It’s that time of year. As cold and flu season gears up, it’s likely you or someone in your family have played host to one of the unpleasant respiratory viruses making the rounds. Getting rid of these unwelcome “guests” — or avoiding them altogether — starts with knowing which strategies and beliefs are helpful, and which aren’t.
There are various unique strategies said to remedy colds that you might be surprised to learn. Here are five of the most uncommon strategies thought to fight the winter bug:
1. Jazz music
Research has shown that listening to jazz for 30 minutes boosts our levels of Immunoglobulin A (IgA), an immune protein that plays a critical role in defending against infection. “IgA resides in the mucosa — the lining of the nose, mouth, throat and other areas of the body. It acts as an antibody and prevents virus, bacteria and other microorganism infection,” explains Jean-Jacques Dugoua, a naturopathic doctor.
2. Mashed turnips
As a healthy food, turnips have a lot going for them. They pack a wallop of vitamin C and are full of B vitamins. In Iranian culture, a plate of cooked, mashed turnips is often served to a cold sufferer. The root vegetable delivers plenty of vitamin C and is believed to act as an expectorant, helping to loosen mucus and ease a stubborn cough.
As wonderful as this remedy sounds, there’s a catch: sugar-sweetened and milk chocolate don’t apply.
“Try hot, dark chocolate and sweeten it lightly with honey,” recommends Dugoua. He adds, “Chocolate contains theobromine, a component that suppresses the nerve activity responsible for coughing and has been found to be three times more effective in stopping persistent coughs than codeine.” Sugar, on the other hand, can weaken immunity, so it’s best to avoid it when you have a cold.
Many cultures include garlic as remedies for colds. In one study involving 146 people, participants received either a garlic supplement or a placebo for 12 weeks between November and February. People who took garlic reduced the risk of catching a cold by more than half. The study also found that garlic reduced the recovery time in people who caught a cold. However, more research is needed to corroborate these results.
5. Cold wet socks
One theory recommends that cold sufferers soak their feet in hot water and then put on a pair of thin socks that have been soaked in cold water and wrung out. Next, place a dry pair of socks over that and get into bed. The theory behind this odd therapy is that the cold water on your feet will increase circulation, boost your immune response, and hasten the cold’s demise.
As with any sickness and treatment, it is important to first consult with your physician. Be sure to take preventative measures this winter by washing your hands often, using alcohol based hand sanitizer, drinking a lot of water and getting the recommended amount of sleep in order to avoid getting sick.