More Cold Prevention Tips

More ways to catch fewer colds this year.

Monica Reinagel, M.S.,L.D./N
3-minute read
Episode #16

In last week’s show, we looked at the science behind some popular cold prevention remedies to see which ones were most likely to actually work. Today, I’d like share three more proven ways to bolster your immune system and stay healthier this year.

Maybe you already have some tried-and true strategies for warding off colds. And the truth is, if you believe that wearing your pajamas inside out or rubbing your gums with orange peels keeps you healthy, go for it. There’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of a good placebo effect. 

But if your special incantation seems to have lost its magic and you’re in the market for a new one, why not go for one with some solid scientific proof?

I Don’t Know About Vampires, But Garlic May Keep Colds Away

Garlic can help bolster your immune response. In at least one study, people using garlic got only half as many colds as those who didn’t. Of those who did get colds, they were much less severe. In this study, the subjects took one powdered garlic capsule per day from November until March. 

If you want to try this at home, buy a garlic supplement that has a standardized amount of the active compound allicin. This is the compound thought to have the most potent effect on immune response.

If you like to eat garlic, this is also an excuse to ramp up your consumption of the so-called stinking rose. Whole garlic doesn’t actually contain any allicin. It’s produced by an enzymatic reaction when raw garlic is cut or crushed and then it immediately starts to break down. So, to maximize the allicin hit from eating garlic, chop or crush some raw garlic and eat it immediately.

I recently read about a cold remedy that calls for crushing a clove of garlic into a cup of hot water with some lemon juice, honey, and cayenne pepper. People, there’s no reason to be disgusting. Just make some guacamole.