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Want To Stop A Cold In Its Tracks? Eat This Food

Jessica Cording, M.S., R.D., CDN
December 3, 2017
Jessica Cording, M.S., R.D., CDN
Registered Dietitian
By Jessica Cording, M.S., R.D., CDN
Registered Dietitian
Jessica Cording, MS, RD, CDN, INHC is a registered dietitian, health coach, and author with a passion for helping people simplify their wellness routine and build sustainable healthy habits.
Photo by Ellie Baygulov
December 3, 2017

You know the feeling—you notice your throat’s a little scratchy and you’re a little achy. You cross your fingers and hope the feeling will pass and you’ll go back to your usual energetic self, but as the day goes on, you suspect the worst: You’ve got a cold coming on. While it’s not a guarantee it’ll stop a cold completely in its tracks, a dinner packed with immune-supporting superfoods can help you rally your defenses.

It’s normal for our appetite to feel off when we’re under the weather, and while I’m all for listening to your body, I don't recommend that my clients skip meals entirely, even if they're not feeling that hungry. Giving your body fuel to work with is helpful for fighting off potential invaders. In general, I encourage a meal that provides a stabilizing balance of protein, fat, and carbs. That doesn’t mean you have to force it, but make sure you’re covering your bases. Incorporating certain foods may also be helpful.

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Fruits and veggies, for example, are packed with flavonoids and other powerful compounds that fight inflammation and help support efficient immune system function1. You’ll also find antioxidants vitamins A and C, among other key vitamins and minerals that support efficient immune system function.

Another must: probiotic-rich fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and miso. These have been studied2 for their potential to benefit immune system function3 by populating the gut with these beneficial bacteria and make a great addition to a meal or snack.

Aside from boosting flavor, herbs and spices are packed with powerful compounds that fight inflammation and support health. Turmeric, for example, has been used for centuries to treat a wide variety of ailments, and capsaicin, the active ingredient in red chili pepper, has been studied4 for its role in metabolism and the anti-inflammatory process.

I also like to add some hemp hearts to provide a little extra protein and some healthy fats. Those omega-3 fatty acids may be helpful for counteracting the effects of stress-hormone cortisol5 that tends to spike when we’re wigged out about all the stuff you don’t have time to be sick for!

When you’re freaking out about a cold coming on, try this easy, delicious recipe for dinner. If turning on the oven is too overwhelming, don’t sweat it—you can just add the chickpeas and spices in with the kale as it’s cooking. Enjoy and feel better!

Crispy Chickpea & Kale Bowl With Miso-Tahini Dressing

Serves 1

Ingredients, Chickpeas

  • ½ cup canned chickpeas
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
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Ingredients, Kale Bowl

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups shredded kale
  • ¼ cup raw sauerkraut
  • 1 tablespoon hemp hearts
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • Pink Himalayan sea salt to taste

Ingredients, Dressing

  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 teaspoon white miso paste
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • Water to thin out as needed
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  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Toss chickpeas and 1 teaspoon olive oil and spices and spread on a baking sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes or until chickpeas are crispy, shaking the pan in between to prevent sticking.
  2. Meanwhile, heat another teaspoon olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, about one minute.
  3. Add the kale and cook until wilted. Season with salt to taste.
  4. To make the dressing, whisk together tahini, miso paste, lemon juice, and turmeric until emulsified. If desired, thin out with water.
  5. Toss warm kale with miso-tahini dressing. Add chickpeas and hemp hearts and toss well to mix. Transfer to a bowl.
  6. Top your bowl with sauerkraut. If desired, add an egg cooked to your liking.
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