Sometimes the simplest treatment can be the most effective: So when your grandmother (or brother, or the neighbor at the dog run who sees you sniffling into your sleeve) suggests you keep a pot of tea close at hand when you’re fighting off a cold, listen up!
This ancient home remedy has been helping cold-sufferers feel better for thousands of years. There are several reasons why: Firstly, the hot liquid can soothe your throat and break up congestion. The chemical makeup of those tasty leaves is also key: “Tea catechins are natural antioxidants,” says Tara Tomaino, RD, nutrition director at The Park. “Antioxidants work in the body to protect cells from free radical damage. Drinking tea regularly may help ease cold symptoms if you happen to get sick.”
But one of the most important healing functions of tea may simply be that it keeps you hydrated, says Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, author of Dressing on the Side (and Other Diet Myths Debunked). “When you’re sick, eat high-water fruits and veggies and drink a ton of fluids — at least 10 cups per day from unsweetened sources, including tea,” London says. P.S. If you squeeze a lemon into your cup, you get a burst of vitamin C, which may reduce the duration of your cold.
Excerpted from Good Housekeeping