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Is the Saying ‘Feed a Cold Starve a Fever’ Actually True?

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“Feed a cold, starve a fever” is probably something you’ve heard your grandparents or parents say to you over the phone after telling them you feel sick. In fact, they probably heard the phrase from their grandparents, as the adage has been traced back to 1574, when dictionary writer John Witals wrote that “fasting is a great remedy for a fever.” This is all based on the idea that eating food can generate warmth, and a decrease of body temperature while restricting food will help the body cool down during periods of chills and fever.

But today’s science disagrees and instead stresses that what you should be doing is feeding a cold and feeding a fever. A study published in Clinical and Vaccine Immunology found that calorie ingestion can help boost your immune system, and your nutritional health as a whole can affect how quickly your immune system responds to a virus.

Here are a few more science-backed ways to help relieve symptoms of a cold and fever fast and effectively:

How to Find Relief From a Cold or Fever

Hydrate with hot liquids: While drinking liquids is always recommended when fighting a cold or flu, hot liquids in particular have been shown to bring relief from common symptoms like a runny nose, cough, sneezing, and sore throat. Give your cold and flu symptoms a one-two punch with Theraflu hot liquid powders, powerful medicine that brings fast relief from even your worst cold and flu symptoms in a soothing, hot liquid.

Rest: A study published in Western Journal of Medicine found that in addition to increasing liquids, rest is a vital part of recovering from the symptoms associated with the cold and flu. It can be hard to do in our fast-paced society, but since it’s remained true throughout the decades, we should be doing our best to do less when sick.

Eat smart: Certain foods such as chicken soup (which has been shown to possibly provide an anti-inflammatory effect) may help relieve cold and flu symptoms. Fruits and vegetables contain flavonoids, “naturally occurring phenylchromones” that may promote health, so stocking up on citrus fruits (which also contain immune-boosting vitamin C) and snacking on carrots and cucumbers when you feel under the weather are great ways to help yourself feel better faster.

Wash your hands: The most important step to protecting your own health and preventing the spread of germs to others is to frequently wash your hands. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that good hand-washing hygiene can reduce respiratory illnesses like colds by 16-21 percent in the general population.

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