It is the season where colds, viruses and bugs may get the better of you and keep you home sick. It seems that colder temperatures prohibit the immune system from responding adequately due to a reduction in antiviral signals. How do you address the inflammation in your body when you are ill? The truth is that a bowl of chicken soup, like your grandmother suggested, could be the solution. According to Dr. Stephen Rennard of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, having a bowl of chicken soup could inhibit the white blood cells or neutrophils from moving and thus limit the symptoms of a respiratory infection. Additionally, chicken soup is a liquid and staying properly hydrated during times of illness is also important. Dr. William Schaffner, Vanderbilt University Professor, claims chicken soup can help rid you of the mucus buildup that occurs during the typical cold.
Often when individuals are sick they do not have an appetite, or it changes dramatically. What does this mean? Scientific research indicates that what you do for nutritional support during a virus is different than a bacterial infection. To fight off a virus, eating may help, but with a bacterial infection, this is not always the case. Certain foods and spices, like garlic, may be even more beneficial than others during a cold. Including foods that are high in Vitamin C can also help. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that has shown promise in improving immune-system function. Foods like red bell peppers, kiwi, oranges, lemons, broccoli and sweet potatoes contain high levels of this vitamin to name a few. Equally important is maintaining vitamin D levels that can become depleted during the winter months. According to Dr. Gala in his book, Your Supplement Guide, “You can only make Vitamin D when your shadow is shorter than you.” He recommends asking your doctor for a 25-hydroxy vitamin D test to determine your level and then aim for a D level of around 30 to 100 ng/ml.
And the next time, you are bemoaning being inflicted with the common cold virus, remember that sometimes even viruses can be beneficial. In fact, the cold virus is being used to treat a rare and aggressive form of cancer as outlined in this article from the MD Anderson Cancer Center (https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/conquest/conquest-fall-2015/unleashing-the-cold-virus-to-kill-cancer.html).