We all have sick remedies that we swear by. I mean, nothing feels better than a hot bowl of chicken soup, right? Well, it turns out that it may actually have an anti-inflammatory impact, as it prevents neutrophils, a type of white blood cell, from moving.
And by slowing down the movement of neutrophils, it prevents the cells from congregating in the lung area, relieving congestion.
But you may have also heard the expression ‘feed a cold, starve a fever’ – so should you only eat soup…sometimes? It turns out this is only half true.
In both cases, you should actually be eating nutrient rich food, which gives your body the energy to heal itself and increases something called gamma interferon – which is essential for your immunity against both viral and bacterial infections.
So why not eat an apple? Because an apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? Well…to a degree! 100 grams of apple contains the same antioxidant power as 1500 mg of vitamin C, which has been shown to inhibit the growth of both liver and colon cancerous tumors. Their peels, which are rich in flavonoids are also linked to a reduced risk of coronary heart disease.
So while it may be associated with fewer visits to the doctor, and as a preventative medicine for your overall health, it’s impact on the common cold is still debated.
So what about just taking lots of Vitamin C, whether in the form of lemons, other foods, or pills? It turns out, in a double blind study, it didn’t reduce the incidence of the common cold. However, it did significantly reduce the length of colds.
This may be due to the increased growth in T Cells, which are white blood cells involved in your immune response, as well as an increased production of interferon, which causes virus-infected cells to ramp up their anti-viral defenses.
If you’re in need of some immediate relief for a cough or sleeping difficulty from a respiratory infection, honey has your back! Known for its antibacterial activity, It increases the release of inflammatory cytokines, which signal cells to repair themselves.
And garlic? Not only can it ward off vampires, but it’s been shown to decrease the length and severity of cold and flu symptoms. By increasing the growth of Gamma-Delta-T-Cells and Natural-Killer cells, it’s able to pick up on invading pathogens and remove them more effectively.
Ever try Echinacea? It’s one of the most popular herbal supplements, and for good reason. In a meta-analysis on 14 studies, Echinacea decreased the odds of developing a cold by 58% and reduced the length of colds by approximately one and a half days.
It works as an anti-inflammatory and similar to other remedies, influences cytokine production in the body.
And while you’re at it, have a drink – with a little alcohol. Seriously, some studies have found that moderate amounts of alcohol can help boost your immune system. But before you crack a bottle open, consider that ‘heavy drinkers’ were found to have the weakest immune systems.
If all else fails, water, rest, and time are surefire contributors to recovery.