- Highest-quality food you can afford
- Unlimited clean water
What to do - Mindless Eats Approach to Quashing Colds
- Admit you have a cold. Don't lie to yourself and pretend you don't. If you have a slight sore throat or sniffles, that's not normal - it's an incoming cold. You can't prevent it if you don't treat it.
- Load up on Vitamin C. I take 2,000 mg after breakfast, lunch, dinner and before bed. Yup, that's 8,000 mg a day. And I have as much citrus as possible on top of the vitamins. C has fervent advocates (Linus Pauling took 6,000-18,000 mg per day) and ballyhooers. It's necessary for your body's function and is essential for healing wounds. There are many C skeptics that do not think it helps colds and think high doses are toxic. Vitamin C is water soluble, which means your body eliminates what it does not use through urine. C works for me and is the most important part of my regimen for killing a cold. I take megadoses when I'm sick, but don't take it as a supplement otherwise.
- Have chicken soup. I make an exception to not eating meat for chicken soup when I have a cold. It works. The University of Nebraska published a study in 2000 that demonstrated efficacy. Even out of a can. It works so well that I once made chicken noodle soup for a sick beau, even though I never make chicken. That was the end of the cold, but I didn't get a thank you, so that was also the end of the beau. (see, it also smokes out bad boyfriends)
- Drink lots of water. You're getting dehydrated, so drink up.
- Make hot herbal tea with lots of lemon and honey. If I'm really sick, I default to the ancient Taiwanese remedy of just hot water, lots of lemon and honey.
- Exercise. You might be fatigued, but I find moderate exercise seems to clear the congestion. So do these studies.
- Go to bed early. Your body needs the rest.
Update: 2/19/11 New research suggests that taking zinc can shorten or reduce your cold if you take it within the first 24 hours.