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Cold and Flu Old Wives' Tales, Debunked
October 28, 2011
Marilyn and I hope you're well and enjoying adding Nature's Super Foods to your diet!

Today we thought we'd share with you, cold and flu "old wives' tales", truth or fiction.

From wet hair to chicken soup, the truth about how to prevent and recover from winter illness.

So, was Mom's stay-well advice right?

She probably told you, don't go out with wet hair.

If you're not feeling well, you need to rest.

And of course, to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.

This "feel-better, don't spread colds" advice was recently put to the scientific test.

The verdict: Most of our moms' classic tips won't keep us safe from colds and flu.

But Mom did get a couple of things right.

Here, experts set the record straight on which motherly advice is worth taking.

1. Tale: You'll get sick if you go out in the cold with wet hair.

Truth: Exposure to viruses, not skipping the blow-dryer, causes cold and flu.

Scientists have studied this really well.

They've put cold viruses in the noses of two groups of people.

One group was then exposed to cold/wet conditions, and people who were chilled were no more likely to get sick than those who weren't.

Being outside can make your nose run (cold weather dilates blood vessels), but it doesn't make you more susceptible to viruses.

2. Tale: Feed a cold, starve a fever.

Truth: This is half right.

When you're congested, nutritious food will fortify your immune system.

But when you're feverish, your metabolism is revved up and you need more energy, not fewer calories, to fight off infection.

Bottom line: Stay hydrated and eat well, no matter what your symptoms.

3. Tale: Avoid dairy when you have a cold.

Truth: There's no medical basis to skip dairy when you're sick.

Many people, including some pediatricians, believe that dairy products increase mucus production.

However, research shows this may be a placebo effect.

In one study, people who knew they were drinking cow's milk reported more nasal symptoms than those who had soy milk, but people who didn't know which milk they were drinking reported the same (minimal) effects.

4. Tale: You lose most of your body heat through your head.

Truth: It's wise to keep your head covered with a cozy hat.

Although technically you don't lose more body heat through your head (about 10%, which is proportional to the body surface area) it may feel that way.

That's because your face is about 5 times more sensitive to temperature than other areas.

It's an early warning system that alerts you to put on a sweater or turn up the thermostat long before your core body temperature gets too cold.

5. Tale: Have some chicken soup when you're sick.

Truth: There's something to this age-old comfort food remedy.

Researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center found that chicken soup, prepared with lots of veggies, mitigates some of the inflammation responsible for cold symptoms, like a runny nose and congestion.

To get rid of common cold symptoms, you have to get rid of the inflammation that's causing them.

6. Tale: Rest, don't exercise, when you're under the weather.

Truth: You do need to rest, but a little exercise might help you feel better.

In a study from Ball State University, volunteers with severe colds were divided into two groups, one of which exercised for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

The other group simply rested.

In both groups, cold symptoms lasted for about 8 1/2 days (8.36 for the exercisers; 8.45 for the resters) and peaked during the morning hours.

But as a group, the exercisers felt better during the afternoon and evening than the resters did.

While some exercise is good for you, don't overdo it when you're sick.

Intense workouts (lasting more than 90 minutes) can actually weaken immunity.

7. Tale: Cover your mouth with your hand when you cough.

Truth: Although this might look polite and germ preventing, it's anything but.

When you capture a cough or sneeze in your hand, you're likely to pass the cold on to someone else.

Cold viruses exist in large quantities in the nasal fluid of sick people and are easily transferred from their hands after even the briefest contact.

You also leave viruses on doorknobs, phones, countertops, and elevator buttons.

To sidestep such icky transmissions, be sure to wash your hands frequently, and use a tissue or, if one isn't handy, cough and sneeze into your inner elbow.

So, while you're tending to your under-the-weather loved one's, here is a quick and tasty recipe that's sure to please.

Really Easy Baked Chicken

3 Peppers, Black, Red, and Paprika, are all you'll need to flavor this tasty, yet very simple chicken recipe.

If you don't like spicy food, omit the red pepper.

For a change, add a Tsp. of dried sage or a half Tsp. of Oregano or Rosemary with the other seasonings.

Serves: 4

Prep: 5 min

Cook: 25 min

Total: 30 min


8 drumsticks (about 2 lb. total)

3/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. paprika

1/8 tsp. ground red pepper (optional)

1 Tbs. olive or canola oil


Heat oven to 450°F.

Put drumsticks close together on rimmed baking sheet.

Sprinkle with salt, black pepper, paprika, and red pepper (if using).

Drizzle with oil.

Toss drumsticks to distribute the oil and seasonings evenly.

Arrange drumsticks 1" apart so they'll brown nicely.

Bake until browned and cooked through, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Nutritional Facts:

per serving

Calories 275.2 Cal.

Fat 16.6 g.

Saturated Fat 4.1 g.

Sodium 562.3 mg.

Carbohydrates 0.2 g.

Total Sugars 0 g.

Dietary Fiber 0.1 g.

Protein 29.3 g.

Unfortunately, that's all the time we have for today.

We hope you enjoy the recipe and found some value in this Edition!

Until next time, we want you to,

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