Sadly, there’s no magic pill to cure a cold. But you can keep those sniffles away this rainy season by building up your immunity. Eating foods bursting with vitamins and nutrients is the way to go. And no, bhajiyas don’t count, but those steaming cups of adrak chai do.
These low-calorie fungi are a dieter’s delight, but did you know they’re a powerhouse of two flu fighters, selenium, that helps white blood cells produce cytokines to fight toxins, and beta glucan, that activates ‘superhero’ cells to seek out and destroy infections?
Did you know low Vitamin D levels (almost all Indians are Vitamin D deficient) make you a prime candidate for respiratory infections? Up your intake of fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel. Mushrooms, cheese and egg yolk are also good sources of Vitamin D. You need about 800 to 1000 IU each day.
It might be kiss-unfriendly, but garlic is a powerhouse of phytochemical allicin, an antimicrobial compound. One British study found that people who took garlic supplements had 46 percent fewer colds and recovered faster if they got one. Don’t like garlicky food? Just swallow two fresh cloves daily with a glass of water.
A Harvard University study found that drinking five cups of black tea a day quadrupled your body’s immune system after two weeks, thanks to the levels theanine and catechins in tea that act like a clean-up crew against free radicals. Besides black tea, have your fill of green and white tea as well for glowing skin and weight loss.
Chocoholics rejoice! Dark chocolate — not the creamy, milky, sugary stuff most of us love — deserves a place in healthy diets. A report in the British Journal of Nutrition says dark chocs boost immunity because they help infection-fighting T-helper cells. Now where’s my bar?
Dahi has innumerable benefits, thanks to a surfeit of gut-friendly pre- and probiotics. Just one serving can enhance immune function and give you a decent dose of calcium and protein.
Heart-healthy almonds are replete with immunity-boosting Vitamin E that reduces your chance of catching colds and developing respiratory infections, according to a Tufts University study. Eat a small handful — about 15 almonds a day — to ward off mid-meal hunger cravings. Sunflower, pumpkin and flax seeds are also good sources of Vitamin E.
Even though oranges and lemons are the first thing you think of when you have a cold, strawberries are what you should be reaching for. Just one cup of these delicious pink berries provides 160 percent of your daily Vitamin C needs.
Again, a dieter’s delight thanks to its low glycaemic index, sweet potato is replete with beta carotene that powers the body’s immune system and helps get rid of toxins. Other beta-carotene-rich foods include carrots and pumpkin.
Technically not a food, a steaming bowl of chicken soup actually soothes a scratchy throat and drives away sniffles. Why? Chicken contains an amino acid called cysteine that thins mucus in the lungs, and the hot broth keeps the nasal passages moist, prevents dehydration and fights inflammation in the throat.