No foods are a proven remedy to shorten a cold, but some may help ease sneezing, a sore throat, and a stuffy nose caused by inflammation. “Your body needs antioxidants during a cold, so eating more fruits and vegetables is key to feeling your best,” Foroutan says.

What about chicken soup? A study published in the journal Chest many years ago found that chicken soup made with a sweet potato, turnips, and other healthy ingredients did a better job of reducing inflammation than plain chicken broth. (Store bought brands worked too.) Soup is also hydrating, which helps your lymph system flush out the virus.

But you may want to avoid sugars when you have a cold. “There’ some research showing sugar weakens the activity of certain (virus fighting) white blood cells,” Foroutan says. “Plus you need a lot of nutrients to keep your body strong during a cold or flu, and sugary foods take the place of healthier options.”

Source: Consumer Reports on Health December 2016  Robin Foroutan, M.S., R.D.N., an integrative nutritionist in New York City and a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.