Good Food Blog
Curious cold remediesPosted at 12:02PM, 14 October 2011 by Roxanne Fisher - Writer/Sub-editor, bbcgoodfood.com
Chattering teeth and dreary evenings are often the least of our winter worries, as snotty noses, aching bones, scratchy throats and hacking coughs become the number one challenge of the changing seasons.
Prevention is indeed better than cure, and eating plenty of fruit and veg will ensure you're getting enough vitamin C to keep your immune system fighting fit. You can give your body a further helping hand by topping up levels of vitamin E (oily fish, avocados, brazil nuts), zinc (wholewheat, oats, soya) and B vitamins (lean red meat, dairy, lentils) - all vital for keeping the winter blues at bay.
If you're loath to reach for the Lemsip and prefer a completely natural approach to banishing bugs, then read on for some of our favourite cold-quashing old wives' tales...
What do you do however, if you've let your forward planning fall by the wayside? If you're loath to reach for the Lemsip and prefer a completely natural approach to banishing bugs, then read on for some of our favourite cold-quashing old wives' tales, some of which are more on the mark than you may expect...
The facts: Yes...this is as disgusting as it sounds and although generally considered quite an old fashioned remedy some still swear by it today. Garlic is thought to have anti-bacterial properties that help the immune system fight infection and is packed with antioxidants to help stop your colds in their tracks. Next time you're feeling under the weather (and you can't face downing such a blood-curdling concoction) try using garlic in warming suppers such as braised beef & roasted garlic pie , pepper-crusted salmon with garlic chickpeas or garlic chilli chicken with cardamom rice - and keep your milk for your cereal!
The facts: If you have a fever or are experiencing fatigue, a deep cough or any kind of chest pain then rest, and lots of it, is probably the best option. However, with a common cold when no fever is present, a little light exercise can actually boost the immune system. Don't go too far though, heavy workouts have been shown to have the opposite effect and can slow down recovery. So enjoy some gentle exercise while keeping energy levels up with low-GI dinners such as crab-stuffed avocados , Italian-style beef stew or stir-fry vegetables with cashews.
The facts: this concept brings a whole new meaning to smelly feet! Many believe onions draw toxins away from the body and still use this or similar methods today. To avoid the inevitable pong (and strange looks) test the theory by leaving half an onion by your bed overnight - or, to adopt a more practical approach, simply reap the benefits by enjoying the vegetable in comforting French onion soup , onion tart or healthy cannellini bean, cherry tomato and red onion salad , packed with three of your five-a-day.
The facts: Vitamin C acts better as prevention rather than a cure as it strengthens your immune system. However, many believe the fruit's high sugar content can do more harm than good to a sickly body. Sugar can impair the immune system and so, if you insist orange juice helps you feel better when under the weather, be sure to buy 100% freshly squeezed and check there are no nasty additives in there.
The facts: Whisky or brandy is said by some to, in very small amounts, have a positive effect on grown-up cold sufferers as it is thought to have an anti-inflammatory effect on mucous membranes and can help to reduce a fever. We're talking a dash of alcohol in a hot drink before bed, which may help to relieve symptoms temporarily, but fresh fruit and veg, comforting chicken soup and warm fruit cordials are always preferable.
The above should not be considered personal medical advice or instruction - if you feel unwell always consult your doctor.
Let us know your hints and tips for keeping those colds at bay...