Have you ever been told that there’s no way to prevent getting the common cold — that catching one here and there is an inevitable part of life sometimes? But how do we explain those friends and family members that never seem to get a cold? Why do some people seem to succumb to the cold virus more frequently than others?
At least part of the answer lies with diet. What you eat can and does influence your health — sometimes in small ways and sometimes in big ways. And that includes not only your chances of coming down with a cold or the flu, but also the ability to fight symptoms when you do get one.
There are many vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that come together to build a strong and resilient immune system for you. And when it comes to protecting against colds, those high in antioxidants are the best choice. Vitamins C and E are important, as are the B-vitamins. If you do have a cold, you want to help treat symptoms by making sure you get enough zinc.
Zinc is a mineral that is important for prostate gland function, protein synthesis, a healthy immune system, and the healing of wounds. A deficiency of zinc can result in the loss of your sense of taste and smell. It can also cause high cholesterol levels, fatigue, acne, hair loss, problems with night vision and impotency.
Clearly, keeping your zinc levels up could boost your health in a number of ways, not the least of which is helping to rid yourself of a cold. According to a recent study published by a research team at Wayne State University School of Medicine, zinc lozenges could reduce the duration and severity of symptoms of the common cold.
The research team recruited 50 volunteers who had cold symptoms. The participants took one zinc lozenge every two to three hours while awake, or a placebo. Cold symptoms lasted about four days in the zinc group compared with seven in the placebo group. After the four days, 56% of those taking the zinc lozenges were completely cured of their colds. The researchers concluded that the zinc lozenges likely exercised an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect on the cold symptoms of the participants.
The best food sources of zinc are brewer’s yeast, egg yolks, dulse (seaweed), kelp, lamb, oysters, liver, mushrooms, pumpkin seeds, and poultry.