Spring may be on its way but there are still plenty of people suffering from coughs, colds and blocked sinuses.
The common cold and most upper respiratory infections are caused by viruses. The main aim of treatments and remedies is to ease symptoms whilst your immune system clears the infection. Certain foods have been shown to shorten the length of your illness and help you breathe easier.
Prevention is better than cure
Recent evidence that Vitamin D supplements could avoid up to 3 million respiratory infections a year was big news. We mainly make Vitamin D from exposure to sunlight but a few foods such as oily fish, egg yolks and wild mushrooms can naturally boost your levels.
Probiotics found in cultured milk products such as Yogurt and Kefir aid digestion and may help prevent respiratory infections. A review of multiple trials shows children who consumed probiotics developed fewer respiratory infections and had less time off school than children who did not.
Probiotics may also help reduce the severity of cold symptoms. Make sure you pick products with live active cultures, such as Lactobacillus to maximise the health benefits.
Kefir has a tart, slightly sour taste and makes a great topping to granola, fruit or in smoothies. Try this recipe from Honestly Healthy Food to make your own.
Chicken soup as a treatment for the common cold is not fictitious. According to the University of Nebraska Medical Center, chicken soup may contain a number of substances with beneficial medicinal effects.
Warm fluids, such as herbal teas, broth and soups help to prevent dehydration, speed up the movement of mucus and relieve nasal congestion.
Foods with added heat or spice can also help relieve nasal or sinus congestion. Try this recipe from honestly healthy for a delicious and quick Asian noodle broth.
The jury is still out on whether or not Vitamin C helps prevent colds. There is some evidence taking vitamin C before a cold may shorten the duration of symptoms.
The theory is that as Vitamin C is an antioxidant it may support your immune system and help treat respiratory infections. While there may not be enough evidence to advise taking supplements, eating foods high in Vitamin C is not going to do you any harm and may help your symptoms.
Try these simple remedies next time you’re struggling to breathe through a cold!