Myth Busters: Can specific nutrients and home remedies prevent or cure a cold?
It’s officially cold and flu season – as much as we try to avoid getting sick, it usually happens for most of us at least once this time of year. So, what can we do to potentially avoid it? Rumor has it, there are some key nutrients we can incorporate into our diets in order to prevent and reduce the severity of colds. We researched the most prevalent remedies to determine if there is any truth behind these claims, check out what we found!
Vitamin C is frequently in the spotlight due to its immune health and wound healing properties. Contrary to popular belief, the research demonstrates that Vitamin C is not able to prevent or treat colds for the general population. However, research found that taking Vitamin C prior to getting a cold may decrease the duration. While we can’t rely on Vitamin C to cure colds, we should still eat foods containing the nutrient as is it supports iron absorption and is beneficial to immune, skin and bone health. Be sure to get your daily servings of vegetables and fruits!
Although Vitamin B12 is linked to increasing your energy and improving your immune system, there is little to no scientific evidence suggesting that it has the ability to cure colds. However, Vitamin B12 is also essential for blood cell formation and important for brain health. Remember to include this nutrient in your diet through intake of lean protein sources, low-fat dairy or in the form of a supplement for vegan/vegetarian diets.
Hot Liquids: Tea & Soup
Traditionally, either hot tea or chicken noodle soup is known as a surefire to help you get rid of your cold. Although there have not been many studies conducted suggesting this link, some research demonstrates that the hot beverage and soup may aid in clearing sinuses and suppressing inflammation. Therefore, these remedies may be beneficial especially in increasing hydration but don’t expect them to cure your cold.
This myth is busted! Although the media and even our grandparents may declare that these remedies have the ability to prevent or cure a cold, the evidence is inconclusive. What is most important is how you take care of yourself, which includes a multitude of factors such as proper nutrition containing vitamins and minerals, staying hydrated, adequate sleep and regular handwashing. Therefore, include Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, soups and teas as a part of a healthy diet which may prevent your risk of getting a cold but don’t rely on them as your cure!
By: Allison Lohrer, RD-to-Be & NYNG intern