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What To Eat When You Have A Cold and Cough?

Winter is on the corner and it is one of the most beautiful seasons we would experience in a year. However, it becomes like a curse when you suffer from a cold or cough. This is because a cough and cold could be frustrating and painful at times. Cold and cough could be irritating and can last for a few days or even weeks. You need to visit your doctor when you have a serious cold and cough and take the best medications as advised by them. However, you also need to think about what to eat when you have a cold and cough because your diet has a great impact on your immunity and overall health.

As you read further in this article, you can get to know about some of the foods that you need to eat when you have a cold and cough.

What To Eat When You Have A Cold and Cough?

  1. Salmon

    One of the best foods to eat when you have a cold and cough could be salmon. This is the best source of protein that is essential for your body when you are sick. It is soft and easy to eat and packed with a rich protein content that is essential for your body for a faster recovery.(1)

    Being loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, salmon has got strong anti-inflammatory effects that might aid your immune system to function more efficiently.(2, 3) Moreover, it is also rich in vitamins and minerals, which might be essential for the proper functioning of your immune system.(4)

    So, when you eat salmon during a cold and cough, you can get some quick relief from the conditions since it would help in better functioning of your immune system and give a faster relief.

  2. Yogurt

    Yogurt, being rich in probiotics can be helpful for people when they have a cold, cough, or when they are sick in general.

    Probiotics can help to reduce children’s and adults’ colds and also help them heal faster when they are sick.

    A study has shown that sick children who took probiotics felt better on an average of two days faster and their symptoms even seemed to be 55% less severe.(5)

    However, some individuals have reported that taking dairy products thickens their mucus secretion and this worsened their congestion.

  3. Berries

    If you are suffering from a cold then berries could be one of the best foods for you. Berries like strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries have a lot of health benefits and are a great source of vitamin C, which is an essential vitamin for immune function. So, if you eat berries when you have a cold and cough, you can heal faster from the condition.

  4. Lemon

    Lemon helps in enhancing your immunity as it is a great source of vitamin C and antioxidants. You can get relief from sore throat and cough by intaking a freshly squeezed lemon with black tea or warm water. You can also have oranges which are also rich sources of vitamin C and helps you heal faster.

  5. Chicken Soup

    Chicken soup can be beneficial for you to get rid of sickness. It comprises vitamins, minerals, protein, and calories, which are essential for you to recover from an illness.

    Being loaded with fluids and electrolytes, chicken soup can also help in reducing dehydration caused due to diarrhea, vomiting, or fever.(6)

    The warmth that you get from the soup would be beneficial in reducing congestion.(7) Moreover, chicken also contains the amino acid cysteine. A form of cysteine, N-acetyl-cysteine, breaks apart mucus and has got anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antioxidant effects. (8, 9)

  6. Pineapple

    Did you know that pineapple is a powerful cough aid? An enzyme Bromelain found in pineapple has anti-inflammatory and mucolytic properties. That is why pineapple is a great food that you need to eat when you have a cold and cough.

  7. Pomegranate Juice

    Fresh pomegranate juice is loaded with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Flavonoid, an antioxidant found in pomegranate is found to be beneficial in combat viruses and reducing the duration of a cold by around 40%. You can either drink fresh pomegranate juice or add the fruit to your smoothies.

  8. Grape Juice

    Grape juice is a great way to drink vitamin C. Being packed with vitamin C, grape juice help in promoting a healthy immune system and thus benefits you when you have a cold and cough. You can either drink the grape juice or can add grapes to your smoothie and drink it when you have a cold.

  9. Vegetable Juice

    If you have a cold, cough, or flu, you can drink vegetable juice that would help you boost your immunity because of the antioxidants present in it. You might include kale, carrots, and beetroots in your vegetable juice since all these vegetables have antiviral properties.

  10. Turkey Sandwich

    You become weak and your immune system might also get weaker when you have a cold and cough. This is when you would require eating protein-rich foods that would help you get back to your normal health. A turkey sandwich would be the best food for you that would provide your immune system, with the protein it requires to fight the cold or flu virus.

  11. Hot Tea

    A cup of hot tea could be a great remedy for colds and other symptoms of the flu. Hot tea acts as a potential natural decongestant and can help in providing you relief from congestion.

    Although some teas contain caffeine, they do not contribute to dehydration. It means if you sip on tea throughout the day, you can stay hydrated while getting relief from  congestion.

    Chamomile tea has got a significant level of anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and helps in enhancing immunity.

  12. Sweet Potatoes

    Sweet potatoes are super healthy vegetables and packed with Vitamin A and other nutrients that are good for the immune system. So, when you are sick with a cold or cough you can eat this healthy vegetable for better immunity and health.

  13. Pumpkin Seeds

    Being a great source of zinc, pumpkin seeds help in enhancing the function of WBCs. These WBCs or white blood cells are essential to fight off pathogens like the flu or cold virus. So, when you have a cold or cough, you can eat these seeds and help yourself recover faster.

  14. Nuts and Nut Butter

    Nuts and nut butter are a great way to increase dietary protein levels and also add some important fats to your diet when you suffer from any disease. Moreover, some key elements found in nuts like zinc, copper, vitamin D, and selenium, are great for enhancing and maintaining the immune system’s health. So, you can eat them when you have a cold and cough.

  15. Kiwi

    Kiwi is a potential cold remedy and helps to ease your cough. Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition has suggested that consuming kiwifruit can help in reducing the symptoms of cold and also shorten the illness(10) Moreover, the micronutrients found in the fruit also help in boosting the health of your immune system.

  16. Ginger

    Ginger is a well-known natural remedy for cough and has great anti-inflammatory properties. You can take a cup of hot ginger tea to ease sore throat and cough. Certain compounds present in ginger dilate the blood vessels of your lungs and relax smooth muscles, thus helping in the opening of the airways.

  17. Raw Honey

    The antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties of honey might help in reducing the duration and intensity of a cough.

    Honey might stimulate the immune system. Many people use raw honey to get relief from seasonal allergies. However, there is no research to support this.(11)

  18. Turmeric Milk

    Turmeric milk can benefit you in treating cough and sore throat. The presence of Curcumin in turmeric makes it an essential remedy for this. Turmeric enhances your immune system and helps the body fight against infection when you have a cold and cough.

  19. Garlic

    Garlic can in fighting the flu and cold. It can ensure faster recovery and also improve your overall health.

    Aged garlic extract supplements might enhance the functioning of the immune system and also reduce the severity of colds and the flu.(12) Adding garlic to your food can help you with a cold and cough.

Final Words

Taking proper rest, staying hydrated, and having a proper diet and nutrition along with appropriate treatment can help in making you feel better and recover faster from a cold and cough. So, make sure you add the right foods to your daily diet when you have a cold or cough, and also be sure to visit your doctor to prevent any complications.


Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:October 31, 2022

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