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Is It Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever, or Starve a Cold, Feed a Fever?

Is It Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever, or Starve a Cold, Feed a Fever?


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When I was young, there was nothing better than coming down with a cold, because it meant that I would be pampered (beyond normal) by my mom. She would set me up in front of the TV with a blanket, the remote, a big bowl of soup, and a pile of toast. Her words still ring in my ears: “Feed a cold, starve a fever.”

The old adage can be linked to a passage in a 1574 dictionary authored by Englishman John Withal that read, “Fasting is a great remedy of fever.” But the saying’s true origin will most likely remain a mystery. The centuries-old phrase was based on a simple theory of body temperature. When someone was struck with a cold, eating was thought to increase the body’s internal heat enough to ward off the shivers, while denying the body food, or “starving a fever,” would have the opposite effect. But according to modern science, it’s rarely ever a good idea to try to starve an ailment away.

Starving a cold or a fever can hinder a person’s recovery because it deprives the immune system of the necessary energy required to fight the infection. A fever is the body’s natural response to a foreign pathogen, and the increase in internal temperature is designed to kill the offending bacteria or virus. As the body fights the infection, more calories are needed to maintain the higher internal heat. The same principle holds true for a cold. The immune system needs nourishment to function properly, and research shows that malnutrition makes it more difficult for the body to fight infections leading to colds.

But more important than feeding a cold or a fever is staying hydrated. When a cold strikes, a lack of fluids can dry up the mucus in the throat, nose, and lungs, potentially damming the sinuses. Mucus, as it turns out, is one of the body’s most potent defenses when it comes to cleaning out foreign pathogens. Drinking plenty of liquids is equally important with a fever because the body’s rise in temperature causes a loss of fluids from perspiration. Therefore, when you come down with any sort of cold, fever, or infection, it’s important to stay hydrated and eat a diet of anti-inflammatory foods like yogurt, eggs, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and, of course, the classic chicken soup. Feed a cold and a fever, in other words.


Should You Really Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever?

We&rsquove probably all heard the classic &ldquofeed a cold, starve a fever&rdquo advice. But if it&rsquos the advice you&rsquore living by, it might be time to reconsider your tactics the next time you feel a bug coming your way. Turns out that ancient phrase is only half right.

The thinking started in the 1500s, explains Sharon Bergquist, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at Emory University. &ldquoThere was a belief that a person had a cold because their body temperature was low, and feeding could increase their temperature and help fight the illness,&rdquo she says. &ldquoA fever meant the body temperature was high, and starving a person would slow down metabolism, bring down body temperature, and could stop stoking the fires.&rdquo

Feeding a cold is good practice, but so is feeding a fever, says Dr. Bergquist. &ldquoYour body needs nutrients to help the immune system mount a strong response.&rdquo So, getting food in your system is essential for both. And listening to your body is even more important. Keeping up your calorie intake is a good idea. If your cold or fever has altered your appetite, however, don&rsquot force it.

While it may be different from the old-school &ldquofeed a cold, starve a fever&rdquo advice, here, doctors share some great ways to get you back on your feet.


Should You Really Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever?

We&rsquove probably all heard the classic &ldquofeed a cold, starve a fever&rdquo advice. But if it&rsquos the advice you&rsquore living by, it might be time to reconsider your tactics the next time you feel a bug coming your way. Turns out that ancient phrase is only half right.

The thinking started in the 1500s, explains Sharon Bergquist, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at Emory University. &ldquoThere was a belief that a person had a cold because their body temperature was low, and feeding could increase their temperature and help fight the illness,&rdquo she says. &ldquoA fever meant the body temperature was high, and starving a person would slow down metabolism, bring down body temperature, and could stop stoking the fires.&rdquo

Feeding a cold is good practice, but so is feeding a fever, says Dr. Bergquist. &ldquoYour body needs nutrients to help the immune system mount a strong response.&rdquo So, getting food in your system is essential for both. And listening to your body is even more important. Keeping up your calorie intake is a good idea. If your cold or fever has altered your appetite, however, don&rsquot force it.

While it may be different from the old-school &ldquofeed a cold, starve a fever&rdquo advice, here, doctors share some great ways to get you back on your feet.


Should You Really Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever?

We&rsquove probably all heard the classic &ldquofeed a cold, starve a fever&rdquo advice. But if it&rsquos the advice you&rsquore living by, it might be time to reconsider your tactics the next time you feel a bug coming your way. Turns out that ancient phrase is only half right.

The thinking started in the 1500s, explains Sharon Bergquist, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at Emory University. &ldquoThere was a belief that a person had a cold because their body temperature was low, and feeding could increase their temperature and help fight the illness,&rdquo she says. &ldquoA fever meant the body temperature was high, and starving a person would slow down metabolism, bring down body temperature, and could stop stoking the fires.&rdquo

Feeding a cold is good practice, but so is feeding a fever, says Dr. Bergquist. &ldquoYour body needs nutrients to help the immune system mount a strong response.&rdquo So, getting food in your system is essential for both. And listening to your body is even more important. Keeping up your calorie intake is a good idea. If your cold or fever has altered your appetite, however, don&rsquot force it.

While it may be different from the old-school &ldquofeed a cold, starve a fever&rdquo advice, here, doctors share some great ways to get you back on your feet.


Should You Really Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever?

We&rsquove probably all heard the classic &ldquofeed a cold, starve a fever&rdquo advice. But if it&rsquos the advice you&rsquore living by, it might be time to reconsider your tactics the next time you feel a bug coming your way. Turns out that ancient phrase is only half right.

The thinking started in the 1500s, explains Sharon Bergquist, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at Emory University. &ldquoThere was a belief that a person had a cold because their body temperature was low, and feeding could increase their temperature and help fight the illness,&rdquo she says. &ldquoA fever meant the body temperature was high, and starving a person would slow down metabolism, bring down body temperature, and could stop stoking the fires.&rdquo

Feeding a cold is good practice, but so is feeding a fever, says Dr. Bergquist. &ldquoYour body needs nutrients to help the immune system mount a strong response.&rdquo So, getting food in your system is essential for both. And listening to your body is even more important. Keeping up your calorie intake is a good idea. If your cold or fever has altered your appetite, however, don&rsquot force it.

While it may be different from the old-school &ldquofeed a cold, starve a fever&rdquo advice, here, doctors share some great ways to get you back on your feet.


Should You Really Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever?

We&rsquove probably all heard the classic &ldquofeed a cold, starve a fever&rdquo advice. But if it&rsquos the advice you&rsquore living by, it might be time to reconsider your tactics the next time you feel a bug coming your way. Turns out that ancient phrase is only half right.

The thinking started in the 1500s, explains Sharon Bergquist, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at Emory University. &ldquoThere was a belief that a person had a cold because their body temperature was low, and feeding could increase their temperature and help fight the illness,&rdquo she says. &ldquoA fever meant the body temperature was high, and starving a person would slow down metabolism, bring down body temperature, and could stop stoking the fires.&rdquo

Feeding a cold is good practice, but so is feeding a fever, says Dr. Bergquist. &ldquoYour body needs nutrients to help the immune system mount a strong response.&rdquo So, getting food in your system is essential for both. And listening to your body is even more important. Keeping up your calorie intake is a good idea. If your cold or fever has altered your appetite, however, don&rsquot force it.

While it may be different from the old-school &ldquofeed a cold, starve a fever&rdquo advice, here, doctors share some great ways to get you back on your feet.


Should You Really Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever?

We&rsquove probably all heard the classic &ldquofeed a cold, starve a fever&rdquo advice. But if it&rsquos the advice you&rsquore living by, it might be time to reconsider your tactics the next time you feel a bug coming your way. Turns out that ancient phrase is only half right.

The thinking started in the 1500s, explains Sharon Bergquist, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at Emory University. &ldquoThere was a belief that a person had a cold because their body temperature was low, and feeding could increase their temperature and help fight the illness,&rdquo she says. &ldquoA fever meant the body temperature was high, and starving a person would slow down metabolism, bring down body temperature, and could stop stoking the fires.&rdquo

Feeding a cold is good practice, but so is feeding a fever, says Dr. Bergquist. &ldquoYour body needs nutrients to help the immune system mount a strong response.&rdquo So, getting food in your system is essential for both. And listening to your body is even more important. Keeping up your calorie intake is a good idea. If your cold or fever has altered your appetite, however, don&rsquot force it.

While it may be different from the old-school &ldquofeed a cold, starve a fever&rdquo advice, here, doctors share some great ways to get you back on your feet.


Should You Really Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever?

We&rsquove probably all heard the classic &ldquofeed a cold, starve a fever&rdquo advice. But if it&rsquos the advice you&rsquore living by, it might be time to reconsider your tactics the next time you feel a bug coming your way. Turns out that ancient phrase is only half right.

The thinking started in the 1500s, explains Sharon Bergquist, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at Emory University. &ldquoThere was a belief that a person had a cold because their body temperature was low, and feeding could increase their temperature and help fight the illness,&rdquo she says. &ldquoA fever meant the body temperature was high, and starving a person would slow down metabolism, bring down body temperature, and could stop stoking the fires.&rdquo

Feeding a cold is good practice, but so is feeding a fever, says Dr. Bergquist. &ldquoYour body needs nutrients to help the immune system mount a strong response.&rdquo So, getting food in your system is essential for both. And listening to your body is even more important. Keeping up your calorie intake is a good idea. If your cold or fever has altered your appetite, however, don&rsquot force it.

While it may be different from the old-school &ldquofeed a cold, starve a fever&rdquo advice, here, doctors share some great ways to get you back on your feet.


Should You Really Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever?

We&rsquove probably all heard the classic &ldquofeed a cold, starve a fever&rdquo advice. But if it&rsquos the advice you&rsquore living by, it might be time to reconsider your tactics the next time you feel a bug coming your way. Turns out that ancient phrase is only half right.

The thinking started in the 1500s, explains Sharon Bergquist, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at Emory University. &ldquoThere was a belief that a person had a cold because their body temperature was low, and feeding could increase their temperature and help fight the illness,&rdquo she says. &ldquoA fever meant the body temperature was high, and starving a person would slow down metabolism, bring down body temperature, and could stop stoking the fires.&rdquo

Feeding a cold is good practice, but so is feeding a fever, says Dr. Bergquist. &ldquoYour body needs nutrients to help the immune system mount a strong response.&rdquo So, getting food in your system is essential for both. And listening to your body is even more important. Keeping up your calorie intake is a good idea. If your cold or fever has altered your appetite, however, don&rsquot force it.

While it may be different from the old-school &ldquofeed a cold, starve a fever&rdquo advice, here, doctors share some great ways to get you back on your feet.


Should You Really Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever?

We&rsquove probably all heard the classic &ldquofeed a cold, starve a fever&rdquo advice. But if it&rsquos the advice you&rsquore living by, it might be time to reconsider your tactics the next time you feel a bug coming your way. Turns out that ancient phrase is only half right.

The thinking started in the 1500s, explains Sharon Bergquist, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at Emory University. &ldquoThere was a belief that a person had a cold because their body temperature was low, and feeding could increase their temperature and help fight the illness,&rdquo she says. &ldquoA fever meant the body temperature was high, and starving a person would slow down metabolism, bring down body temperature, and could stop stoking the fires.&rdquo

Feeding a cold is good practice, but so is feeding a fever, says Dr. Bergquist. &ldquoYour body needs nutrients to help the immune system mount a strong response.&rdquo So, getting food in your system is essential for both. And listening to your body is even more important. Keeping up your calorie intake is a good idea. If your cold or fever has altered your appetite, however, don&rsquot force it.

While it may be different from the old-school &ldquofeed a cold, starve a fever&rdquo advice, here, doctors share some great ways to get you back on your feet.


Should You Really Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever?

We&rsquove probably all heard the classic &ldquofeed a cold, starve a fever&rdquo advice. But if it&rsquos the advice you&rsquore living by, it might be time to reconsider your tactics the next time you feel a bug coming your way. Turns out that ancient phrase is only half right.

The thinking started in the 1500s, explains Sharon Bergquist, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at Emory University. &ldquoThere was a belief that a person had a cold because their body temperature was low, and feeding could increase their temperature and help fight the illness,&rdquo she says. &ldquoA fever meant the body temperature was high, and starving a person would slow down metabolism, bring down body temperature, and could stop stoking the fires.&rdquo

Feeding a cold is good practice, but so is feeding a fever, says Dr. Bergquist. &ldquoYour body needs nutrients to help the immune system mount a strong response.&rdquo So, getting food in your system is essential for both. And listening to your body is even more important. Keeping up your calorie intake is a good idea. If your cold or fever has altered your appetite, however, don&rsquot force it.

While it may be different from the old-school &ldquofeed a cold, starve a fever&rdquo advice, here, doctors share some great ways to get you back on your feet.