Weighing In: Will fasting help my immune system?

Patient Expert

_Question: I have a terrible cold that I have been trying to get rid of. We've all been told to have chicken soup and drink orange juice to help get rid of a cold. However, I have also read that fasting helps build the immune system. So, am I better off eating chicken soup and orange juice or fasting? _

Answer: Colds are caused by viruses, which do not respond to medications or other remedies. Hot liquids can help soothe a sore throat and relieve congestion by breaking up mucous secretions, but they will not cure your cold. People usually recommend orange juice for immunity because of its high Vitamin C content, however researchers do not agree on its efficacy against the common cold and flu. Unfortunately, you just have to let your cold run it's course.

You have probably heard the old wives tale that you should starve a cold, but actually you should not restrict calories when your body is working to fight illness. And nothing boosts the immune system like a well-balanced diet.