How To Boost Your Immunity Against Common Cold With Food

Reviewed by: | Author: Manoja Kalakanti

Seasonal changes are the perfect potion for viruses to strengthen their attacking arsenal, infecting millions to spread diseases, from simple flu to corona. How your body reacts to viral attacks will determine the strength and virality of your immune system. Viruses, bacteria, and other microbial organisms have a tendency to immobilize the immune cells in the human body, making it vulnerable to external threats of illnesses. However, these cells can be boosted and infused with enough power to override the infestation of deadly microbes and safeguard the body against every disease under the roof.

Food being the ultimate fuel source should be carefully handpicked, especially during times when these microbes are at their worst best, to lend a helping hand to your body’s immune system. Now, basic colds and coughs are easy to diagnose and treat, with some basic pharmaceuticals. But some life-threatening diseases need more than a few pills to pop. So supportive nourishment does the heavy lifting instead. On the other hand, cold and cough might be a deceptive symptom that hides a more severe ailment underneath. Therefore, besides opting for the right food to increase immunity against cold and cough, a routine medical checkup is always advised.  

The Role of Food in Boosting Immunity Against Cold and Cough 

Food and diseases share an unbreakable bond, where the former is both the savior and the creator of the latter. Sometimes, the food you eat can be directly responsible for affecting your health negatively. For example, too much indulgence in ice creams and cold drinks can lead to a common cold and cough. Likewise, immune-boosting foods like ginger, tulsi, and honey mixed with a cup of steaming tea can provide instant relief from a sore throat. 

Understanding Cold and Cough – A Brief Overview 

As the name suggests, the common cold and cough are often considered a seasonal disease. But, like everything else on the planet, diseases have also evolved, disrupting the known patterns and appearing beyond their stipulated time. Food can also impact immunity against colds and coughs alongside unhealthy lifestyle choices. 

The common cold is an upper respiratory infection affecting the nose, throat, sinuses, and windpipe. Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has taught the world that the same virus can induce the common cold in patients. The once deadly virus has shrunk in itself, reproducing lesser fatal strains that can impact a healthy host by bringing mere cold, cough, and fever-like symptoms. However, a few mutated deadly strains remain that continue the battle of infecting and costing human lives by billions. A showed that countries like India are recording 121 new coronavirus infections in a day. Active cases stand at 633, with a total of 5,33,305 recorded deaths so far. The pandemic has long abated, but its residue remains alongside over 200 other different types of viruses capable of inducing cold. Rhinovirus is one of the most common cold viruses. The symptoms may vary depending on the strength of the virus strain and your immune system. The standard cold incubation period is between 12 hours and three days post-exposure. 

How Des Food Boost Immunity Against Cold 

Healthy eating can be the essential immune-boosting key to safeguarding human health against deadly viruses, including the contagious common cold. Essential nutrients imbibed in the food that you put in your body can retain its peak condition to ward off encroaching germs effectively. Their role is preventive, quite akin to the common statement: don’t catch a cold! 

Hence, planning your daily meal is pivotal from the nutrient-supplement standpoint. Here’s a list of the essential nutrients to add in your food to boost your immune system against colds and coughs: 

  • Vitamin A 
  • Vitamin B group 
  • Vitamin C 
  • Vitamin D 
  • Vitamin E 
  • Zinc 
  • Selenium 

As a small precautionary measure, ensure your daily meal comprises all of the above vitamins and minerals in required quantity to keep your body immune strong, and ready. 

The Benefits of Immune-Boosting Foods 

Food to increase immunity against colds and coughs and every other illness comprises nutrients and compounds known to support and strengthen the body’s immune system. Incorporating a variety of immune-boosting foods into your daily meals and snacks can help support your body’s natural defenses and promote optimal health and wellness. However, no single food or nutrient is a magic bullet for immune health. A balanced diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and stress management are all crucial components of a healthy lifestyle that supports a robust immune system. 

That said, here are several benefits associated with incorporating immune-boosting foods into your diet: 

1. Enhanced Immune Function  

Immune-boosting foods provide essential nutrients such as vitamins (like vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin E), minerals (such as zinc and selenium), and antioxidants that support the functioning of the immune system. These nutrients help in the production and activation of immune cells, improving the body’s ability to fight off infections. 

2. Reduced Risk of Infections 

Regular consumption of immune-boosting foods can help reduce the risk of infections, including common colds, flu, and other respiratory illnesses. A well-functioning immune system is better equipped to identify and neutralize pathogens before they cause illness. 

3. Faster Recovery  

If you do get sick, having a strong immune system can help you recover more quickly. Nutrient-rich foods support the body’s natural healing processes, allowing it to combat infections more effectively and shorten the duration of illness. 

4. Lower Inflammation 

Many immune-boosting foods also have anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation can weaken the immune system and contribute to various health problems, including autoimmune diseases and cardiovascular disease. By consuming foods that help reduce inflammation, you can support overall immune function. 

5. Improved Gut Health  

A significant portion of the body’s immune system is located in the gut. Probiotic-rich foods, such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods, promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. These bacteria play a crucial role in regulating immune function and protecting against harmful pathogens. 

6. Better Overall Health 

In addition to supporting the immune system, many immune-boosting foods offer numerous other health benefits. For example, fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals that support overall health and well-being. By including these foods in your diet, you can improve your overall health while also boosting your immune system. 

7. Long-term Protection 

Consistently consuming immune-boosting foods as part of a balanced diet can provide long-term protection against infections and chronic diseases. Building a strong immune system through nutrition is a proactive approach to maintaining health and reducing the risk of illness over time. 

How do Exercises Complement Food in Boosting Immunity 

Exercise and nutrition work together synergistically to support immune function and overall health. Immune-boosting exercises and a balanced diet can maintain a robust immune system and reduce the risk of illness and infection.  

The following is a list of examples demonstrating how the two elements work: 

1. Improved Circulation 

Exercise increases blood flow throughout the body, including to the immune system organs such as the spleen and lymph nodes. The enhanced circulation allows immune cells and nutrients from food to reach their destinations more efficiently, supporting immune function. 

2. Stress Reduction 

Regular physical activity helps to reduce stress levels by promoting the release of endorphins, neurotransmitters that act as natural mood lifters. Chronic stress can weaken the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections. By managing stress through exercise, the body is better equipped to mount an effective immune response. 

3. Enhanced Nutrient Absorption 

Exercise can improve nutrient absorption and utilization by enhancing digestive processes. When combined with a healthy diet rich in immune-boosting foods, exercise ensures that the body receives the necessary vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants needed to support immune function. 

4. Regulation of Inflammation 

Moderate exercise has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, helping to reduce chronic inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is linked to a variety of health conditions, including weakened immunity. By decreasing inflammation, exercise complements the anti-inflammatory properties of certain foods, further supporting immune health. 

5. Weight Management 

Regular physical activity contributes to weight management and healthy body composition. Obesity is associated with chronic inflammation and impaired immune function. By maintaining a healthy weight through exercise and balanced nutrition, individuals can reduce their risk of obesity-related immune dysfunction. 

6. Strengthening of Immune Cells 

Exercise can stimulate the production and circulation of immune cells, such as white blood cells and natural killer cells, which play a crucial role in defending the body against pathogens. These immune cells work in concert with the nutrients from food to mount an effective immune response when needed. 

7. Improved Sleep Quality 

Engaging in regular exercise has been linked to improved sleep quality and duration. Quality sleep is essential for immune function, as it allows the body to repair and regenerate cells, including immune cells. When combined with a nutritious diet, exercise promotes optimal sleep, further enhancing immune health. 

An Overall Health Benefits 

Exercise offers numerous additional health benefits beyond immune support, including improved cardiovascular health, enhanced mood, and increased energy levels. By promoting overall health and well-being, exercise complements the immune-boosting effects of nutritious foods, creating a strong foundation for optimal immune function. 

How to Boost Immunity Beside Food and Exercises 

A healthy lifestyle is primarily the simplest way to keep illness at bay. But, given the changing conditions, environmental, development, or otherwise, a healthy life has become just a myth. However, a slight moderation in the same routine might bring some respite. Besides healthy eating and fitness exercises, there are natural ways to boost immunity, a few of which are mentioned below: 

1. Eat Well; Sleep Well 

A balanced diet entails prioritizing fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and low-fat dairy while minimizing intake of saturated fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars. This approach supplies essential nutrients crucial for optimal immune function. Additionally, sleep deprivation can adversely impact various aspects of the immune system, potentially contributing to the onset of diverse health conditions. 

2. Stay Active Physically 

A regular physical activity offers numerous benefits, including improved mood, better sleep quality, and reduced anxiety levels. When paired with a nutritious diet, it can also contribute to maintaining a healthy weight. Adhering to recommended physical activity guidelines tailored to your age group yields both immediate and long-term advantages.  

3. Retain a Healthy Weight 

Carrying excess weight can disrupt the normal functioning of your body. Obesity, characterized by a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher in adults, has been associated with compromised immune functions. It can reduce the effectiveness of vaccines against various diseases such as influenza, hepatitis B, and tetanus. To maintain a healthy weight safely, it’s important to adopt certain lifestyle practices. These include managing stress levels, consuming nutritious foods, ensuring an adequate amount of sleep, and participating in regular physical activity. 

4. Avoid Alcohol 

There’s nothing wrong with a bit of booze. Disregarding popular beliefs that alcohol like wine and light beer are good for health, prolonged exposure to the fermented liquid can increase your health risks. Cirrhosis, or severe liver scarring, is one such example. Alcohol can impact and weaken your immune system. 

5. Quit Smoking 

Any form of tobacco containing nicotine is deadly for your health. Statistics say that more than 8 million people are killed by tobacco every year. Therefore, no prior disclosure or post-consumption warning is needed. It would help if you quit smoking to keep your immunity and health intact. 

How to Boost Your Child’s Immunity  

Immune-boosting foods are a naturally-inducing agent for a child besides a mother’s milk. In order to keep your child’s overall health and well-being, a few essential points are worth considering: 

1. Encourage a Balanced Diet 

Provide a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats in your child’s diet. These foods are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support immune function. 

2. Ensure Sufficient Sleep 

Adequate sleep is vital for a strong immune system. Establish a consistent bedtime routine and ensure your child gets the recommended amount of sleep for their age. 

3. Promote Regular Exercise 

Encourage physical activity and outdoor play to strengthen your child’s immune system. Exercise helps stimulate circulation and immune cell production. 

4. Practice Good Hygiene 

Teach your child proper handwashing techniques and encourage them to wash their hands regularly, especially before meals and after using the restroom. Also, teach them to cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing to prevent the spread of germs. 

5. Limit Exposure to Germs 

While exposure to some germs is inevitable and can help strengthen the immune system, it’s essential to minimize exposure to sick individuals and practice good hygiene habits to reduce the risk of infections. 

6. Ensure Immunizations are Up to Date 

Follow the recommended immunization schedule to protect your child from vaccine-preventable diseases and boost their immunity against potentially harmful pathogens. 

7. Reduce Stress 

Chronic stress can weaken the immune system. Create a supportive and nurturing environment for your child and help them develop healthy coping mechanisms to manage stress. 

8. Encourage Positive Relationships 

Foster social connections and encourage positive relationships with family and friends. Emotional well-being plays a significant role in immune function. 

9. Limit Sugar and Processed Foods 

High sugar intake and processed foods can negatively impact immune function. Limit these foods in your child’s diet and opt for healthier alternatives whenever possible. 

10.Consider Probiotics 

Probiotic-rich foods like yogurt or kefir can help support gut health and strengthen the immune system. Discuss with your pediatrician whether probiotic supplements may be beneficial for your child. 

Essential Food to Boost Immunity Against Common Cold 

Boosting your immunity against the common cold involves incorporating foods rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients that support immune function.  

Here are some essential foods to include in your diet to help ward off the common cold: 

  1. Citrus Fruits 
  2. Berries 
  3. Garlic 
  4. Ginger 
  5. Turmeric 
  6. Yogurt 
  7. Green Leafy Vegetables 
  8. Nuts and Seeds 
  9. Lean Proteins 
  10. Mushrooms 

The Final Takeaway 

As the cold abates, the chilly wintry winds gradually recede into the distant north, allowing the warm winds from the south to take over. The intermediate period, also known as Spring, is the most pleasant season of all. But aside from the pleasantries of the Spring, the season is often deemed as the harbinger of illnesses. Common colds and coughs, chicken pox, and others are some of the common ailments people suffer from the sudden change in temperature patterns. Therefore, staying healthy and immune should be the topmost priority, especially for growing children. This blog shows you the various ways to do so, also providing a list of foods to increase immunity against colds and cough. Add the items to your shopping cart and stay protected during the changing times. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I boost my immune system against a cold and cough? 

Five ways to boost your immune system against a cold and cough: 

Healthy eating 
Stay hydrated 
Get a flu vaccination 
Wash your hands 
Spend time outdoors

What foods boost immunity to colds?

Five foods to boost immunity against colds include: 
Fish and fish oil 
Leafy greens 
Nuts and seeds 
Brightly colored fruits and vegetables 

How does the common cold spread?

The common cold spreads when sick individuals cough or sneeze, releasing airborne droplets containing the virus inhaled by others.

What is the best way to prevent catching a cold? 

The best way to prevent catching a cold is to disinfect your hands with warm water and soap and observe social distancing from infected persons.

Which fruit protects from cold and cough? 

Fruits like bananas can be quite effective in addressing coughs and colds to a significant degree. They can significantly reduce the deterioration of symptoms while keeping your immune boosted.

What Indian food is good for colds and coughs? 

A few Indian foods are deemed the best recipe to fight cold and cough, such as: 
Warm Honey Lemon Water 
Ginger Turmeric Tea 
Garlic Chicken Soup 
Turmeric Golden Milk 
Tulsi Ginger Tea 

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