Nutrition and hydration: What to eat when it is cold?

The recent cold snap looks set to continue for most of February and the chances are, some of us will suffer from the sniffles, a cold or worse still, the flu.  The old adage is that you should “starve a fever and feed a cold” or, “starve a cold and feed a fever”?  Actually, it’s neither. The reality is that it is not how much you eat, but rather what you eat that can help you through headaches, pains and the Winter blues in general..

For many people, eating proven cold-busters as well as foods that dial down inflammation can make you feel better.  So what can you eat that will help?  Here are a few Healthy Performance suggestions to help you stay healthy whilst the mercury plummets …

Breakfast: Mushroom omelette with salsa (2 eggs, 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms, side of salsa)

Eggs are rich in zinc, an immune system booster that can zap cold symptoms. Zinc keeps the immune system strong, helps heal wounds, and supports normal growth.  Research shows that zinc taken within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms can shorten the duration of colds. Mushrooms are immune powerhouses – they contain some of the most powerful natural medicines on the planet, especially for boosting your immunity during cold and flu seasons.  Finally, some spicy salsa can help break up congestion and flush out the sinuses.

Snack: Yogurt (1 small pot)

Probiotics, which you’ll find in yogurt, are a cold sufferer’s best friend because they reduce the body’s inflammatory response. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that the beneficial bacteria shortened the duration of a cold by two days and made symptoms 34 percent less severe.  You could opt for plain yoghurt and add a teaspoon of honey – research has indicated that honey appeared to be as effective as any common cough suppressant.

Drink: Decaf green or black tea

The value of tea may be due, in part, to its antioxidants including the immune-boosting antioxidant L-theanine. Like fruit and vegetables, tea is rich in antioxidants. (In tea these are known as flavonoids). Antioxidants in the diet may help the body in its management of free radicals – highly reactive substances capable of causing damage to body cells. 

If that’s not enough to convince you that tea is worth trying, take a look at some of these fast facts. Green and black teas offer the same health benefits. Many people don’t realize that black and green tea contain virtually the same amount of antioxidants. In fact, whether hot or cold, bottled or using a bag, tea is probably the healthiest drink around.

Lunch: Red pepper slices and broccoli with hummus

Vitamin C is not only important for immune health; studies show it can clear up your cold faster. Strawberries, broccoli, bell peppers and citrus are especially rich in Vitamin C. Eatng the vegetables with hummus gives you protein which is a vitsal immune-boosting nutrient needed to make disease-fighting antibodies.

Snack: Sweet potato ( 1/2 baked sweet potato topped with a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt)

Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin A, an immune-boosting nutrient that helps the body produce white blood cells which will fight viruses.

Dinner: Chicken soup

Researchers say that chicken soup acts as an anti-inflammatory and temporarily speeds up the movement of mucus through the nose. This relieves congestion and limits the amount of time viruses are in contact with the lining of your nose. Plus, soup and other liquids help loosen congestion and prevent dehydration.

At Healthy Performance, we offer 1-2-1 health consultations for employees – these appointments are an ideal opportunity for staff to get an overview of their nutritional and lifestyle habits, set goals and discuss barriers and impacts that may impact their goals. The sessions are always taken by one of our qualified experts who will give actionable advice on nutrition, weight, fitness and so on.  To get more details of our 1-2-1 health consultations, please call the HP Team on 0844 4325 849 (HEALTHY) for more details.