You’ve planned this trip for months. A week by the shore, or a camping trip in the mountains. A long weekend visiting old friends.
And then, seemingly out of the blue, it hits you. The sneezing, the drowsiness, the runny nose.
Winter is the cold season, right? Well, not exactly. Summer plays host to its own version of the pesky virus, and sometimes it’s even worse than the one your kids bring home during winter break.
That’s partly because we’re always trying to fit so much in during the brief summer months when our work schedules and the weather can allow for lots of activities we might not get to do the rest of the year. But it’s also because summer colds can be made worse by another bug called the enterovirus: It can add maladies like diarrhea and rashes to typical cold symptoms. Summer colds often stick around longer too.
And just like the winter cold, there’s no known cure. Certain foods do show promise, though, in reducing the severity and duration of the cold’s symptoms. And yes, chicken soup may be one of the most effective.
Food as medicine
According to staff at the Mayo Clinic, the soup acts as an anti-inflammatory and speeds the movement of mucus through the nose. Broth also helps keep cold sufferers hydrated.
Antioxidants may be useful in warding off a cold or helping you recover from one more quickly. Look for fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants as well as vitamins C and E.
A 2009 review found that regular consumption of vitamin C may reduce the duration of cold symptoms. Citrus fruits probably come to mind first when you think of vitamin C, but broccoli, cantaloupe, kale, bell peppers, and strawberries are other good sources.
Foods with high levels of vitamin E include almonds, peanut butter, salmon, and sunflower seeds.
Homeopathy offers a variety of remedies, each for a different set of symptoms. If you have a runny nose, for example, and frequent sneezing, Allium cepa might be the treatment for you. A spasmodic cough that’s worse when lying down and a tickling sensation in the throat or larynx might call for Hyoscymus. A well-established head cold may be counteracted with Pulsatilla.
Check with a homeopathic practitioner for help with what remedy might be right for you.
Supplementing the battle
Dietary supplements are another tool in preventing colds and lessening their symptoms. Vitamins C and E taken in through food can be supplemented for an added boost, and a recent study confirms the supportive effects of the mineral zinc. Garlic, echinacea, elderberry extract, and ginseng have been shown to boost the immune system or shorten the length of a bout with cold or flu.