8 Drinks That Fight Off Colds

Why does cold season happen when it does? There's a simple explanation for the increase in cold viruses during the winter months: when it's cold outside, people tend to stay indoors, cuddled up next to each other, creating the perfect environment for viruses to spread. In the warm, summer months, people tend to spend more time outdoors, breathing in fresh air instead of lungfuls of germs. But knowing why cold season hits us during the worst time of year doesn't make your cold any easier to deal with — so what does? While you can reach for the medicine cabinet, over-the-counter drugs can have unfortunate side-effects and usually mask symptoms without actually working to make you feel better. Instead, we suggest you try some delicious drinks that can soothe your throat, open your sinuses, and boost your immune system.

8 Drinks That Fight Off Colds (Slideshow)

Dr. Deepa Verma of Synergistiq Integrative Health explains that there's a good reason to reach for a mug of hot tea when you're feeling sniffly. "Warm and hot drinks — as opposed to chilled drinks — help fight infections because they boost immunity; heat strengthens the immune barrier."

So while it's unpleasant that cold season hits us while we're already feeling bored and stuck indoors, the fact that winter-time hot drinks are especially good for you is a definite silver lining. While it's pleasant to curl up with a hot cup at various times throughout the day, however, it's  not a great idea to have nothing more than a cup of tea in your system all day — if you've got a bad cold, you might want to consider turning to the blender for your breakfast. "Protein rich, non-dairy fruit smoothies are excellent for colds," Dr. Verma tells us. "Avoid dairy as much as possible, especially when you're ill, as dairy is inflammatory and causes an increase in mucus and congestion. Try almond, soy, coconut, or rice milks."

With the help of Dr. Verma, we've created a list of the 8 best drinks — warm and chilled — to help ward off your cold this winter.