You may get cold and cough about 2 to 3 times a year as it is a common illness. During this time, you may not feel like eating or drinking much, but it is extremely important to provide the required nutrition to your body to recuperate quickly. You will find a list of food recommendations here for a diet for cold and cough.
Food items to eat during cold and cough
Soups are easy to digest and contain enough nutrition to suffice your appetite. Vegetarians can go for vegetable or sweet corn soup, and non-vegetarians can benefit from drinking chicken soup. The warm liquid soothes a sore throat and helps in loosening mucus.
Although it is better to have freshly prepared soup from raw vegetables, you can still benefit from a warm instant soup.
By replacing your snacks with a hot cup of tea (preferably without milk and sugar), you can feel the soreness of your throat reduce as the mucus and viruses wash off. In addition, the warmth will help clear out your congested nasal passage.
The best tea during cold and cough will likely be the one with ginger and honey due to their anti-inflammatory properties. As per Ayurveda, both the ingredients are extremely beneficial during cold and cough.
3. Porridge, khichadi, or simply dal and steamed rice
When you are sick, your digestive system benefits from consuming light meals, such as porridge. They are easy to cook, and you can add some vegetables to such meals for added nutrition and taste. Avoid having sweet porridge with sugar and milk.
Vegetables are an extremely good source of nutrition, especially green leafy ones. You can simply have sautéed vegetables (with much less butter or ghee than the original recipe) or have the regular vegetable prepared at home. Your body will be able to digest cooked vegetables more easily as compared to raw salads.
You can have fruits such as apples, pomegranates, papaya, apricots, and litchi. Apples are available throughout the year; so, if you can’t find anything else, you can eat them. Some people lose their appetite during an illness, they can eat fruits to supplement the lack of nutrition during the day.
6. Dry fruits, nuts, and seeds
Many people consider these small nuts, seeds, and dried fruits as superfoods as they contain disproportionate amounts of nutrients to their size. There is no exception here, you can have anything from almonds, flax seeds, walnuts, to raisins.
Food items to avoid during cold and cough
1. Caffeinated beverage, alcohol, and cocktails
All these beverages are known to dehydrate the body. Since a significant chunk of your body’s water reserve is being used to make mucus, you are recommended to drink plenty of fluids and stay properly hydrated; drinking the aforementioned beverages is counterproductive.
2. Sweets and candies
Sugar-rich foods should be avoided during cough and cold as they are known to cause inflammation. During common cold, your respiratory tract is already inflamed; consuming sweets can add burden to your respiratory tract and increase the severity of your symptoms.
3. Hard to digest food or heavy meals
As your body is focusing on fighting the infection (likely the cause of your cold and cough), it may find food such as butter chicken, shahee paneer, and fried fritters, difficult to digest. This may drain even more energy from you, leaving you feeling tired and irritable.
4. Dairy products
You may have heard that consuming milk, cheese, paneer, curd, or ice cream, during cough and cold can end up aggravating the symptoms. Although it does not have solid research for backup, you should avoid these food items according to Ayurveda as well. If you are sceptical, like most, you can try having it for 1 to 2 meals and see if it impacts your health adversely to make your decision. You’ll likely know in a few hours of consuming these products whether you should eat them again or not.
5. Certain fruits
Fruits that are citrus in nature should be avoided when you have cough and cold, as people often complain about their coughs getting worse after eating them. Although vitamin C (all citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C) is good for your immunity, it works best as a precautionary measure in the case of cough and cold. Citrus fruits are acidic in nature, and they may cause acid reflux, inflaming your oesophagus and resulting in increased coughs. Citrus fruits are also debated food items; you can use the trial-and-error method for these as well to see if they fall under the category of ‘foods to avoid during cold and cough’ for you.
Diet tips to follow in cold and cough
1. You may not feel like eating much, but you should avoid skipping meals. Your body will benefit from a nutrition boost after a meal and recover fast.
2. Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
3. Do not over-eat or consume hard-to-digest foot items as it will make you feel drained of energy later.
What do we eat in cold and cough?
You can eat the following food items during cold and cough:
a. Fruits like apples and papaya
d. Cooked vegetables
f. Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, raisins, etc.
Is eating raw vegetables good in cold and cough?
It is best to eat cooked vegetables as they are easier for your body to digest. This does not mean you cannot eat raw vegetables; you can munch on a salad for lunch, but you might end up feeling more irritable and tired than you would feel if you had eaten properly cooked simple meals.
What is a perfect diet for cold and cough?
A perfect diet includes properly cooked food, including vegetables, pulses, and grains, that is easy to digest. You can also have tea during the day to ease your sore throat and reduce coughs. Additionally, fruits, nuts, seeds, and dry fruits can be a great source of nutrition as snacks.
What food to avoid during cold and cough?
You should avoid the following food items:
a. Alcohol or beverages with caffeine and/or alcohol to avoid dehydration
b. Hard-to-digest food items such as deep-fried fritters to avoid straining your body to spend additional energy for digestion
c. Sugar-rich food to avoid additional inflammation
Can proper foods for cold and cough help me recover fast?
Eating nutrition-rich food that is easy to digest can provide you with the required energy and nutrition to recover fast. Thus, yes, paying more attention to your diet during cold and cough will help you get well soon.