“Let food be your medicine, and medicine your food.” – Hippocrates
The above age old advice from Hippocrates, the father of medicine, still holds true today. Contemporary nutritional therapists believe that most states of ill-health, barring accidents and trauma, can be treated effectively with diet.
In the case of the common cold they suggest a diet that decrease the overall toxic overload, and support your overburdened and exhausted immune system.
At the first sign of a common cold decrease your food intake or eliminate it entirely for the first 24 hours. Your appetite will be your guide here. If you are hungry eat sparingly and try to maintain a diet of lighter rather than heavy food.
Fruits, vegetables and salads are alkaline which act to neutralize the acidic internal environment in which bacteria and viruses love to play. Soups are easier on your digestion and enhance both the elimination of waste and the assimilation of nutrients. Take lots of fluids, especially herbal teas.
Include the following in your diet:
- Vegetables broths that contain root vegetables, cabbage and leafy greens.
- Soupy grains, such as boiled brown rice, with finely chopped vegetables, such as carrots, onions, celery and a small amount of freshly grated ginger.
- Steamed or boiled leafy greens such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and watercress.
- Cooked fruit (compote or baked apple).
- Small amounts of citrus fruit for vitamin C but preferably herbal teas which are high in vitamin C such as hibiscus, rose hips and parsley.
- Add lots of parsley and nasturtium to your meals.
Avoid the following:
- Foods containing sugar, artificial ingredients and refined flours.
- Mucous forming foods such as dairy products, meat, eggs and Soya.
- Cold foods and drinks.
- Foods rich in fat, especially animal fats.
- Fried foods.
- Highly acidic foods, such as spices, tomatoes and eggplant.
- Coffee and alcohol.
- Cigarettes and tobacco products.
Try a Cleansing Diet or Detox Diet
When treating acute illnesses herbalists will often recommend a cleansing diet or detox diet. This often entails taking freshly pressed fruit and vegetable juices or vegetable broths (soups.)
Years ago I came across a recipe of Vicki Pitman (author of Herbal Medicine) which she called “Potassium broth”. It is wreaks havoc on colds, infectious and feverish illnesses.
(Original recipe by Vicki Pitman)
To 2 pt (about 1 liter) of water add unpeeled, and preferably organic, vegetables: 2 potatoes, 2 carrots, 2 stalks celery, 1 onion and a handful of fresh parsley.
Cover, bring to the boil and simmer until gently cooked. Season with 1 teaspoons each of fresh herbs such as fresh or dried ginger, fennel, cayenne or black pepper, and cumin and 3-4 cloves of garlic to taste. Strain the vegetables and serve.
For a thicker soup add 1 cup of oats, brown rice or millet that has been soaked overnight then cooked. Puree the whole before serving.
Try ‘Jewish Penicillin’? It Can’t Hurt
According to Earl Mindell the great physician and philosopher Maimonides (12th century) prescribed herbal baths and chicken soup as remedies for the common cold.
More than eight hundred years later, the New England Journal of Medicine confirmed that Maimonides was right.
Researchers found that chicken soup was a mild antibiotic and decongestant.
Chinese healers also use chicken soup to treat colds, but they add a little ginseng to their brew.
Try this Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup.