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  • Anne Huang

The three most common types of cough and how to treat them through nutrition

Even though the days are getting longer and the sun is higher we are still in cold & flu season. The majority of us will be able to fight off a cold, flu or cough just fine, but there's no harm in helping ourselves and our body along.



I grew up with traditional Chinese remedies passed down from generations to help with common ailments. On this blog I'm going to talk about coughs and how we can help get rid of a cough faster with the help of some therapeutic foods. Please note I am not a doctor and these are traditional remedies that I have grown up using.


In basic general TCM terms there are three types of cough:


Cold Cough

Heat Cough

Dry Cough


COLD COUGH:

This is a cough with thin white phlegm, and means you need more foods that encourage 'heat' within your body to balance your qi (energy) to bring yourself back to equilibrium. Foods that encourage heat are


ginger

cilantro

onions

green onions

cooked radishes

garlic

cinnamon

tangerine

apricot / apricot kernels

pumpkin


STAY AWAY FROM:

Cold, raw, greasy foods until you're well. These include bananas, plums, melons, mint.


Try: making a ginger tea buy boiling slices of ginger with a few apricot kernels. For an added immune boost you can also add some goji berries. If you want to sweeten your tea, then add a small chunk of rock sugar. You can find the majority of these ingredients in your local supermarket. If you're reading this from Whitehorse, you can buy all of these from Yukon Herbal.




HEAT COUGH:

This cough produces thick phlegm, yellow in colour. This is the opposite of a cold cough which means, there's too much heat within the body. To balance this try to eat foods that are cooling:


raw radishes

green beans

tofu

figs

olives

persimmon

apples

strawberries

pineapple

coconut

star fruit

melons

celery

bean sprouts

mint

chrysanthemum

seaweed



STAY AWAY FROM:

Pepper, ginger, fennel, cinnamon, nutmeg, dates.


Try: chrysanthemum tea plain or with rock sugar. You can buy chrysanthemum tea from specialty tea stores, Asian stores or online. Or, add fresh mint leaves to your chrysanthemum tea.






DRY COUGH:

This is that annoying dry cough that usually means your lungs are too dry. Generally, for this type of cough drink more warm water and stay away from cold water. Other foods to eat for this cough are:


honey

white fungus

pine nuts

olives

sesame seeds / oil

almonds

pears

Asian pears

tomatoes

figs


TRY: this tradition remedy uses Asian pears and honey. Simmer and cook one Asian pear with enough water to cover the pear. Once soft, add honey or rock sugar and eat the pear, drink the pear 'soup'.


STAY AWAY FROM

Hot and spicy foods that will irritate the throat, frozen, cold or greasy food.



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