‘Don’t eat curd when you have cold!’ — Is there any merit to this? We find out

Doctors South First spoke to said that curd/yoghurt is rich in probiotics, which play a crucial role in gut health and overall immunity.

ByChetana Belagere

Published Dec 13, 2023 | 1:00 PMUpdatedDec 13, 2023 | 1:00 PM

Natural yoghurt or curd is rich in probiotics. (Wikimedia Commons)

In many parts of the world, yoghurt or curd has long been a staple in various diets. However, its consumption when someone has a runny nose — aka the common cold — often raises questions.

Dr Sonali Vaid, physician and public health professional, recently took to X to bring clarity to this confusion. Meanwhile, South First spoke to a few doctors regarding the safety of consuming curd when suffering from the common cold.

Curd and the common cold

A common cold is a viral infection that affects the upper respiratory tract. Symptoms typically include a runny nose, cough, sore throat, sneezing, and sometimes a mild fever. The common cold, while uncomfortable, is usually not serious.

Speaking to South First, Dr Gopikrishna G, physician and paediatrician at Sevakshetra Hospital in Bengaluru, said that yoghurt or curd is very well known for its probiotic content. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that play a crucial role in gut health and overall immunity.

“A significant portion of the immune system resides in the gut. Probiotics in yoghurt help maintain a healthy balance of gut flora, which is essential for a robust immune system. Regular consumption of probiotics can enhance the body’s immune response.

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Is it safe to eat curd when you have cold?

Absolutely yes, say doctors. Taking to X, Dr Sonali Vaid said, “I have a cold and I am having two bowls of yoghurt every day. And I am still alive. Having dahi when you have a cold is OK. Yoghurt has probiotics. Have good old dahi instead of buying tiny bottles of over-sweet probiotics which have been smartly marketed — you know what I mean,” she posted.

Dr Vaid’s recommendation to choose natural yoghurt over commercial probiotic supplements is noteworthy. Natural yoghurt is not only more cost-effective but often contains a broader spectrum of probiotic strains than over-sweetened, marketed probiotic drinks.

Additionally, natural yoghurt is free from excessive sugars and preservatives, making it a healthier choice.

Also Read: Is there a link between mode of birth and gut microbiota?

No evidence that curd is bad for cold

Dr Gopikrishna said that there is no evidence to suggest that eating curd worsens cold symptoms. However, moderation is key.

He added, “Regular consumption of probiotic-rich foods as part of a balanced diet is thus considered a proactive strategy for maintaining immune health and resilience against common infections like the cold. This doesn’t mean it cures a cold, but it can potentially help the body in dealing with infections.”

There’s a common belief that dairy products like yoghurt can increase mucus production. However, scientific evidence on this is mixed.

“Some people may experience increased mucus after consuming dairy, while others do not. However, eating curd straight out of the refrigerator may not be a good idea,” stated Dr Gopirkrishna.

Doctors explained that along with yoghurt, incorporating Vitamin C-rich foods can be beneficial in managing cold symptoms. Fruits like oranges, lemons, and berries can be a healthy addition.

They added that staying hydrated, resting, and maintaining a balanced diet are equally important in managing cold symptoms.