What to Eat When You Have a Cold

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Even if you can’t taste anything, you still gotta eat.

Have you ever tried to eat a burger while you’re sick? I have, it’s not fun. You can’t taste anything, so you’re effectively just chewing a brick of mush. When you’re down with a cold (and let me stress “a cold” here, not other illnesses), you need to provide your body with the nourishment it needs, even if eating becomes a chore. The answer is simple, nutrient-rich foods.

When you’ve got a sore throat, your first weapon of choice should be tea, preferably herbal tea. Not only will tea help to keep you hydrated, the herbs you make it with can provide a litany of benefits. Turmeric, for example, is an excellent choice, as turmeric contains anti-inflammatory and anti-septic agents that can soothe and heal your throat. Catechins present in tea also help to stimulate your immune system, which hopefully means you won’t be putting up with this for as long.

Along with your tea, fresh fruit can be your best friend. Citrus fruits in particular, like oranges, grapefruit, and lemons, are rich in virus-busting vitamin C. If you have a fever, a frozen fruit slushy will give your immune system a big boost while also cooling you down. Some studies have claimed that quercetin, found in many berries, is a good natural remedy for the viruses that gunk up your nose, but the jury’s still out there.

So fruit and herbal tea are your ideal tools, but what should you steer clear of? First and foremost, dairy. Milk and cheese cause your mucus to thicken, which can make sinus congestion that much more unbearable. Alcohol is also a bad idea, as it’ll dehydrate and inflame you, which will undoubtedly make your symptoms worse.

So when you’re down with a cold, find a warm nook and enjoy some fresh fruit and herbal tea. You should be back up to snuff soon enough.