Hot Indian curry can help keep winter cold at bay

London: Feeling like getting a cold? Rush for a hot curry laced with fenugreek, as it acts like a "winter elixir" and could help you keep the winter cold at bay, a leading Indian-origin nutritionist has claimed.

Fenugreek, a common ingredient in Indian cuisine, is rich with antiviral properties that not only alleviate cold and flu symptoms but also prevent the conditions starting in the first place, said Anglo-Indian chef Gurpareet Bains.

Bains, who authored the book `Indian Superfood`, carried out a test involving 20 volunteers during a three-month winter period.

During the test period, the volunteers, 10 of whom had colds and flu symptoms, consumed half a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds twice a week in a curry.

The cold-afflicted volunteers reported immediate and sustained relief from symptoms of runny nose, cough, sneezing, sore throat and tiredness.

Volunteers, who were fit and healthy at the outset, remained that way for the duration of the trial, despite usually coming down with a cold at least once in the same period.

"We already know that some foods and spices can help alleviate the symptoms of the cold, but the results of these studies show that fenugreek is significantly more beneficial," Bains was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

"I couldn`t call this a miracle ingredient but it`s not far off," he said and added that he was planning further clinical trials with the help of an American university.

Fenugreek, also called Greek hay and wild clover, has been recognised as having medicinal properties for centuries.