(Picture courtesy of Bill Ward at flickr.com.)
There’s a head cold going around in my household, so it occurred to me that this would be a good time to see what’s right and what’s wrong about this old saying. While we usually are inundated with ads for medical solutions to the wheezing and sneezing, I tend to stay away from anything artificial so would be applying the chicken soup and raw onions instead. From webmd, I get a reassuring reply.
Do you starve a cold and feed a fever when you’re feeling under the weather? Or is it the other way around? Good news — starving is never the correct answer.
When you eat a nutritional, well-balanced diet, many other factors fall in place that keep your body functioning optimally. Foods that are rich in nutrients help fight infections and may help to prevent illness. Because a wide array of nutrients in foods — some of which we may not even know about — are essential for wellness, relying on dietary supplements (vitamins and minerals) for good nutrition may limit your intake to just the known nutritional compounds rather than letting you get the full benefit of all nutrients available in food.
While webmd goes on to tell us about different virtues and the foods that produce them, dukehealth finds some of the possible sources for the advice itself.
No one really knows the origins of the axiom, but most accounts link it back as early as 1574, when dictionary writer John Withals wrote “Fasting is a great remedie of feuer.”
In those days, medical wisdom dictated that a drop in body temperature caused colds, while fevers produced a temperature spike.
The rationale behind “feed a cold, starve a fever” may have been that eating food and drinking tonic helped the body generate warmth during a cold, while laying off the calories helped temper the inner heat during a fever.
Face it, starving just doesn’t have the appeal as indulging in lots of healthy stuff. Building up immunities involves more solid information, and is all about the good aspects of raw fruits and veggies. Oranges, tomatoes, bright colored foods, have particular strength, and anti-oxidants are particularly recommended.
I’m some one who generally has a lot of crunchy fruit and veggies for pure enjoyment as well as their medicinal values, so no problem. While eating raw garlic is recommended by some sources, I don’t really go that far.
Pass the chamomile tea, please.
(Picture courtesy of John Bennett at flickr.com.)
(Picture below found under request for Feed a Cold, by Rodrigo at flickr.com.)