Fruits and Vegetables to Eat when You have a Cough or Cold

By: Jacqueline Gomes, RDN, MBA  

There are no known cures for colds and flu, so cold and flu prevention is key. A proactive approach to warding off colds and flu is apt to make your whole life healthier. A healthy immune system starts with a  diet rich in fruits and vegetables which will support your body with vitamins such as C, K, A and D. Even the slightest deficiency in these nutrients can lower your immune system defenses, potentially making you more susceptible to infections.


Foods good for Cold and Cough

  • Phytochemicals are natural chemicals found in plants that give the vitamins in food a supercharged boost. Eat dark green, red, and yellow vegetables and fruits.
  • 100% orange juice and oranges provide a good source of potassium for a healthy blood pressure, folic acid and an excellent source of antioxidant Vitamin C, which has been shown to help support a healthy immune system.
  • The perfect on-the-go snack, apples are rich in flavonoids! The antioxidant power of apples is estimated to have more than 1,500mg of vitamin C.
  • Cranberries are scientifically recognizable as potent sources of polyphenols, specifically from a subclass of flavonoids called proanthocyanidins (PACs), which are unique to and abundant in cranberries. Scientific studies suggest that people who eat foods rich in certain polyphenols have lower rates of inflammatory disease. The great news is that these beneficial phytonutrients can be enjoyed in different types of cranberry products, fresh, dried, canned or frozen cranberries!
  • Pineapples are known for their anti-inflammatory enzyme bromelain. Bromelain has been reported to calm a cough and soothe a sore throat. The rich source of vitamin C is an added bonus for prevention!
  • Sweet potatoes…not your usual “cold-preventing” food but they are a stellar source of Vitamin A, which plays a key role in maintaining the health of the mucosal surface. Think the inside of your nose, gastrointestinal tract and your skin!


Immune Boosting Smoothie

Prep: 5 minutes

Makes: 2 Servings


  • 1 cup cubed frozen pineapple
  • 1/2 sliced banana, frozen
  • 1 cup kale, leaves torn, stem removed
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 (6ounce) Plain fat-free Greek Yogurt
  • Dash Cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup water



Puree all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Add more water if a thinner smoothie is desired.

Recipe by: Jacqueline Gomes, RDN, MBA

Nutrition information: 176 Calories; 0g Fat; 0g Saturated Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 55mg Sodium; 36g Carbohydrate; 4g Fiber; 11g Protein


Pineapple Sweet Potatoes

This recipe is just for fun! Makes a sweet addition to your holiday table!

Makes: 8 Servings


  • 6 sweet potatoes
  • 1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground ginger
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch ground cloves



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter one 9×13 inch baking dish.
  2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes; cook until tender but still firm. Drain, and transfer to a large bowl to cool. Peel and quarter.
  3. In a sauce pan, combine pineapple, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Bring to boil and reduce heat.
  4. Arrange potatoes in a single layer in baking dish. Pour sauce over potatoes and bake for 45 minutes.