It can be difficult to get through your day if you suffer from a persistent cough. It can be tiring for you and disturbing for the others around you if it happens every minute.
There are two kinds of cough – acute and chronic. Acute coughs are the ones you experience when you catch a cold. These may last about two to three weeks. Chronic coughs, on the other hand, may be caused due to chronic illnesses like bronchitis, asthma, allergies, etc. This lasts for more than two to three weeks.
If your medications don’t seem to provide relief, you can try adding certain foods to your diet. Make sure you talk to your doctor before you include them in your diet depending on the severity of your cough.
Foods To Include In Your Diet To Treat A Cough
Here is a list of foods that you should try including in your diet if you have a persistent cough. If you are allergic to any of these foods, make sure to discontinue them. If the symptoms exist even after you’ve stopped the food, visit the doctor immediately.
If your cough is due to a cold, you can use garlic to treat it. Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which is helpful to manage the symptoms of a cold.1 Garlic can also kill the bacteria that are present in your throat when you have a cough. However, the benefits of allicin in garlic is lost when it is cooked. Fresh garlic contains 5 to 9 milligrams of allicin per clove.
Therefore, for effective results, it is better to eat them raw. If you find it difficult to chew raw garlic, you can chop a few raw garlic cloves and add them to your soups or other dishes.
Ginger is a healthy herb that can help fight most of the symptoms of a common cold, including cough. Therefore, if you have a persistent cough, ginger is the perfect medicine. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that make it even better to cure cough and other symptoms along with it.2
Ginger has a strong flavor and you may not be able to eat it raw. Instead, you can add chopped, crushed ginger to boiling water and make ginger tea. If the flavor is too strong, you can add a teaspoon of honey, too. This tea is particularly useful for those suffering from a cough with phlegm. A glass of hot ginger tea can help loosen the thick mucus within the respiratory system.
Honey can provide relief to coughs, especially in young children. Studies have shown that it is good to provide children, who are over a year old, a 2.5 ml dose of honey before bedtime to ease cough.3 In addition to reducing the cough, it can also soothe their throats.
Adults can also benefit from having honey. It can also be added to certain juices, for instance, grape juice. Studies have found that grapes have been effective in reducing the development of cough with phlegm.4 Adding honey to grapes will double this cough-relieving benefit.
4. Black Pepper
Black pepper is another effective remedy to treat cough. Black pepper can soothe the throat and reduce congestion that is caused due to the phlegm present in the chest. It can provide relief from cough by dilating the blood vessels and can also help clear mucus causing cough.5
You can add black pepper to your dishes like soups, noodles, or even season them on your eggs. Gargling with a black pepper solution (dissolving black pepper in water) can clear a sore throat, too.
5. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea can help your sore throat as well as your persistent cough. Studies have shown that chamomile (tea or extracts) is effective in treating sore throat and hoarseness.6
Drinking chamomile tea can provide relief from coughing. If tea is not your favorite beverage, you can also breathe in the aroma of chamomile flowers. You can add chamomile flowers to boiling water and inhale the steam by directing it toward you.7
6. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate contains theobromine and can help stop a cough. Experts say that theobromine suppresses the vagus nerve activity, which is responsible for coughing. Dark chocolate contains the highest amount of this compound; however, it may vary depending on the cocoa beans used.
You should not use milk or white chocolate in place of dark chocolate to treat cough. Also, dark chocolate is rich in fats and contains a lot of calories; therefore, if you are overweight, you’d probably want to skip this remedy.
Pineapples, especially pineapple juice, can stop cough and may even reduce it. Pineapples contain bromelain – an enzyme that can reduce inflammation and help relieve sinus infections.8
Therefore, having a glass of pineapple juice is good for treating cough. If you don’t fancy the flavor of pineapple alone, you can add a teaspoon or two of honey to it. Honey, as mentioned earlier, can double its effects. If you are allergic to pineapple, it’s best to avoid this remedy.
Don’t limit your intake of fruits to just pineapples. All fresh fruits like apples, pears, oranges, grapes all boost the immune system. Fruits containing lots of vitamin C such as oranges and strawberries can help reduce cold symptoms, including cough.
Lemon is another remedy that can help treat cough. Lemon has antimicrobial properties that can help fight the bacteria in the throat that causes the coughing.9 Lemon can be used for its peel or juice. Lemon along with honey can soothe the throat.
Try this easy lemon and honey preparation to ease your cough. Add 2 teaspoons of organic lemon zest, 1 teaspoon of sage, and ½ teaspoon of thyme to boiling water. Let this steep for 15 minutes. Then, add the juice of half a lemon and a tablespoon of honey. You can have this two to three times a day, depending on the severity of your cough.
9. Chicken Soup
If you suffer from a cough due to a common cold, chicken soup is a perfect addition to your diet. It can keep you hydrated, improve your immunity, clear the phlegm in the respiratory system, provide the antioxidants to fight the virus causing your symptoms, and reduce inflammation.10
These remedies will definitely provide relief from cough, however, consult a doctor before you try any of these measures at home. If you are allergic to any of these foods, do not try them. These remedies are for acute cough; if you suffer from chronic cough, consult a healthcare professional to treat it.
|↑1||Bayan, Leyla, Peir Hossain Koulivand, and Ali Gorji. “Garlic: a review of potential therapeutic effects.” Avicenna journal of phytomedicine 4, no. 1 (2014): 1.|
|↑2||Bode, A. M., and Z. Dong. “Chapter 7: The Amazing and Mighty Ginger.” Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects 804 (2011).|
|↑3||Goldman, Ran D. “Honey for treatment of cough in children.” Canadian Family Physician 60, no. 12 (2014): 1107-1110.|
|↑4||Butler, Lesley M., Woon-Puay Koh, Hin-Peng Lee, Mimi C. Yu, and Stephanie J. London. “Dietary fiber and reduced cough with phlegm: a cohort study in Singapore.” American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine 170, no. 3 (2004): 279-287.|
|↑5, ↑7, ↑8, ↑10||Duke, James A. The green pharmacy guide to healing foods: proven natural remedies to treat and prevent more than 80 common health concerns. Rodale, 2009.|
|↑6||Srivastava, Janmejai K., Eswar Shankar, and Sanjay Gupta. “Chamomile: a herbal medicine of the past with a bright future.” Molecular medicine reports 3, no. 6 (2010): 895-901.|
|↑9||Dhanavade, Maruti J., Chidamber B. Jalkute, Jai S. Ghosh, and Kailash D. Sonawane. “Study antimicrobial activity of lemon (Citrus lemon L.) peel extract.” British Journal of pharmacology and Toxicology 2, no. 3 (2011): 119-122.|