Cold-Remedies

Cold-Remedies ~ Ailments & Remedies

Foods That Fight Infection

The signs don’t lie: scratchy throat, nasal congestion, watery eyes.

Oh Yes, it is indeed, the start of another cold.

The only way to avoid colds and flu entirely would be to become a hermit, living far from the sneezes of co-workers, the runny noses of children, and the coughs of strangers on city transit.

The problem is that secluding yourself on a desert island won't pay the bills, however, one of the best strategies I know is to eat all of nature's immunity boosting foods you can get your hands on.

And, as it turns out, there are plenty to choose from.

Cold-Remedies: Boost Immunity

Research has found that some of the foods we eat every day contain powerful compounds that can help stop viruses from taking hold.

Even when you're already sick, choosing the right foods will ease the discomfort and possibly help you get better more quickly.

Cold-Remedies

Eating For Immunity

Colds and flu get their start when just a few viruses slip into your system and once those little varmits are inside, they immediately set to work making more viruses.

In the event your immune system doesn't stop them early on, they multiply to enormous numbers, and that's when you start feeling the effects.

Cold-Remedies: Boost Immunity

One way to stop this microbial invasion is to eat more fruits and vegetables.

These foods contain a variety of substances that strengthen the immune system, making it better able to destroy viruses before they make you sick.

Research has shown, for example, that many fruits and vegetables contain a compound called glutathione, which stimulates the immune system to release large numbers of macro-phages, specialized cells that seize viruses and mark them for destruction.

Avocados, watermelons, asparagus, winter squash, and grapefruit are all rich in glutathione.

Okra, oranges, tomatoes, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, cantaloupe, strawberries, and peaches are also good sources.

Another powerful compound in many fruits and vegetables is vitamin-C.

Doctors have been debating for years whether vitamin-C can help prevent colds and they're still debating.

When you're already sick, however, getting extra vitamin-C in your diet has been proven to relieve cold symptoms and help you get better more quickly.

Vitamin-C lowers levels of histamine, a defensive chemical released by the immune system that is responsible for causing stuffiness and other cold and flu symptoms.

At the same time, vitamin-C appears to strengthen white blood cells, which are essential for fighting infection.

Cold-Remedies: Boost Immunity

After reviewing 21 scientific studies published since 1971, researchers at the University of Helsinki in Finland concluded that getting 1,000 milligrams of vitamin-C a day can reduce cold symptoms and shorten the duration of the illness by 23 percent.

Of course, you'd have to eat a lot of oranges, broccoli, and other foods rich in vitamin-C to get that much of this important nutrient.

A better strategy is to drink a lot of juices.

Orange juice, which has 61 milligrams of vitamin-C in a 6-ounce serving, is probably your best choice, although cranberry and grapefruit juices also contain a lot of vitamin-C.

Cold-Remedies: Boost Immunity

Bulbs Of Health

Garlic has been used throughout history for treating virtually every type of infection.

Now there's increasing evidence that it can help protect against colds and flu as well.

Garlic contains dozens of chemically active compounds.

Two of them, allicin and alliin, have been shown to kill germs directly.

Plus, garlic appears to stimulate the immune system to release natural killer cells, which destroy even more germs.

Cold-Remedies: Boost Immunity

To get the benefits of garlic however, you have to eat a lot of it, as much as an entire bulb a day to combat colds and flu.

Unless you have developed a taste for it, you probably can't eat that much raw garlic.

Micro waving or baking garlic until it's tender, however, will take away some of the burn and sweeten the taste.

The softened garlic still seems to be quite potent.

Cold-Remedies: Boost Immunity

Hot And Helpful

Research has shown that two traditional treatments for colds and flu, a cup of hot tea followed by a steaming bowl of chicken soup, are among the most potent home remedies there are.

Both of these foods, along with chilli peppers and other spicy foods contain compounds that can relieve congestion and keep the immune system strong.

Tea, for example, contains a compound called theophylline, which helps break up congestion.

Tea also contains quercetin, a compound that may help prevent viruses from multiplying.

Chicken soup is another folk remedy that has been proven to be effective.

In fact, having a bowl of chicken soup is one of the best ways to relieve stuffiness and other cold and flu symptoms.

In laboratory studies, it was found that chicken soup was able to prevent white blood cells from causing inflammation and congestion in the airways.

It's important, however, to use homemade chicken soup.

We're not talking about the store bought stuff here.

Doctors aren't certain as to why, but canned chicken soup doesn't work as well as homemade, and broth made from bouillon doesn't work at all.

Cold-Remedies: Boost Immunity

When a cold has your nose so stuffy that you feel like you're breathing through a thick blanket, you may want to take a bite of hot pepper.

Jalapenos, ground red pepper and their fiery kin, contain a compound called capsaicin.

This compound, which is similar to a drug in cold and flu medications, will help you breathe easy again.

You don't need fresh peppers to get the benefits though.

Mixing a teaspoon of ground red pepper in a glass of water and drinking it can be very effective.

It's heating, but not irritating.

Treating Colds Herbally

• Echinacea.

Studies from the 1990s showed scant preventive value.

Then in 2007, University of Connecticut scientists analyzed 14 studies and found that echinacea reduced cold risk by 58 percent.

Echinacea’s preventive value remains controversial, but if anyone close to you catches a cold, it can't hurt in taking it.

Recommended dose: 20 drops of tincture three times a day, or follow package directions.

• Ginseng.

Canadian researchers gave 279 adults a daily placebo or ginseng (400 mg a day).

Four months later, the ginseng group developed significantly fewer colds.

University of Connecticut researchers repeated this study and came to the same conclusion, calling ginseng “a safe, natural means for preventing acute respiratory illness.”

Recommended dose: 400 mg a day.

• Green tea.

University of Florida researchers gave healthy adults either a placebo or green tea capsules twice a day.

Three months later, the tea group reported significantly fewer colds.

No other herbs have been shown to prevent colds.

However, several boost immune function against viruses, so it’s a good bet they help prevent colds.

• Maitake mushroom.

Maitake contains beta-glucan that activates germ-devouring T-cells, natural killer cells and macrophages.

Recommended dose: 3 to 7 grams a day. Or use this delicious mushroom in cooking.

• Reishi mushroom.

Like maitake, reishi contains beta-glucan, and revs up the immune system against various viruses, notably herpes.

Recommended dose: 1.5 to 9 grams daily of dried mushroom; 1 to 1.5 grams a day of powder; or 1 ml a day of tincture.

• Shiitake mushroom.

These tasty Asian Shiitake mushrooms are immune-boosters, notably against the viruses that cause hepatitis B and genital warts.

Recommended dose: 6 to 16 grams a day of dried mushrooms or 4 ounces fresh.

Or use in cooking.

• Honey. Recently, the Food and Drug Administration ruled that cold and cough remedies should not be given to children younger than 2.

So, what’s a parent with suffering kids to do?

If your child is older than 1 year, give a teaspoon of honey.

Penn State researchers tested honey against the standard over-the-counter cough suppressant dextromethorphan in 105 children.

Parents said honey worked better. (Do not give honey to infants younger than 1 year.)

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