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Starve a Cold, Feed a Fever?

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Colds and Foods High in Glutathione

Glutathione is another nutrient that has been found to strengthen the immune system so it can fight infections. This powerful antioxidant is most plentiful in the red, pulpy area of the watermelon near the rind. It can also be found in broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, and other cruciferous vegetables.

Colds and Foods High in Phytochemicals

Foods high in phytochemicals are also important for wellness. Phytochemicals appear in all plants, therefore, a diet that includes a variety of grains, fruits, and vegetables will provide these healthy substances.

Foods rich in phytochemicals include: apples, apricots, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, garlic, legumes, onions, red peppers, soybeans, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes.

Colds and Yogurt

Some studies have shown that eating a daily cup of low-fat yogurt can help reduce your susceptibility to colds. Researchers say the beneficial bacteria in yogurt may stimulate production of immune system substances that fight disease.

Colds and Foods High in Zinc

The mineral zinc also has antioxidant effects and is vital to the body's resistance to infection and for tissue repair. Zinc is also thought to stimulate the immune system.

Some studies show that sucking on zinc lozenges at the start of a cold may reduce the duration of cold symptoms. However, study results are conflicting and suggest that zinc may have a minimal benefit at best. Researchers continue to study zinc to determine its true effect on colds. For now, your best bet may be to eat foods packed with the healthy mineral.

Food rich in zinc include: eggs, meats, nuts, seafood, seeds, wheat germ, and whole grains.

Colds and Protein-Packed Foods

Protein is vital to build and repair body tissue and fight viral and bacterial infections. Immune system powerhouses such as antibodies and immune system cells rely on protein. Too little protein in the diet may lead to symptoms of weakness, fatigue, apathy, and poor immunity. Choose lean sources of protein such as skinless chicken, lean beef and turkey, beans, and soy.

Colds and Grandma's Chicken Soup

Chicken soup appears to help fight colds in at least two research studies. It helps clear nasal congestion as well as thin mucus so you can better cough it up. In addition, research shows it may have a mild anti-inflammatory effect than can help ease cold symptoms.

Drinking hot tea is another great old home remedy. Hot tea helps to thin mucus and ensure proper hydration of the body. Green and black tea are filled with flavonoids, which are potent antioxidants.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on June 13, 2012
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