Vampires Back Off: Eating to Fend off a Cold


I did a silly thing yesterday… I rode the bus, touched a pole on the bus to retain balance, got to my apartment, and ate a tangerine without remembering to wash my hands first. Despite having gotten my flu shot a couple of weeks ago, with all this flu hullaballoo plus the fact that it is already cold season, you can’t be too careful. Plus, it should just sort of common sense to wash one’s hands after taking public transportation. 

Us gluten free people can’t ever be too careful when it comes to taking medicine for anything. I learned that lesson last spring when I landed in the ER twice completely dehydrated and ten pounds lighter than two weeks prior due to glutened pills prescribed by a doctor… just let that marinade for a second and you’ll see why I go down the natural path when it comes to healing as often as possible. 

A cold can’t necessarily be cured (and it’s not the worst of sicknesses to have, although it feels rather unfortunate all the same), but it’s life can be shortened with the incorporation of some simple foods into your daily diet. 

1) Garlic

This is probably the number one recommended food to have with a cold. In fact, regular garlic eaters have been scientifically proven to catch the cold significantly less than their vampiric counterparts. This potent food has the power to fight off the bacteria that causes colds in the first place and will help alleviate a cough and nasal congestion. Mash some of this up in a stir fry, whip up some strong garlic bread, and if you’re feeling desperate or really like garlic, just eat the clove. 

2) Honey and Cinnamon 

I was recommended this tasty combo by an extended family member the last time I had a cold, and it seemed to help- plus it tastes really good. Take down a tablespoon of slightly warmed honey with 1/4 tsp cinnamon and after doing this about three times a day for a couple of days, you will probably notice an improvement. Just be sure that you don’t go TOO crazy with the antibacterial cinnamon or else this will turn into the cinnamon challenge. 

3) Seafood

I’m not a big seafood fan (therefore a bad Seattle-ite), but I’ve started to try bringing it into my diet more often due to it’s many health benefits. On top of being great for the digestive system, seafood is full of zinc, iron, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which are vital for a strong immune system. Try adding some shrimp to quinoa or pan-fry up salmon for dinner tonight. 

4) Mushrooms

Mushrooms are commonly used to help with colds in China and Japan because they help to build white blood cells which assist the immune system. I wouldn’t normally think of mushrooms being useful for curing colds, but that’s how I am about more than a few things that come from our friends over in the East, those innovative folk. 

5) Carrots

Carrots may help your eyesight, but that’s not all they serve for. The easy-to-eat veggie has lots of nutrients that help boost the infection-fighting cells in your immune system. If you’re not a big fan of carrots, try out other orange foods like sweet potato or orange pepper as these foods tend to be the best for nutritional value. Cheetos don’t count. 

Now, I’m not saying that any of these foods will have you feeling well enough to run a marathon by tomorrow morning, but if collectively combined to make up the contents of your meals and snacks for the next few days, you will no doubt see improvement. 

For example, you could aim for eating like this for a couple of days:

Breakfast: Orange juice and whole grain cereal drizzled with honey

Lunch: A quinoa salad topped with shrimp and flavored with garlic

DInner: A big stir-fry full of carrots, mushrooms, protein, garlic, and a spicy flavoring. 

Snacks: Carrots with hummus, citrus fruit

In the meantime, be drinking plenty of liquids (natural juice and water) and rest up! 



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