Cold, cough, allergies and flu are the most common winter ailments. The treatment usually involves over-the-counter medicines such as antihistamines, or certain home remedies such as a saltwater gargle, herbal tea, hot soup, and steam baths.
A huge reason soup is considered good for colds is that most are rich in vitamins, nutrient-rich veggies, and make for a light meal. “A bowl of hot soup is the best thing to soothe your soul and make you feel better instantly. It also helps to ease your symptoms faster. Our appetite might be lacking when we’re suffering from a sore throat, but it’s important to stay nourished. Soup is often the go-to food because it can be nourishing, restorative, easy to digest, and interestingly ‘light’ in both consistency and colour so as not to tax the system excessively,” said Anam Golandaz, Clinical Dietician, Masina Hospital, Mumbai.
Another item which helps fight cold and cough is garlic, which is an effective antimicrobial and expectorant. The University of Maryland Medical Center cites a study that suggested that garlic may help prevent colds and lessen their symptoms. People who took a garlic supplement for 12 weeks caught 63 per cent fewer colds than people who took a placebo.
Similarly, black pepper also helps combat symptoms of a seasonal flu. It is a common household spice and is one of the best Indian spices to include in your soups and hot beverages during winter, especially if one is suffering from chest congestion and common cold.
“Indians love their chai particularly during winters, as caffeine indulgence energises the body and warms it from the inside. However, if one is suffering from a cold, one may add freshly crushed black pepper or black pepper powder, along with sea salt instead of sugar to their cups of chai,” suggested Golandaz.
Turmeric is also an essential ingredient which has strong antioxidant properties, and helps in treating many health problems. Turmeric mixed in warm milk is a popular and effective way to fight against cold and cough. Drinking a glass of warm turmeric milk before sleeping helps in faster recovery, too.
Other key ingredients in a soup can include onions, garlic and additional vegetables that can add flavour and provide a healthy dose of phytonutrients – vital for a well-functioning immune system. They can also help to reduce inflammation in the body, which in turn may ease the symptoms of a pesky cold.
Few measures to note:
Having certain foods, on the other hand, can aggravate the situation and worsen the symptoms.
*Avoid dairy products
*Do not eat spicy, processed and fried foods
*Increase fluid intake