6 Foods to Beat the Common Cold
The cure for the common cold has been discovered. No lie! The miraculous truth is that your immune system at full-strength can protect you from what doctors call “rhinoviruses” and can purge any that get past its defenses. Your immune system draws its power from the nutrients you eat, so you want to keep it well-stocked with a healthy, diverse diet. And when everybody around you is sneezing and coughing, you can turbocharge your immunity by adding one or all of these six ingredients to your daily meals.
The spicy cloves fortify your defenses with its potent antimicrobial and antibacterial powers. In a study reported in the journal Advances in Therapy in 2001, subjects taking garlic supplements everyday throughout the winter experienced fewer and less severe colds than the control group. Fresh garlic is even more effective than supplements, experts say. Of course, it also puts a tasty zing in your marinara. On Nutrisystem? Garlic is a Free Food so dig in! (Hate peeling garlic? Check out this amazing tip that takes all the work out of peeling!)
A natural antihistamine and decongestant, ginger helps relieve the worst cold symptoms without unpleasant side effects. Ginger also prevents colds by stimulating your body to secrete compounds that block viruses that make contact with your mucus membranes. Add a few slices of fresh ginger to stir-fries or soups, or for faster relief, make a strong cup of ginger tea. Simply simmer a 2-inch piece of fresh ginger root in 2 cups of water, then flavor it with a little honey and lemon. On Nutrisystem, ginger is a Free Food. (Check out this super simple hack for peeling garlic!)
The T-cells that are the front-line warriors of your immune system require a robust supply of zinc to operate effectively. Pumpkin seeds are packed with zinc as well as other vital minerals. Toss a handful onto your salad or munch them as a snack to keep your vital mineral levels at their peak. On Nutrisystem, one teaspoon of pumpkin seeds is considered an Extra.
Spinach, kale and other dark leafy greens trigger your body’s production of lymphocytes, cells that seek out and destroy foreign or infectious organisms, and proteins that help cell walls resist attack from invaders. However you like to eat greens—raw, sauteed or otherwise—you still get the cold-fighting benefits. Remember that the darker the greens, the higher their nutrient content. Most leafy greens are unlimited on Nutrisystem.
Your skin and mucus membranes (like the inside of your nose) are your body’s first barriers to colds and other viruses. Sweet potatoes are packed with beta carotene, which plays a central role in maintaining your skin and membranes. It’s also a key nutrient for production of defensive T-cells. Baked or mashed, the tubers are also nutrient-dense, low in calories and sweetly satisfying. On Nutrisystem, a half cup of sweet potato counts as one SmartCarb.
The old folk wisdom that chicken soup helps relieve cold symptoms is supported by science. Warm broth soothes raw throats and loosens mucus that’s congesting your sinuses. Cooking chicken releases the amino acid cysteine, which is a natural form of a drug used to treat bronchitis. Even when you’re not dealing with cold symptoms, sipping broth on a frigid day just helps you feel toastier inside. On Nutrisystem, low sodium broth counts as a Free Food.