Best Foods for Cough and Cold

Best Foods for Cough and Cold

We all know how troublesome a cough and cold can be. Constantly coughing and sneezing while you are in a meeting or a classroom can be very embarrassing. Well, these foods can efficiently help reduce cough and cold symptoms.

Before we look into the foods for cough and cold, let’s understand what is cough and cold.

The cough is our body's protective mechanism. It helps remove irritants and microbes from the airways and lungs. On the other hand, a cold is a viral infection caused by different viruses. It generally lasts for a few days and resolves on its own.   


Honey for Cough and Cold

Honey is recommended to ease the cough and sore throat. Whenever you have a cough, this remedy is something you can always rely on. It has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and immune-building properties.

According to a study, honey is a potent antibiotic. Also, taking honey with lemon is proven to be more effective in reducing bacterial growth than many commonly used antibiotics for respiratory infections.

Apart from the antibacterial effect of honey, studies have proven honey to be more effective in reducing cough than commonly used cough syrup ingredients, i.e., dextromethorphan. 

You can take 1 tablespoon of raw honey or mix it with warm water or lemon or ginger tea to ease the cough and cold symptoms.


Ginger for Cough and Cold

Ginger is known for its strong aroma. Most people add ginger to their tea due to its strong flavour and the effect it gives on the throat.

Ginger has medicinal values, including antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and bronchodilator effects. It helps to reduce the swelling in the throat and nose, thereby reducing the cough and cold symptoms.

Due to the anti-allergic properties of ginger, it can be helpful in the treatment and prevention of allergies. Ginger also helps reduce nausea (sensation of vomiting) which is common, especially when you have a cough.

You can grate fresh ginger or add a small piece to your regular tea or milk to ease the symptoms of a cold and cough. Adding it to your foods can also be beneficial.


Garlic for Cough and Cold

Garlic is not just a spice but a medicine for faster recovery when you are sick. It helps to ease cold, flu and cough symptoms. It has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immune-building properties.

You can eat raw garlic or add it to your foods. Adding garlic to soups, dal, and curries can help ease the symptoms of cough and cold and improve your immunity when consumed on regular basis.

Herbal tea:

Drinking hot herbal tea (Ginger, Tulsi, Mulethi, Black pepper, Lemon, Chamomile, etc.) can help soothe the sore throat. It helps to thin the mucus for easy removal. Most herbal teas are a rich source of antioxidants and possess antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Chamomile tea also helps to induce good sleep and reduce stress. 


Including probiotics in your diet may help to combat infections like the common cold and flu. The healthy bacteria in yogurt help reduce the duration of a cold and cough. Also, the creamy texture of yogurt can help soothe the throat.

Citrus fruits:

Citrus fruits are a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants. It also helps reduce inflammation and improve immunity to fight infections.

You can drink lemon water or tea to combat cough and cold symptoms. Adding honey to it can help provide better results. Eating oranges can also be beneficial.

Coconut water:

Coconut water for Cough and Cold

Dehydration is very common during a cough and cold. Drinking coconut water can be the best way to stay well hydrated. It contains water and nutrients required to fight infection.

Coconut water contains around 95% water. It also is rich in glucose and electrolytes. It helps in energizing our body during a cold or cough. Coconut water, being a rich source of antioxidants, can help improve immunity to fight against infections responsible for cough and cold.

Coconut water also contains vitamins like Riboflavin (vitamin B2), Niacin (Vitamin B3), Folic acid, Pantothenic acid, and Vitamin C. All these qualities of coconut water make it the best food for combating cough and cold.

Green leafy vegetables:

Green leafy vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, spinach, etc., possess anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

Adding spices like cayenne pepper can also be helpful as it contains capsaicin. Capsaicin helps reduce inflammation and ease the symptoms of cough and cold. 

Chicken soup:

Chicken soup is the best choice when you suffer from a cold or flu. It possesses anti-inflammatory properties, which help reduce inflammation and drains the mucus from the nose. 

Vegetarians can go for vegetable soup. Add black pepper, ginger and garlic to your soup for better and faster relief. 

Turmeric milk:

Turmeric milk is very popular in India. Most families drink turmeric milk every night in winter to prevent cough and cold. It is well known for its anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties.

The medicinal properties of turmeric are due to the presence of Curcumin, which also gives turmeric its colour.

You can add some pepper and ginger to your turmeric milk for fast relief. People who don’t like drinking milk can take a pinch of turmeric with honey.    


It might be surprising to hear, but pineapple can be the best food for your cough. It contains an enzyme called Bromelain, which shows anti-inflammatory and mucolytic (helps break the mucus) properties.

Pomegranate juice:  

Pomegranate is filled with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps fight viruses and bacteria and reduces the duration of a cold by almost 40%. Pomegranate being a rich source of antioxidants, can help boost immunity to fight infections like cough and cold.   

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