Nutrition Care for the Common Cold
Ninety percent of common colds are due to viral infections. The body’s immune system must be relied upon to deal with the virus, as antibiotics are not useful against viruses. The best treatment for the common cold is to support the immune system with diet, rest, and vitamins and minerals.
DIET: Diet modifications necessary to support the immune system include:
- Decrease consumption of solid foods.
- Increase consumption of water and fluids.
- Decrease consumption of simple sugars and fruit juices.
- Avoid mucous – producing foods: dairy, wheat, and eggs.
REST: The only treatment is available for uncomplicated cases of the common cold when experiencing symptoms include: bed rest, plenty of fluids, gargling with warm salt water, and petroleum jelly for a raw nose. Rest and decreased activity cannot be overemphasized.
VITAMINS AND MINERALS: The immune system requires adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals to function most effectively. Typical adult dosages for use during an infection are as follows:
- Vitamin C – 500 milligrams every two hours*
- Bioflavonoids – 1 gram per day
- Vitamin A – 5,000 IU per day OR
- Beta Carotene – 25, 000 IU per day
- Zinc – 30 milligrams per day
Note: *Vitamin C has been shown to decrease the duration of a common cold if given at the initial onset.
SPREAD OF THE COMMON COLD: Contamination studies have demonstrated that viral infections are spread much more readily by direct contact than through the air. Therefore cleanliness and not sharing utensils, toothbrushes, etc. should be observed. This is especially important with babies and young infants as they have a greater tendency to be held and touched.
Source: The Clinician’s Handbook of Natural Medicine, Pizzorno, Murray & Joiner-Bey, 2002