Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Kida. Kida Wonders, “Does chicken soup really help when you are coming down with the flu?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Kida!
If you have a grandmother who likes to dispense pearls of wisdom in the form of sayings that have been passed down over the generations, you may have heard some interesting medical advice over the years. One popular saying is “feed a cold, starve a fever."
What does it mean? And is there any truth to it?
No one knows for sure how this saying got started. However, it seems that it may date back as far as 1574, when John Withals wrote, “Fasting is a great remedie of feuer." Basically, he was saying to starve a fever!
It's possible that the saying may have come from the medical beliefs held way back when. Hundreds of years ago, doctors believed that there was a close connection between body temperature and illnesses.
“Feed a cold, starve a fever" likely reflected the belief that eating would help your body generate heat and thus raise your body temperature to fight your cold. Likewise, a fever could be fought by withholding food, which they believed would lower body temperature.
Unfortunately, fighting colds and the flu isn't quite so simple. Most doctors believe there is little, if any, scientific support for “feed a cold, starve a fever."
In the meantime, you can often treat specific symptoms with various over-the-counter medications. Besides, if you remember the last time you were sick, you also may remember that you weren't very hungry anyway.
If you want a few tips on some nutrient-rich foods that doctors recommend to feed a cold — or a fever — consider these:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants, such as cranberries, strawberries, cantaloupe, spinach, broccoli, carrots, and asparagus
- Foods high in bioflavonoids, such as citrus fruits, green peppers, cherries, and grapes
- Glutathione-rich foods, such as watermelon, broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower
- Lean meats high in protein, such as skinless chicken, lean beef, and turkey