What Should You Feed A Cold?
The sneezing. The coughing. The lethargy. It's enough to make a cold sufferer's appetite disappear completely. Studies show that certain foods can help alleviate the symptoms of a common cold-and sometimes shorten its duration. One expert, Sharon Horesh Bergquist, assistant professor at Emory School of Medicine and a primary-care physician with a specialty in internal medicine at Emory Healthcare, offers her take on what to eat and what to avoid.
打喷嚏，咳嗽，无精打采，这些足以让一位感冒患者胃口全无。研究显示，某些食品可以帮助缓解普通感冒症状，有时还可以缩短病程。埃默里大学医学院(Emory School of Medicine)助理教授、埃默里医疗集团(Emory Healthcare)内科初级治疗医师伯奎斯特(Sharon Horesh Bergquist)是这方面的专家。她提供了有关感冒饮食和禁忌的建议。
The most common misconception about a cold, says Dr. Bergquist, is that dairy should be avoided because it increases mucus production. The belief likely hails, she says, from the fact that when saliva comes into contact with any high-fat drink, it can mimic mucus.
Australian scientists debunked that assumption in a series of 1990s studies where they gave hundreds of common-cold patients either cow's milk or soy milk, and found no difference in mucus production between the two groups.
A body needs hydration when it is sick, says Dr. Bergquist. 'So if your beverage of choice is a latté, that counts as hydration.'
Cocktail as Cure?
Just make sure the latté is decaf, since any diuretic, such as caffeine, can promote dehydration, which usually worsens a cold. 'When you're hydrated, your mucus membranes are lubricated, which will help you feel better,' says Dr. Bergquist.
She puts alcohol, also a diuretic, in a 'mixed' category. 'Mild inebriation can cause pain relief...hence the hot toddy and brandy cure,' she says. But while liquor may temporarily relieve symptoms, it, too, can cause dehydration.
Chicken soup may have benefits even beyond the hot liquid and vapors that open sinuses and lubricate mucus membranes. Studies suggest that the chicken and vegetables themselves inhibit the mobilization of neutrophils, immune cells that are the main culprit in causing inflammatory symptoms like stuffy nose and aching bones, says Dr. Bergquist.
Spices, especially pungent ones like hot peppers, can also help open sinus passages and provide short-term relief. But no one spice has been scientifically proven better than any other, says Dr. Bergquist.
Go Steady on the C
According to the most recent review of studies on vitamin C and colds, Dr. Bergquist says, scientists find that people who regularly take 200 milligrams a day of the vitamin can decrease the severity and duration of a cold by continuing to take that high dose. (Starting vitamin C after the cold's onset doesn't provide the same benefit.) To maintain a steady level in your system, she says, 'it's reasonable to drink a glass of orange juice every day during cold season.'
Zinc is a bit more controversial, 'largely because the studies are not high quality,' she says. A recent meta-review of research showed that taking zinc within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms can reduce the duration-but not the severity-of a cold by one day.
'However, the dose that is the most studied is 75 mg or greater, and you'd have to take that daily throughout the duration of the cold, which is very hard to get through food,' says Dr. Bergquist. You'd need to eat 12 oysters, 2 racks of ribs, 10 cups of cashews or 12 cups of chocolate, she says.
A zinc lozenge is the way to go, but only for short spans; studies show that long-term zinc megadoses can cause copper deficiency.