Cold and flu remedies

Tis the season; almost everyone is sniffling, coughing or moaning about feeling “flu-ish.”

I know you’ve heard the ancient litanies before:

  • don’t catch a chill
  • wash your hands
  • cover your mouth when you cough

That’s all good advice to follow, but I’m here to offer advice from a Gourmand perspective.

One has to eat something, even if one is starving a fever. It might as well be something good, and if it helps the healing, so much the better.

Did you know the adage “feed a cold, starve a fever” was first mentioned in a dictionary in 1574?

The logic was based on the principle that eating more food would help keep your body generate warmth, while starving oneself would then help cool one off when overheated.

As it turns out, modern science has proven that the adage should really be: “feed a cold, feed a fever.” Eating will help your body generate warmth, but if you have a cold, you shouldn’t overeat as your body is likely to store that energy as fat.

Put on a sweater or get under a blanket instead; the rest is just as important for you.

If you have a fever, then eating is important because the fever is part of your body’s way of working hard to fight the virus. Your immune system needs some calories to keep up the good fight, so eat healthy foods to fuel the troops.

There are many herbs and plants whose properties offer relief against cold and flu symptoms. Science shows no significant proof that they can cure anything, but they might help you feel better as you recover.

Here are the most common ones:

THYME — the oil in thyme has antiseptic and antimicrobial properties, so one could hope to keep away the germs by using some. It’s a great seasoning for your chicken soup, at the very least.
OREGANO — as with thyme, oregano oil can help keep the germs at bay. Remember there is more oil in fresh herbs – a small plant on your windowsill can be enough to add to sauces and soups all winter.
TURMERIC — this root has anti-inflammatory properties as well as antioxidant, so it is often recommended for those with sore joints and as a general tonic. You can sprinkle powdered turmeric on your yogurt or in your latte, in addition to putting it in your rice or curry sauce.
— an ingredient common in many dishes, like hot and sour soup – a good choice for a sickie. Garlic’s antioxidant properties as well as antimicrobial and antiviral make it a powerhouse against almost any kind of illness… and vampires, too. Better safe than sorry, right?
GINGER — an ancient remedy for nausea, ginger is a popular ingredient in an old-fashioned medicine cabinet. Ginger tea is said to be good against colds and flu. If you don’t see any packaged ginger tea at the store, boil four cups water with one tablespoon ginger root and let sit for 10 minutes. Sweeten with honey. Drink warm or cool.
LEMON — adding lemon juice to your diet gives you some Vitamin C, a primary source of antioxidants that keep your body strong. Having 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and then 1 tablespoon of honey just before bed is said to be a wonderful remedy for sore throats.

Chicken soup is the age-old remedy for many things; there is even a Jewish proverb that says, “Worries go down better with soup." Perhaps it is in the sharing, as often the chicken soup is made for you when you’re sick. It could be the TLC that really works magic.

Nevertheless, the nutrients will help your body fight the illness, and consuming liquids is especially necessary when you’re sick.

Dehydration is a problem all on its own; we always need to keep up on drinking water to maintain our system. With a cold, we especially need to keep our respiratory system lubricated and with the flu we need to replenish the moisture we lose from sweating with a fever.

We can drink herbal teas or add lemon and honey to warm water (honey has long been considered good to ward off illness and help us heal.) Chicken soup is good to keep us nourished, and good for the soul. Apple cider vinegar with “the mother” can also give us an anti-bacterial boost. Anything that gives relief helps our body concentrate on getting better.

I am a firm believer that good food can work magic. It can bring people together who may not otherwise want to share a conversation. It can be the catalyst for memories of loving times shared, whether in the kitchen or around the table.

Sharing food feeds those who receive it almost as much as it feeds us when we give it out.

If you are healing from a cold or flu, take a deep breath and enjoy your favourite tasty remedy. If you can’t taste anything with your stuffed-up nose, at least you can remember a time when you did taste and think of what you want to eat or cook when you get better.

Be well. If you can’t be well, be well fed.

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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