Is there any significant science behind the old wives’ tale? Should you be feeding a cold and starving a fever? And what should you be feeding it anyway?
The last time you came down with a cold, a loved one may have suggested you should “feed a cold.” But why? What do doctors advise?
As long as you feel well enough to eat and have an appetite, you should go ahead and feed that cold … or fever.
The good news? Starving is never the answer.
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Food and fluids, especially, can help you feel better faster. Fasting (another word for starving), on the other hand, can make you weaker at a time when you need all the strength you can get. So what should you eat when you have a cold or fever?
Here are a couple of can’t miss suggestions:
1. Chicken soup
This is one old wives’ tale that science has proven to be true. Chicken soup can help thin your mucus, so your nose is easier to clear, and the mucus is easier to cough up. It may also have an anti-inflammatory effect that can help you feel better faster.
2. Hot tea
A warm cup of herbal tea with a drizzle of honey helps keeps you hydrated. The honey and heat will soothe a sore throat. Opt for a caffeine-free blend, so it doesn’t interfere with your sleep.
“Chamomile tea induces a mild sedative effect, which can reduce insomnia and anxiety,” according to E. Catalina Portillo, registered dietitian and certified culinarian at Keck Medicine of USC. “Chamomile is also known to promote muscle relaxation.”
Garlic is loaded with the immune-boosting compound allicin, which can help strengthen your immune system.
4. Horseradish, hot sauce or ginger
You know that nasal drip you get when you put too much wasabi on your sushi or eat a spicy buffalo wing? It’s a good thing, because it prevents your nasal passages from getting clogged, which can increase your risk of infection. If you can stomach it, add a spoonful to your chicken soup and keep the tissues handy!
If you are in the Los Angeles area and are looking for exceptional care from some of the top physicians in the world, be sure to schedule an appointment by calling (800) USC-CARE (800-872-2273) or by visiting keckmedicine.org/request-an-appointment.
By Anne Fritz