We’ve all been through a chest infection before, even if it’s a cold. Or at least, those of us who lack infection-fighting superpowers. The raspy throat, endless coughs, lethargy, and fever are a nightmare for anyone. It is not the worst illness out there, but it sure does take the spark out of you.
We are what we eat, and even when we take medication for chest infections we can also help our body fight by eating food that strengthens our immunity. Nature has provided us with some great options when it comes to this. Some foods directly help fight the symptoms of a chest infection.
What Foods Are Best For Chest Infections
There are a lot of foods that help with chest infections, and each works uniquely to alleviate your suffering. We take a look at some of them.
✓ Hot chicken broth – This is an age-old remedy for chest infections. In the early days, taciturn aunts would force it on sick children, and they were not far wrong. Chicken contains an amino acid called cystine that is similar to that used in treating bronchitis. Add hot peppers, mustard, garlic and other hot spices for good measure.
✓ Honey and lemon – Another tried and tested method, a combination of honey and lemon in hot water works like magic, especially for common colds. If you’re feeling adventurous, add a touch of gin to the mixture, drink while hot and take a nice long rest. Honey is also a natural expectorant and soothes the throat.
✓ Fruits and vegetables – Fruits and vegetables help to fight chest infections by providing antioxidants. Eat those that pack the most like leafy greens, berries, tomatoes, broccoli, etc.
✓ Fatty fish – These provide a valuable source of omega-3 oils that help boost the body’s immunity. They also provided vital protein necessary for the healing process.
✓ Yogurt – This is an important source of probiotics, the so-called ‘good’ bacteria. Recent studies have come to show that bacteria in the gut affect not just the gut’s health but can also help fight other infections, including in the chest area.
Signs Of Chest Infections
Now that we’ve looked at some of the best foods for chest infections, you might be wondering, how do you know that what you have is just a chest infection and not something else? We do not claim to be doctors, and you should not take our word in the place of professional help.
While that is the case, some symptoms characterize chest infections. That term chest infection is broad, covering everything from common colds and flu, bronchitis to pneumonia. They are caused by bacterial infections in the lower pulmonary tract, although bronchitis is caused by a viral infection. This includes the trachea, bronchi, and lungs.
Common signs of chest infections include:
❖ Coughing and wheezing
❖ Muscle pain
You need to seek the help of a doctor if:
- Your symptoms exceed three weeks.
- You are coughing sputum with blood.
- Have pain in the chest.
- You are feeling disoriented or dizzy.
- You’re pregnant, diabetic or have another prevailing health condition.
When in doubt, always visit a doctor.
Home Remedies For Chest Infections
Various home remedies have been proven to help with chest infections. These merely help with the symptoms, and if your condition gets worse or does not dissipate in three weeks, you should seek professional help.
One of the best ways to combat a chest infection is to take a hot concoction of spices, milk, and honey. Add turmeric, black pepper, ginger powder, and honey to a glass of moderately hot water. Add some milk then drink down the resultant mixture. The milk and honey help to line the throat for relief from raspiness, while the spices help fight the bacteria.
Another way to help cure chest infections is steam inhalation. The steam clears the airways of mucus and phlegm, and it feels oh-so-good especially when you’re having a fever. You can do this by putting boiling water in a bowl, draping your head with a towel and leaning over it. You can also opt for a steam bath instead, with the same results.
Apart from these remedies, it is vital that you give your body plenty of hot wholesome food and rest. Sometimes, all it takes to take care of a cold is hot chicken broth and a long night of sleep. This gives your body a chance to ramp up its defense mechanisms against the bacterial invaders.
Chest Infections In Children
Children can be more susceptible to chest infections due to their weaker immune systems. During the colder season, a lot of children are infected. You can easily tell if your child has a chest infection by the common symptoms. These include runny noses, coughing, wheezing, and fever.
Fortunately, most of these home remedies can also help your child recover quickly. Have your child take a hot steam bath to clear up any blockages in the respiratory tract, then rest them with the head slightly upheld to prevent buildup.
A hot soup made of chicken, vegetables, and spices works wonders to boost their immunity. Then a long rest in a warm bed does the rest of the work. However, since children are much more sensitive to chest infections, it is important to constantly monitor their condition. Keep away all forms of irritants like smoke and dust.
If your child does not recover within a few days, is asthmatic or displays more severe signs like coughing up blood, visit a doctor immediately.
Chest infections are commonplace, especially in winter due to the cold. While not life-threatening in the majority of cases, nobody enjoys being cooped up in bed with a wheezing cough and fever (That lethargic feeling is something else though).
They can usually clear up by themselves over three weeks, and by eating these superfoods you can usually cut that time to a few days.
Home remedies for chest infections involve foods that naturally alleviate their symptoms and strengthen the immune system to fight the condition. Some of these are honey, fruits rich in antioxidants, fatty fish and spices like hot pepper and turmeric. Using these in a suitable home remedy will get you back on your feet in no time