Foods that fight cold
It seems like almost everyone in the city is suffering from a cold. A cough, cold and influenza are common ailments, and remedies for these have been handed down from grandmothers and doctors alike. It is true that consumption of the right foods can help fight a cold better. For instance, chicken soup is a 12th century remedy for a cold, and came from eminent physicians. Chicken contains a natural amino acid called cystenie, which is released in the stock when soup is made. This amino acid acts like any other mucokinetic drug. It helps thin down the mucous in the lungs, making it easier to expel.
Certain foods also help thin out and aid lung secretions, so that they do not clog air passages. Then, it can be coughed up or normally expelled. Such foods are referred to as ‘mucokinetic’ (mucous-moving) agents, and include decongestants and expectorants. Even pepper and vinegar work wonders at reliving respiratory infections, according to Hippocrates.
Dr Zement, MD, a professor of medicine, believes that some foods work by imitating medicines. The spicy agent in red-hot pepper is capsaicin which, according to him, bears a resemblance to the drug, guaifenesin. Another chemical called allin, which is found in garlic, helps regulate the mucous flow. So, what are the ideal cold-flu killers? The best decongesting foods are those that are hot and spicy.
When we eat such food, pungent flavour activates the vagus nerve, which controls the secretion producing glands that line the airways. The glands then release waves of fluids that make your eyes water and your nose run. This breaks up congestion, flushes out sinuses, and washes away the irritants. For those with chronic bronchitis, eating hot and spicy food at least thrice a week could prove to be beneficial.
Onions and garlic also fall in mucokinetic foods category which means that they too help fight cold and flu virus. Avoid milk — hot or cold — during a flu attack.
Some hot tips for a cold
Eat onions and garlic either raw or in a soup form.
Indulge in some steaming hot and spicy fish curry with rice
Sip hot water with a dash of fresh ginger juice through the day.