off a cold quicker. Some foods to eat for a cold include:

Garlic - As one of nature’s most reliable antiviral foods, garlic can help kick up your immune system and fend off a cold quickly.

Vitamin C - Vitamin C is a natural immune-boosting antioxidant that can help the body combat a cold.

Honey, Cayenne and Garlic - The combination of honey, cayenne and garlic works together to help boost the body’s immune system while healing cold symptoms.

Apple Cider Vinegar - Apple cider vinegar is another trusted home remedy for healing sore throats, clearing congestion and lessening cold symptoms.