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Experts have revealed whether six food staples and supplements really prevent colds and flu.
While honey has long been praised for reducing the symptoms of colds, science reveals it does little more than soothe sore throats.
Although an old wives tale claims chicken soup cures a host of ailments, it may simply provide a comforting meal and hydration boost, according to dietitian and British Dietetic Association spokesperson Aisling Pigott.
Although often hailed for reducing the severity and symptoms of colds, a 2014 Cochrane review into 24 studies found the flower supplement does not significantly reduce the length of time people suffer with the sniffles.
Ms Pigott claims there is insufficient evidence to recommend echinacea, however, if people wish to take the supplement it will unlikely do them any harm.
An old wives tale praises honey for soothing sore throats and suppressing coughs, however, there is little evidence to support this, with many 'pro-honey' studies being funded by companies with conflicts of interest, according to Ms Pigott.
She adds, however, honey is harmless providing people are aware of its high-sugar content and unsuitability to children under one due to the risk of botulism.
Zinc lozenges 锌锭
Zinc lozenges have been shown to reduce the duration of cold symptoms, such as nasal congestion, coughing and a sore throat, however, dietitian Lauren McGuckin warns many contain high amounts of sugar.
People may be better off upping their food sources by eating more seafood, lamb, beef and pumpkin seeds.
Chicken soup 鸡汤
Ms Pigott told NetDoctor: 'There is little evidence to suggest that "chicken soup" per se reduces the symptoms of a cold.'
She adds, however, the warming and nutritious meal may help restore sufferers' energy levels, as well as giving them a hydration boost.
Ms McGuckin said: 'Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which has been shown to be beneficial for the immune system.
'However, the way in which garlic is processed can affect the potency of allicin.'
She therefore recommends people crush, slice or dice garlic to reap the biggest benefits.
A 2015 Cochrane study review also found garlic is effective at treating and preventing sniffles.
Vitamin C 维生素C
Vitamin C is critical to the proper functioning of the immune system, however, evidence suggests it only reduces the length of colds, rather than preventing them.
Dietitian and BDA spokesperson Amanda Squire still recommends people with colds up their vitamin-C consumption via citrus fruits as these sharp flavours may ease congestion and, when taken with honey and warm water, can be soothing.
A healthy, balanced diet also gives people's bodies a better chance of fighting off viral infections, such as colds.
Vitamin C is found in all fruits and vegetables but is particularly high in citrus, red peppers, berries, kale and broccoli.