The Mouthful: Beat a Cold–Naturally

At the time of writing, I have had a persistent, freaky mutant cold for almost a week. It morphed from a sore throat to a sinus migraine to a weird nasal thing to a complete loss of my voice, presumably to keep me interested (thanks for that, virus). So suffice to say, I can’t focus on much of anything right now besides my throat tickle and all-consuming need for broth soups.

Accordingly, here’s my culinary prescription for how to treat a cold.


1. Soup, soup, soup

It’s a cliche for a reason. Some studies argue that chicken soups actually do have cold-fighting properties, but whether this is the case concerns me very little. Soup is warm, it’s throat-soothing and it carries all manner of healing vibes. Placebo effects are surprisingly helpful, man.


2. Vitamin C

Another one you’ve rightfully heard again and again, a higher Vitamin C intake at the start of a cold is immensely helpful. For an extra boost, add a packet of Emergen-C (I like tropical flavor best) to a glass of orange juice. Mmm, tastes like paranoia.


3. No dairy

High dairy consumption is one of the worst things you can do to an achy throat. Cut out milk if you can until you feel better. If you’re hooked on holiday drinks, try a peppermint Americano with steamed soy milk for a cold-friendly (and tasty, and comparatively low-cal) alternative.


4. Coconut water

Coconut water is nature’s Gatorade: insanely hydrating and electrolyte-replenishing goodness. However, coconut water brands run the gamut from fresh, crisp and clean-tasting to downright funky. My favorite is Trader Joe’s brand, which comes in large cartons and is cheap compared to other national brands.


5. Throat Coat tea

Popular among singers, this marshmallow, licorice root and echinacea blend by Traditional Medicinals is great for anyone with a raspy voice. It’s an acquired taste, to be sure, but I’ve grown to love its weird anise-y taste and slimy mouthfeel (hey, they don’t call it Throat Coat for nothing).