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Get Down with the Sickness

January 5, 2011

Cold and flu season is in full effect, and as some of you might be lying ill in your beds, we are reminded of the phrase “Feed a cold, starve a fever.”  Medical experts seem to agree that this advice is sound, though mildly so.  Feeding a cold helps keep your body’s nutrient levels up, which helps fight off a virus.  Starving a fever is a bit exaggerated, although many of us don’t feel like eating much anyway with a high temperature; loss of appetite is your body’s natural defense against fevers, as it helps the immune system focus its energy on fighting the illness.  But fluids will also help fight the fever, so try and drink as much as you can; but doctors do agree that if you’re hungry, you should eat.

But what foods are good to eat when you are ill?  The first thing that springs to mind is chicken soup.  Does this actually work?  Doctors say yes.  Chicken soup has cysteine, which is an amino acid released by cooked chicken; it reduces inflammation by working with the other ingredients in the soup. Mucus can be lessened by the salty broth.  What else is a good “cold” food?  Yogurt is great, as the bacterial agents (probiotics) help fight colds.  Hot tea is another great idea – it’s full of antioxidants and fights viruses.  If you squeeze a lot of lemon juice in your tea, that will increase your vitamin C, and adding dark honey gives you another boost of antioxidants.

One other potential remedy can be found by eating very spicy foods…I mean really spicy, not just the hot chicken wings down at the bar.  We’re talking food that makes you sweat when you smell it.  By eating food that makes you sweat, you’ll release the toxins plaguing your body and get rid of that illness quickly.  Obviously this method is not recommended for people with sensitive stomachs or people who can’t tolerate pain; but for those who can, it may work wonders.

Once you do get better, make sure you load up on fruits and vegetables to boost your immune system, so you don’t have a relapse.  Let us know if you have any sure-fire foods you like when you’re sick.  Have a healthy winter from the MHK!

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