How can I cure a cold?

Person with a cold on the sofa
How can I cure a cold? Are there any foods or supplements that will help?

BHF dietitian Victoria Taylor says:

There are no single foods or supplements that are proven to stop you from getting coughs and colds, or to get rid of them once you have one. With a balanced diet, you shouldn’t need supplements. Getting more than you need of any vitamins or minerals from supplements is unlikely to offer added benefits so, unless prescribed by a professional, they shouldn’t be necessary.

Making sure you are getting enough vitamin C by eating plenty of fruit and vegetables is important. However, there isn’t strong evidence that vitamin C supplements will prevent or shorten a cold, and they could have negative effects – vitamin C supplements can affect blood sugar levels if you have diabetes, and taking more than 1,000mg a day can cause stomach pain, diarrhoea and flatulence.

A healthy diet will help to make sure that your immune system is as good as it can be, and so reduce the risk of getting a cold, as well as allowing you to recover as quickly as possible. This means including plenty of different fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds and fish along with dairy products (or plant-based alternatives) and unsaturated oils.

Victoria Taylor Meet the expert

Victoria Taylor is a registered dietitian with more than 20 years’ experience. Her work for the NHS focused on weight management and community programmes for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. At the BHF she advises on diet and nutrition.

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