Food & Nutrition

13 Foods Doctors Eat When They Have a Cold


Ginger root and ginger powdertriocean/Shutterstock

If the dreaded stomach flu is going around, stock up on this relieving root. It’s known for its anti-nausea properties. It also contains compounds known as gingerols that have an anti-inflammatory effect, which makes it an ideal addition to a cup of tea for soothing a sore throat. Dr. Harry likes to take hers with ginger, pomegranate, and lemon.


Top view of fresh mushroom (shiitake) on rustic backgroundDokmaihaeng/Shutterstock

These fungi are one of the few edible sources of vitamin D, which we normally get from the sun. Shorter daylight hours during the fall and winter months can mean we’re not getting enough of that nutrient, which can open the door to lowered immunity.

Shiitake mushrooms, in particular, may help in this regard, says Gerard Mullin, MD, associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and author of The Gut Balance Revolution. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition showed that people who ate a four-ounce serving a day had improved markers of immunity, including better-functioning gamma delta T cells and reductions in inflammatory proteins in their blood. Read about the best cold and flu medication to have on hand.

Hot sauce

Sriracha chilli saucesuccesso images/Shutterstock

A big hit of wasabi or sriracha can feel like it’s clearing your sinuses even when you’re not sick—and it turns out, that could very well be the case. Researchers found that a nasal spray containing capsaicin, the active compound in chili peppers and other spicy foods, improved symptoms of nonallergic rhinitis (aka sneezing, congestion), possibly because of its anti-inflammatory effect. Plus, spicy peppers are another good source of vitamin C, and other research has shown that they can provide short-term pain relief.

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