Eating Yogurt May Actually Help Alleviate Cold, Here's How

Yogurt is enriched with zinc, which is also helpful in boosting immunity.

NDTV Food Desk (with inputs from ANI)  |  Updated: May 28, 2019 14:55 IST

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Eating Yogurt May Actually Help Alleviate Cold, Here's How

A bowl of yogurt might prove to be helpful to those looking to get rid of the common cold

If you are suffering from cold or have had it recently, there must be someone in your family and peer who would have advised you to keep away from curd. It is believed that curd is cooling in nature, which is why it must be avoided as it may aggravate your cold further. But if the findings of a latest study are to be believed, a bowl of yogurt might prove to be helpful to those looking to get rid of the common cold.

"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," said Mickey Rubin, vice president of nutrition research for the National Dairy Council.

"There are some things (in yogurt) we can point to that, in theory, would be beneficial," Rubin added.
Yogurt is full of probiotics which can help boost immunity, CNN reported citing dietician Kristi L. King.

Studies that have looked at probiotics have found some promising results in terms of reducing the duration and intensity of cold. However, specific benefits can only be attributed to the actual strains studied, which do not necessarily exist in regular, non-supplemented yogurt, according to Rubin.

A bowl of conventional yogurt is dense with Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, two cultures that are integral to the yogurt-making process, also known as "starter cultures". While they are beneficial bacteria, but they are not necessarily the same probiotics that have been studied in clinical trials conducted by the scientists. 

"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, but recommending them specifically for the common cold would be premature," said Rubin.

Yogurt is also enriched with zinc, which is also helpful in boosting immunity. According to the research, zinc can reduce the duration of cold symptoms, but the amounts of zinc needed for benefits, at least 75 milligrams, is much higher than the 2 milligrams present in an 8-ounce cup of yogurt.

Apart from zinc, curd is a decent source of good carbohydrates too. Carbohydrates are important for energy, which is important in helping one recover from a cold.

"The common cold and its symptoms are an inflammatory response to the bug such that if yogurt or other foods reduced inflammation, it could, in theory, be beneficial but we need more research to know for sure," said Rubin.

While the ability of yogurt to help fight a cold is not that well explored right now, but the experts also say there's no good reason to not choose yogurt when you have cold or have difficulty swallowing. 

"I wouldn't rely solely on yogurt to fight the cold, but in conjunction with a healthy diet, yogurt may be beneficial," said King.

"Yogurt is smooth and goes down easy, so if you have a sore throat or even a runny nose, it's comfortable to eat," added Rubin.

For maximum benefits, King recommended eating plain yogurt with other antioxidant-rich foods, such as berries, which contribute natural sweetness, in addition to more cold-fighting nutrients.

"Pairing yogurt with blueberries or strawberries will give you an extra dose of vitamin C and antioxidants to fight the cold off," she said.

You might want to choose yogurt for its nutritional attributes, which include calcium and vitamin D, along with possible cold fighters like zinc and probiotics, but not necessarily as primary therapy for cold. 

Also remember to keep a check on your portion size as excess of anything can prove harmful. Do not go overboard with your yogurt intake.

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