Food Remedy Series: The Best Foods To Eat When You Have A Cold

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Man with sinus infection sneezing in bed sneezing.

It’s important to eat the right kind of foods when you have a cold.

There is no doubt that cold weather mirrors bad head colds and the flu. If you are coming down with a cold, there are foods that you can eat to help your body resist getting worse.

Vitamin C

The most obvious foods to eat when you have a bad cold are foods rich in vitamin C. The best sources for vitamin C are the foods that are loaded with C and beta-carotene:

  1. Sweet red pepper   95 mg
  2. Papaya   94 mg
  3. Kiwi   89 mg
  4. Naval orange   80 mg
  5. Cantaloupe   56 mg
  6. Strawberries   42 mg
  7. Broccoli   37 mg
  8. Brussel sprouts   36 mg
  9. Sweet potato   28 mg
  10. Butternut squash   15 mg

    A strawberry

    Eat foods rich in vitamin C when you have a cold.

It’s typically best to eat these foods as raw as possible, but some foods are actually more effective when cooked, like tomatoes. Studies have shown that cooked tomatoes are more helpful than raw tomatoes.

When you have a cold, try to eat about 5 helpings a day of these foods rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. I also recommend doubling your supplement intake when sick – make sure to take a multivitamin every day, increase your vitamin C supplement, and I, personally, use a homeopathic cold and flu remedy from Sweden called Alpha CF.  I start taking Alpha Cs at the first sign of a cold, and I continue taking it until the symptoms are gone.


Most all mushrooms are rich in a type of polysaccharide called beta glucan, which activates your immune system and helps prevent infections.

4 cut cr4 crimini mushrooms on a table

Crimini mushrooms are healthy to eat when sick.

Beta glucan regulates white blood cells and keeps them prepared to attack virus invaders. Mushrooms are rich in vitamins, polyphenols, sterols and zinc, which all keep your immune system healthy and strong so you can fight off a bad head cold.


Garlic is a natural antibiotic, and it’s antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-oxidant qualities help fight infection, and this helps you resist getting sick. Garlic contains sulfur-based organic compounds, which give garlic its odor and help boost your immune system.

This is very important when fighting a bad cold.

So, how does mushroom soup with lots of garlic sound when you have a bad head cold?

When You Have A Bad Cold

A glass of clear water with lemon slices.

Drink plenty of fluids when you have a bad cold.

When you come down with a bad head cold:

  1. start taking Alpha CF
  2. drink plenty of fluids
  3. get lots of rest
  4. double up on your vitamins
  5. snuff warm salt water up your nostrils and splash some into the tear ducts in your eyes (here is the link to my nasal flush recipe and instructions)
  6. eat plenty of foods rich in the nutrients that help your body fight a bad cold

More Healthy Foods For Colds

Here are more foods that are good to eat when you have a bad cold:

  1. berries
  2. eggs
  3. oatmeal (with berries)
  4. seafood
  5. turkey and chicken
  6. green and black tea
  7. spicy foods (for congestion)
  8. carrots
  9. turmeric
  10. chicken soup (of course)
  11. chocolate
  12. coconut water
a coconut with a straw on the top

Coconut water is good to drink when you have a cold.

And keep plenty of tissues around, too.



Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and is educational in nature. The FDA may not have evaluated some of the statements.  This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please discuss with your own, qualified health care provider before adding supplements or making any changes to your dietary program.

Before taking vitamins, consult your doctor; pre-existing medical conditions or medications you are taking can affect how your body responds to multivitamins.


About Janet Hull PhD, CN

Janet Starr Hull, PhD, CN has been working with clients in the holistic health field since 1995. Using natural medicine to cure herself from a diagnosis of Graves’ disease caused by aspartame, Dr. Hull began researching the toxic causes of disease. Today, she is one of the world’s leading experts in environmental toxicology and holistic health and nutrition. Dr. Hull is the first researcher to publicly expose the dangers of aspartame. Connect with Dr. Hull on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus.

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