Sunday, April 19, 2015

Cold Remedy Smoothies

Written By:
Sara Police, PhD
School of Health Sciences

Chicken soup, plenty of water and extra rest are natural remedies for a common cold.  However, extra vitamins and minerals can also be helpful when you get sick.  If you don't have the time or means to prepare chicken soup, consider adding vitamin-rich ingredients to your blender and make a cold-fighting smoothie.

Up Your Dose of Vitamin D
According to a 2012 article published on the Vitamin D Council Website, Vitamin D supplementation may help prevent the common cold.  In 4 of 5 controlled clinical trials discussed, vitamin D supplementation significantly reduced the incidence of upper respiratory infections (Vitamin D Council).  To up your vitamin D intake naturally, use D-enriched milks or orange juice when making smoothies.  Dairy-free milks, such as soy, coconut or almond milk may also be fortified with vitamin D.  Consider adding up to a tablespoon of cod liver oil, which provides 1,360 IU -- or 340 percent the recommended daily value -- to super boost vitamin D intake (NIH, Vitamin D).

Zap A Cold With Zinc
A 2013 Cochrane review identified 18 controlled trials that showed a reduction in the average duration of a common cold when zinc was taken within the first 24 hours of onset of symptoms (Das, 2013).  These foods are naturally rich in zinc: beef, lamb, oatmeal, sesame and pumpkin seeds, almonds and cashews.  Tahini -- or ground sesame seeds -- is frequently found in hummus recipes.  This rich source of zinc can also be made into a cold-fighting-- and delicious -- smoothie when blended with cashew or almond milk, honey, a dash of cinnamon and ice cubes. Substitute a frozen banana for the ice cubes to add sweet creaminess. (NIH, Zinc)

Honey's Health Benefits
According to a 2014 review published in the American Journal of Therapeutics, honey's medicinal properties have been recognized for over 2,500 years.  Several in-vitro and limited clinical studies have confirmed its antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties (Israili, 2014). Let honey fight your next cold -- add a teaspoon or more to a smoothie recipe.

Cold-fighting Power in Probiotics
According to a 2011 Cochrane review including 10 clinical trials, probiotics were more effective than placebo in preventing upper respiratory tract infections.  Evidence from three of these clinical trials showed that probiotic treatment lessened the incidence of antibiotic prescriptions. (Hao, 2011) Consider adding natural source of beneficial bacteria such as yogurt or kefir to your smoothies.  Or, freeze Greek yogurt into ice-pop molds, if your throat is very sore.  Powdered probiotic supplements are also available and easily added to smoothies, but always check with your physician before using dietary supplements.

Vitamin D Council
National Institutes of Health: Vitamin D
Das, S. Zinc for the Common Cold. 2013. Cochrane Library. 
National Institutes of Health: Zinc
Israili, ZH. Antimicrobial Properties of Honey. American Journal of Therapeutics 2014 21(4): 304-323.
Hao Q, Dong BR, and T Wu.  Probiotics for Preventing Acute Upper Respiratory Tract Infections. 2015. Cochrane Library.


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