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Best Foods To Ease Your Cough And Cold

Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD · Pediatrics

Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel · Updated Oct 10, 2022

    Best Foods To Ease Your Cough And Cold

    We typically come down with a cough or cold a few times a year. It may be due to allergies, changes in weather, and other factors. And a cough – especially if it’s excessive, hoarse, painful – can be hard to deal with. Here, learn about the different types of food to avoid and to consume if you have a cough.

    What Types of Food Aggravate a Cough?

    Pay close attention to any coughing symptoms after eating citrus fruits such oranges, limes, lemons, and grapefruit. You should temporarily avoid sweet foods, such as desserts, soft drinks, and fruit juices. Sugar in food increases the risk of inflammation and infection in the body, making people who are ill with a cough/ cold feel worse. Acetic acid, which is frequently present in pickled vegetables and vinegar, can have a similar effect.

    You should stay away from the following if you want to see improvement in your cough and cold:

  • Sugar
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeinated beverages
  • Milk
  • Hot food
  • What Should You Eat/ Drink if You Have a Cough?


    A few slices of raw ginger root in boiling water may help relieve coughing and sore throat due to its potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Ginger may also be helpful for coughs because it can relax the muscles in the airways.

    Grate some ginger and add it to a pan of boiling water. Once the water has reached a boil, add the honey and squeeze in half a lemon. You are then good to go. This is helpful for sore throats and coughs.


    Garlic can be eaten raw, cooked as part of a meal, or taken as a supplement to try to alleviate cold symptoms (which cause you to cough) or boost the immune system. Additionally, getting plenty of rest and fluids can help speed up recovery from a cold. Studies suggest that garlic may help fight colds and the flu, it may reduce your risk of developing an illness, and it may help you recover faster.

    The majority of the health benefits of raw garlic come from an enzyme called Allicin, which has anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, antibacterial, and anticancer properties.

    Fresh Honey

    How much honey should I take for a cough? Since honey is inexpensive and widely available, it might be worth a try. Honey is considered a great solution for reducing cough frequency and severity and improving nighttime sleep over both dextromethorphan and no treatment, according to parents’ ratings; in fact, in the study, honey appeared to be as effective as dextromethorphan in reducing cough frequency and severity and improving nighttime sleep.

    According to one study, honey is a tried-and-true treatment for sore throats and can suppress coughs more effectively than some over-the-counter medicines. You can make your own remedy at home by combining two teaspoons of honey with herbal tea or warm water and lemon.


    An age-old remedy that effectively treats cough and cold, turmeric mixed in warm milk is a popular way to fight against cold and cough. Drinking a glass of warm turmeric milk before bed is another option if you have a sore throat. Turmeric is a potent antioxidant.

    Curcumin, a substance found in turmeric that has antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory activities, is particularly beneficial in treating dry cough.


    Lemons are an excellent source of vitamin C and help people recover from the common cold. Studies have shown that vitamin C also strengthens the immune system and helps people fight off the flu.

    Drinking tea or warm lemon water mixed with honey is great to soothe a sore throat, but honey alone may be an effective cough suppressant, too. 


    You might be surprised to learn that pineapple is an effective cough reliever. Bromelain, an enzyme present in pineapple, has anti-inflammatory and mucolytic (breaks down mucus) properties. 


    Did you know that you can use seeds and nuts to relieve cough and colds? Use anise seeds as a tea up to three times daily to relieve coughing or congestion. Pumpkin seeds, which are rich in vitamin E and zinc, help shorten the duration of a cold. Sunflower seeds’ antioxidants reduce phlegm and guard against cell wall damage that could lead to infection.

    Soup or Broth

    Keep your airways open and lubricated by drinking plenty of water or hot tea. Avoid sugary drinks like sports drinks and artificial juices. Aside from containing minerals and amino acids that reduce inflammation, bone broth contains collagen, which can help to boost your immune system. 

    Learn more about Respiratory Health here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Regina Victoria Boyles, MD


    Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel · Updated Oct 10, 2022

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