By Oliver Perez. Voz de Guanacaste – The climate of Costa Rica makes it easy to catch colds, but often we make mistakes that worsen the condition or favour catching a cold. Specialists explain the need to be informed before resorting to some home remedies for treating colds.

The lime n Costa Rica it is called limón (lemon). A yellow lemon is called a "limón persa" (as per AutoMercado).
The lime n Costa Rica it is called limón (lemon in English). A yellow lemon is called a “limón persa” (as per AutoMercado). This is not to be confused with the “green” oranges or the limes that are orange on the inside.

Myth 1: Hot lemonade with honey: Bee honey has antiseptic properties that help reduce infection in the throat (esophagus), but sugar increases the coefficient of carbon dioxide, which means that the cough increases, although it generates relief at the time. Lemon is rich in vitamin C, which boosts defenses, but when it is heated, the vitamin C is destroyed.

“As an option, people can choose to grate ginger, combine it with hot water and drink it in tea; in addition, they can consume freshly squeezed lemon, lime or orange juice without heating it to keep the vitamin C intact,” highlights nutritionist Melania Cevo.

Myth 2: Warm milk with oregano: warm milk creates a sense of well-being but the reality is that if we have the flu with a cough and phlegm, it is best not to consume high amounts of dairy products as these increase the formation of phlegm. On the other hand, oregano is recommended, since it functions as an expectorant, but in vegetable soup.

Myth 3: Eat a lot of meat: It is true that protein is important, but very fatty meats or products containing fats like fried foods, butter, aged cheeses and sausages contain fats that lower the defenses, so it is best to avoid them both when sick and to prevent sickness.

“Given the need to take in protein when we are sick, we recommend moderate consumption of meat rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which raise defenses and are easy to digest. In addition, during flu, small portions of fish are preferred,” adds Dr. Cevo.

Natural Foods that Boost Defenses

In Costa Rica we can find a variety of natural alternatives, affirmed Dr. Melania Cevo, who recommended some products to strengthen the respiratory tract and defenses:• Echinacea from Purple Coneflower (boosts defenses)

• Cat’s Claw/Uña de Gato (boosts defenses)

• Garlic (boosts defenses, prevents infections, lowers pressure)

• Acidic Lemon, Sweet Lemon, Orange (boosts defenses, are rich in vitamin C and potassium)

• Ginger (natural antiseptic, excellent for the digestive tract)

• Bamboo Tea (natural expectorant, helps reduce episodes of coughing quickly)

• Propolis (natural broad spectrum antibiotic)

The specialist also recommended some practices that help reduce symptoms and promote recovery.

“Remember to hydrate well, 2-3 litred of water a day when you have the flu. Also consume juices and natural fruit drinks with no added sugar and meats rich in Omega 3,” recommended Dr. Cevo.