Having a common cold can be an uncomfortable experience, with symptoms like a runny nose, sore throat, coughing, and fatigue. While there is no cure for the common cold, certain foods can help alleviate symptoms by boosting the immune system and reducing inflammation. On the other hand, certain foods may exacerbate your symptoms or hinder your recovery.

In this blog post, we will explore the foods you should eat and avoid when you have a common cold, to help reduce the severity of the dreadful symptoms during your next bout of the common cold.

Eating Right to Fight the Cold

When you have a common cold, it is crucial to consume a balanced diet that provides your body with the necessary nutrients to boost your immune system. Here are some cold-fighting foods that can help you feel better:

Warm Broth and Soups

Studies show that warm liquids can help soothe a sore throat, clear nasal passages and congestion better than other liquids. Opt for chicken soup or vegetable broth, which contains essential vitamins and minerals to support your immune system and help ease symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are rich in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that can strengthen your immune system. Enjoy a glass of fresh orange juice or include red bell peppers, papaya, sweet potatoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, and tomatoes in your meals to reap the benefits.


Ginger is one of the finest foods for a cold because of sesquiterpenes, a chemical that especially targets rhinoviruses, the most prevalent family of cold viruses, as well as chemicals that reduce coughing. It also has anti-inflammatory gingerols, which can help relieve congestion and sore throat. Prepare ginger tea by steeping freshly grated ginger in hot water and adding honey when you’re nursing a cold.


While it won’t help you kick your cold, garlic can clear out your nasal passages, and that can make you feel better. Studies show that garlic contains allicin, which is associated with antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-parasitic, and antioxidant properties that can assist in fighting off that nagging cold.  

Leafy Greens and Vegetables

Leafy greens—including kale, spinach, and chard—spinach, kale, and broccoli, along with other colourful vegetables, are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These nutrients can significantly reduce the frequency and severity of lower and upper respiratory infections. Add them to soups, salads, or stir-fries for a nutrient boost.


Honey is one of the best foods for a cold and sore throat. Its natural antioxidant and antimicrobial properties have disease-busting benefits that help to protect you from a plethora of viruses and bacteria. Add a spoonful of honey to warm herbal tea or incorporate it into a warm lemon water mixture for relief.

Foods to Avoid

While it’s important to focus on consuming nutritious foods, there are some foods that should not be on the menu when you are feeling under the weather. These include:

Sugary and Processed Foods

Sugary and processed foods can weaken your immune system and promote inflammation, making it harder for your body to fight off the cold virus. Play it safe and wait to eat sugary snacks, sodas, processed snacks, and desserts until you have totally recovered.

Dairy Products

Scientists think that dairy products can stimulate the production of mucus and make congestion worse for some individuals. Consider avoiding or reducing the intake of milk, cheese, and ice cream until you recover.

Caffeinated and Alcoholic Beverages

 There is evidence that caffeinated and alcoholic beverages can dehydrate your body, which is counterproductive when you’re trying to recover from a cold. Stay hydrated by sipping a mug of green tea instead.

Spicy and Acidic Foods

When you’re fighting off a cold, avoiding spicy foods and acidic foods might be the best move as these can irritate the nasal passage, causing a greater production of mucus to come out. Temporarily turn down the consumption of these foods until your sinuses are clear and you feel congestion-free.

The bottom line

While there is no magic food to cure the common cold, maintaining a healthy diet can support your immune system and alleviate symptoms. It’s important to note that while certain foods can help alleviate cold symptoms, they should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment, and it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional if your symptoms persist or worsen.

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