Stay Healthy This Winter with These Top Cold Fighting Foods

Cold Fighting Foods
Makeba Giles

Makeba Giles

Content Creator and Curator at MELISASource
Makeba Giles is an Health, Family, and Lifestyle Blogger. She is also a Midwest Mother of four, and the Founder and Creative Director of MELISASource.com. |

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Makeba Giles

Eating the top cold fighting foods is essential while in the thick of winter. With a little under two months until spring officially begins, many colds and flus are still waiting to strike.

Though you can come down with a cold year-round, the colder temperatures during winter months tend make people more susceptible. The common cold, though not as severe as many other ailments that see a seasonal winter uptick, can still wreak havoc. Between the congestion, sneezing and missed work days, it’s best to avoid it entirely.

As the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates once said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” HealthGrove took that to heart and found the top cold fighting foods. Using data from the ESHA nutrition database, we created a “Cold Fighting Index” that factors in the amount of vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc in every food in their database. This index attributes a weight of 20 percent, 40 percent, and 40 percent to each micronutrient, respectively. We examined these micronutrients specifically because of their commonly accepted cold fighting properties.

It is important to note the values listed are based off USDA-defined serving sizes. For some foods, such as broccoli, cabbage and jicama, these can be quite large. To reflect these respective sizes, we included the weight in grams of each.

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#25. Yam

Cold-Fighting Index: 65.3
Serving Size: 1.0 can (638g)
Calories per Serving: 568
Good Source of: Vitamin C (111.7% Daily Value)

Yams are a tuber vegetable high in fiber and vitamin C, which helps with immune function as well as wound healing and bone growth. It also contains small amounts of vitamin A, which promotes healthy skin and eyes.

Cold Fighting Foods

#24. Sea Bass

Cold-Fighting Index: 65.7
Serving Size: 4.0 ounces (113.4g)
Calories per Serving: 110
Good Source of: Vitamin D (64.1% Daily Value)

Low in calories and high in protein, sea bass makes for a great entrée. Its high levels of vitamin D also help boost immunity and promote healthy bones.

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#23. Asparagus

Cold-Fighting Index: 65.8
Serving Size: 1.0 package (293g)
Calories per Serving: 53
Good Source of: Vitamin C (119.2% Daily Value)

Asparagus not only makes for a great source of vitamin C, but it is full of fiber and folate, as well as vitamins A, E and K.

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#22. Spinach

Cold-Fighting Index: 66.9
Serving Size: 1.0 package (283.5g)
Calories per Serving: 65
Good Source of: Vitamin C (132.8% Daily Value)

Often known as one of the world’s healthiest foods, spinach is high in vitamin C in addition to many other nutrients — calcium, iron, magnesium and phosphorus to name a few. These help promote skin, hair and bone health.

Cold Fighting Foods

#21. Green Bell Pepper

Cold-Fighting Index: 67.8
Serving Size: 0.5 cup (57.5g)
Calories per Serving: 73
Good Source of: Vitamin C (169.6% Daily Value)

This versatile vegetable not only adds color to salads and other dishes, but it provides a vast array of nutrients. Vitamin C takes a predominant stand, especially in green peppers, but all bell peppers contain vitamin B6 , which is essential for nervous system health.

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#20. Portobello Mushrooms

Cold-Fighting Index: 69
Serving Size: 1.0 each (84g)
Calories per Serving: 18
Good Source of: Vitamin D (93.7% Daily Value)

The high vitamin D content in portobello mushrooms makes it a key player in maintaining healthy bones and teeth. However, vitamin D is also suggested to protect against diseases such as cancer, type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis.

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#19. Papaya

Cold-Fighting Index: 69.3
Serving Size: 0.25 large (195.25g)
Calories per Serving: 84
Good Source of: Vitamin C (198.2% Daily Value)

In addition to high vitamin C levels, papaya provides many minerals (potassium, copper and magnesium) and antioxidants.

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#18. Orange

Cold-Fighting Index: 69.4
Serving Size: 1.0 cup (170g)
Calories per Serving: 107
Good Source of: Vitamin C (201.2% Daily Value)

Though oranges’ claim to fame is their high vitamin C content, they are also a great source of folate and vitamin A. Folate is important because it plays a role in DNA synthesis and vitamin A assists bone growth, reproductive health and immune system health.

Cold Fighting Foods

#17. Mango

Cold-Fighting Index: 69.6
Serving Size: 1.0 each (336g)
Calories per Serving: 202
Good Source of: Vitamin C (203.8% Daily Value)

Mangoes contain over 20 vitamins and minerals, not just vitamin C. The presence of beta-carotene may protect against prostate cancer and potassium can help ward off heart disease.

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#16. Guava

Cold Fighting Index: 69.7
Serving Size: 1.0 whole (55g)
Calories per Serving: 37
Good Source of: Vitamin C (209.3% Daily Value)

These small but mighty fruits contain more than just vitamin C. Guavas are also good sources of vitamin A, which is a known as a booster for vision health. It also has high amounts of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant thought to reduce prostate cancer risk.

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#15. Cauliflower

Cold Fighting Index: 70.8
Serving Size: 1.0 package (283.5g)
Calories per Serving: 68
Good Source of: Vitamin C (230.6% Daily Value)

The vitamin C in cauliflower helps boost your immune system, but the other nutrients such as vitamin K, thiamin, magnesium and phosphorus also contribute to all-around health.

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#14. Pink Salmon

Cold Fighting Index: 71.3
Serving Size: 4.0 ounces (113.4g)
Calories per Serving: 144
Good Source of: Vitamin D (123.3% Daily Value)

Not only a great source of vitamin D, salmon also has high levels of niacin, omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorous and vitamin B6. All of these nutrients contribute to a healthy immune system and brain, heart and joint health.

Cold Fighting Foods

#13. Red Bell Pepper

Cold Fighting Index: 72.2
Serving Size: 1.0 package (283.5g)
Calories per Serving: 57
Good Source of: Vitamin C (277.4% Daily Value)

Red bell peppers, high in vitamin C like their sibling green variety, are special because of their high beta-carotene levels. Beta-carotene provides great antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

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#12. Cantaloupe

Cold Fighting Index: 72.2
Serving Size: 1.0 each (441g)
Calories per Serving: 150
Good Source of: Vitamin C (269.7% Daily Value)

The combination of high vitamin C levels and presence of vitamin A make cantaloupe great for providing structure to skin and hair. Skin is the largest organ in the body and is the first line of defense of the immune system (it blocks out foreign pathogens), so keeping it healthy is integral for general immune system health.

Cold Fighting Foods

#11. Swordfish

Cold-Fighting Index: 72.6
Serving Size: 3.0 ounces (85.05g)
Calories per Serving: 146
Good Source of: Vitamin D (141.6% Daily Value)

The vitamin D in swordfish helps boost immune system health, but the high protein and omega-3 levels make it an all-around great staple for any diet.

Cold Fighting Foods

#10. Brussels Sprouts

Cold-Fighting Index: 74.5
Serving Size: 1.0 package (283.5g)
Calories per Serving: 116
Good Source of: Vitamin C (350.1% Daily Value)

In addition to immunity-boosting vitamin C, brussels sprouts contain a powerhouse combination of vitamins and minerals. Many of the published studies in PubMed speak to cancer-fighting and anti-inflammatory properties.

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#9. Rainbow Trout

Cold-Fighting Index: 74.8
Serving Size: 4.0 ounces (113.4g)
Calories per Serving: 160
Good Source of: Vitamin D (180% Daily Value)

Not only is rainbow trout good for your immune system due to the amount of vitamin D, but the omega-3 fatty acids make it a very heart-healthy food. According to the World Health Organization, a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids is linked to decreased risk of many diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

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#8. Strawberries

Cold-Fighting Index: 75.4
Serving Size: 1.0 package (567g)
Calories per Serving: 198
Good Source of: Vitamin C (389.3% Daily Value)

Delicious and immune-system boosting, these bright red berries also possess high levels of manganese (in addition to vitamin C), which acts as a co-enzyme to help metabolic activity within the body.

Cold Fighting Foods

#7. Jicama

Cold-Fighting Index: 76
Serving Size: 1.0 large (1200g)
Calories per Serving: 456
Good Source of: Vitamin C (404% Daily Value)

Because of the high vitamin C content, jicama is great for boosting the immune system. This vegetable is also very low in sodium and fat, making it great for maintaining a healthy heart and stable weight.

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#6. Mackerel

Cold-Fighting Index: 76.2
Serving Size: 3.0 ounces (85.05g)
Calories per Serving: 259
Good Source of: Vitamin D (213.9% Daily Value)

As with many other fish, mackerel is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids as well as vitamin D. These support good health and a strong immune system.

Cold Fighting Foods

#5. Peaches

Cold-Fighting Index: 76.4
Serving Size: 1.0 package (284g)
Calories per Serving: 267
Good Source of: Vitamin C (445.9% Daily Value)

In addition to vitamin C, peaches are also rich in zinc, creating a prime cold-fighting combo. Vitamin C and zinc have wound-healing and antioxidant properties, which help fight infection and reduce the severity of certain illnesses.

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#4. Carp

Cold-Fighting Index: 78.8
Serving Size: 4.0 ounces (113.4g)
Calories per Serving: 144
Good Source of: Vitamin D (280.1% Daily Value)

The large amount of vitamin D present in carp makes it a great choice of fish to add to your diet. Vitamin D regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorous and is thought to protect against multiple diseases.

Cold Fighting Foods

#3. Eastern Oysters

Cold-Fighting Index: 80.2
Serving Size: 2.0 ounces (56.7g)
Calories per Serving: 39
Good Source of: Zinc (343.8% Daily Value)

A single serving of oysters provides a large dose of zinc. Known as an “essential trace element,” zinc is vital to human health. Though only needed in small amounts, zinc promotes a healthy immune system by regulating immune responses and equipping the body to attack infected or cancerous cells.

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#2. Cabbage

Cold-Fighting Index: 81.5
Serving Size: 1.0 each (908g)
Calories per Serving: 218
Good Source of: Vitamin C (771.8% Daily Value)

Though the USDA serving size of cabbage is quite large, it still packs a nutritional punch. With nearly 800 percent of your daily recommended value of vitamin C in one head, your immune system is sure to get a boost even if you eat a much smaller amount. Additionally, cabbage has a lot of fiber and low caloric value, making it a great food for more than just your fish tacos.

Cold Fighting Foods

#1. Broccoli

Cold-Fighting Index: 82.9
Serving Size: 1.0 each (608g)
Calories per Serving: 207
Good Source of: Vitamin C (903.9% Daily Value)

Not only does broccoli have over 900 percent of your daily value of vitamin C, but it is chock full of other nutrients — folate, potassium and vitamin K, to name a few. These all work together to protect the body against free radicals and help cuts and wounds heal. If you’re looking for a big immune system boost, broccoli might just be your new best friend.

Cold Fighting Foods

Research Other Health Foods on HealthGrove
Posted on February 2, 2016 by Sabrina Perry

 

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