Since ancient times people have been victims of cold and flu and tried to find a cure for them without success. The common cold is one of the most prevalent causes of illness in the world. Most adults will have an average of two to four colds each year. During each infection you can expect to spend approximately between 8 to 10 days coughing, sniffling, sneezing, and feeling miserable in general. |
The cause of the common cold is the invasion of one of the 200 cold-causing viruses into the cells of your nose and throat. These tiny viruses are practical indestructible. Antibiotic drugs that destroy bacteria have no change with viruses. Medicines strong enough to kill most cold-causing microbes would probably kill you also in the process, says Dr.McAllister.
The flu, which is also caused by a virus, affects 5 to 20% of the people in the United Sates, of which 36,000 die each year. Fortunately, there is a flu shot that, according to studies, is effective in 70 to 90% of healthy people under age 65, as long as the match between the vaccine and circulating virus is close.
According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta), among people over age 65, who are living outside of nursing homes, the flu shot is 30 to 70% effective in preventing hospitalization for the flu, and also for pneumonia. And for people over age 65 who are living in nursing homes, the flu shot is 50 to 60% effective in preventing hospitalization for the flu and pneumonia, and 80% effective in preventing death from the flu.
One of the best strategies you can do is to eat all the best immune-boosting foods you can find, and there are plenty to choose from. According to research, some of the foods we daily eat contain powerful compounds that can help stop viruses from taking hold. Even when you’re already sick, choosing the right foods will ease the discomfort and possibly help you to get better sooner.
You only need a few viruses into your system to start colds and flu. Once they are inside, when your immune system don’t stop them early on, they multiply quickly to enormous numbers, and that’s when you start feeling sick.
One way to stop this invasion is to eat yogurt that contains Lactobacillus recuteri, which is only found in the US in a brand called Stonyfield Farm. Researchers in Sweden gave 262 people either a supplement containing this bacteria or a placebo. After taking the supplement or the placebo for 80 days, the researchers found that people who took the supplement were 2 ½ times less likely to have caught a cold than the ones that took the placebo.
The other, less surprising way to stop the microbial invasion is to eat more fruits and vegetables. These foods contain a variety of compounds called glutathione, that strengthen the immune system and stimulates it to release large numbers of macrophages, specialized cells that seize viruses and destroy them before they make you sick.
Avocados, watermelons, asparagus, winter squash and grapefruit are all rich in glutathione. Okra, oranges, tomatoes, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, cantaloupe, strawberries, and peaches are also good sources.
Another powerful compound in many fruits and vegetables is vitamin C. Doctors are debating for years and are still debating, whether vitamin C can help to prevent colds. When you’re already sick, however, taking extra vitamin C has been proven to relieve cold symptoms and help you get better sooner. Vitamin C appears to strengthen white blood cells, which are essential for fighting infections.
Researchers in Finland found that by taking 1,000 mg vitamin C per day can reduce cold symptoms and shorten the duration of illness by 23%.
To get enough of this important nutrient you have to eat a lot of oranges, broccoli and other foods rich in vitamin C. Drinking orange juice, which contains 61 mg in a 6-ounce serving, is probably your best choice, but cranberry and grapefruit also contain lots of vitamin C.
Benefits from Red Wine To put up an even stronger defense against the flu, consider filling your glass with red wine instead of juice. A study conducted in Rome found that resveratrol, the polyphenol found in red wine, actually stopped influenza cells from replicating. The best wine to pick for this is Pinot Noir from California, which has the most resveratrol, according to a research at the University of Mississippi.
It’s important to keep in mind, however, that alcohol can come with some unwanted effects. For example, drinking heavily can raise blood pressure and have other damaging effects on your health. So if you do drink, drink in moderation.
Healthy Bulbs Garlic has always been used for treating virtually every type of infection. There is also growing evidence that it can help protect against colds and flu. Garlic contains dozens of chemically active compounds. Two of them, allicin and alliin, have proved to kill germs directly. Garlic also seems to support the immune system, by releasing natural killer cells, which destroy even more germs.
However, to get the benefits from garlic you have to eat a lot of it, as much as a whole bulb a day to combat colds and flu, says Elson Haas, MD.director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin in San Rafael, California, and author of :”Staying Healthy with Nutrition.”
Unless you have developed a taste for it, you probably can’t eat that much garlic. Microwaving or baking garlic till it’s tender, however, will take away some of the burn and sweeten the taste, says Irwin Ziment, MD, professor emeritus at the University of California, Los Angeles. “The softened garlic seems to be still quite potent ,” he added.
Hot drinks can help According to research, two traditional treatments for cold and flu – a cup of hot tea and a steaming bowl of chicken soup – are two of the most potent home remedies. Both of these, besides chile peppers and other spicy foods, contain compounds that can relieve congestion and keeps the immune system strong.
Tea, for example, contains a compound called theophylline, which help break up congestion. Tea also contains quercetin, a compound that may help viruses from multiplying.Instead of black tea, though you may want to sip chamomile. Researchers in London (where else?!) found that people who drank 5 cups of chamomile tea a day for 2 weeks, had increased blood levels of polyphenols. These plant based chemicals have been associated with antibacterial activity.
Chicken soup is another folk remedy that has been proven to be effective. In fact, having a bowl of chicken soup is one of the best ways to relieve stuffiness and other cold and flu symptoms. In laboratory studies, researchers at the University of Nebraska, found that chicken soup was able to prevent white blood cells from causing inflammation and congestion in the airways.
You may also like to try a hot pepper. Jalapenos, ground red pepper (cayenne), and their fiery kin contain a compound called capsaicin, which is similar to a drug used in medications against cold and flu, will help you to breath easy again. Capsaicin also can stop sickness before it starts. You can get plenty of capsaicin from hot peppers and they don’t need to be fresh to get the benefits. Mixing 1/4 teaspoon of ground red pepper in a glass of water and drinking it can be very effective, “it’s heating but not irritating”, says Dr Haas.
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