If you’re ever down with a terrible cold, try fixing it up with some spicy Asian cuisine.
Served in either soothing, warm broth or in well-mixed sauces, these spicy dishes may be effective alternatives to relieve cold symptoms like congestion and sore throat.
For one, red chili and green chili, commonly found in Thai and Indian food, provide many health benefits and healing properties, including effectively helping ease annoying colds, according to Readers’ Digest.
“Capsaicin, which is found in hot peppers, has been shown to have antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties,” registered dietitian Lisa Cohn was quoted as saying.
The best part is that the effects of the powerful compound are immediate as a mere bite of a spicy food can instantly cause the nose to feel runny and the eyes to be watery. This reaction can help clear the nasal airways by releasing the locked mucous, making capsaicin a very effective decongestant
Another ingredient known to relieve colds is garlic, which is a staple in Chinese, Vietnamese and Filipino cuisine. Recent studies have found that garlic contains numerous compounds that help improve immune cell function and reduce cold and flu symptoms.
Ginger, on the other hand, has gingerols and shaogals, which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties that can kill cold-causing rhinoviruses and relieve a sore throat very quickly.
Health experts have also pointed out that Asian spices such as cardamom, mustard seed, caraway, cumin, anise, and turmeric are all good sources of zinc, a chemical which has been shown in studies to be quite effective in minimizing the severity common cold.
Anil Bathwal, executive chef of The Kati Roll Company, noted that turmeric, which is another Asian cuisine common ingredient, is, in itself, an effective cold remedy.
“Both turmeric and ginger have been standard components of traditional Indian home remedies for colds and coughs,” Bathwal said. “The combination is meant to have synergistic anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and antiseptic properties.”