That annoying cough keeps hanging on, while that scratchy throat and runny nose just won't go away. Yes, it's cold season again, and it seems like every year the bug comes back to annoy us for weeks on end.
If you're one of the millions frustrated by cold symptoms this winter, you're probably looking for the best remedy to relieve your suffering. According to some experts, yogurt might just do the trick.
"There are some things (in yogurt) we can point to that, in theory, would be beneficial," Mickey Rubin, vice president of nutrition research for the National Dairy Council recently told CNN.
"We know yogurt is a nutritious food choice and we know probiotics are beneficial to health, so including them in an overall healthy eating plan makes sense," Rubin said.
Kristi L. King, a senior registered dietitian at Texas Children's Hospital and a national spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics pointed out that yogurt is full of probiotics, which can help boost the immune system.
"I wouldn't rely solely on yogurt to fight the cold, but in conjunction with a healthy diet, yogurt may be beneficial," King said.
"Pairing yogurt with blueberries or strawberries will give you an extra dose of vitamin C and antioxidants to fight the cold off," she added.
A study published in December by the National Dairy Council found that women who consumed yogurt every day for nine weeks had reduced inflammatory markers in their blood. This suggests that yogurt may be helpful in fighting off cold symptoms.
In addition to probiotics, yogurt contains the immune booster zinc. Previous research has shown that zinc can reduce the length of time cold symptoms last. However, its necessary to point out that the research recommended 75 mg of zinc, whereas the average portion of yogurt only contains 2 mg.
King also said that the carbohydrates in yogurt provide energy. When you're sick, maintaining energy is important to improving your condition. Often with severe cold symptoms, consuming food can be more difficult.
"Yogurt is smooth and goes down easy, so if you have a sore throat, or even a runny nose, it's comfortable to eat," Rubin pointed out.
Andrea Moss, a holistic nutrition coach in New York, told The Daily Mail that yogurt is among the top foods to boost the immune system and fight-off winter illness. She explained that 70 to 80 percent of the immune system resides in the gut.
"You actually have to have a really good, balanced gut to have the most fighting power," Moss said, recommending consuming yogurt daily to maintain a healthy gut.
"Eating something like yogurt, which can help get bacteria in your system… that's when you're going to get a huge immune system boost."
Other cold-fighting foods recommended by Moss include garlic, cooked spinach, broccoli, grapefruit and cinnamon.
At the same time, Rubin cautions that there isn't a lot of direct scientific evidence proving yogurt will make your cold go away.
"When it comes to yogurt specifically, I'd say there's not a lot of research that we can point to that indicates yogurt reduces symptoms of a cold," he said.
Nonetheless, the experts agree that there's no harm in consuming more yogurt during cold season. The potential benefits are definitely worth an extra cup of yogurt each morning.
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