Experts have revealed whether six food staples and supplements really prevent colds and flu.
High-sugar diets raise risks for heart disease, obesity and diabetes, but we do love our sweets, so health experts have tried to suggest alternatives, and honey has been foremost among them.
While honey has long been praised for reducing the symptoms of colds, science reveals it does little more than soothe sore throats.
Honey is actually sweeter than sugar is, which means, in theory at least, that you could enhance flavor equally with a smaller quantity of honey.
Although an old wives tale claims chicken soup cures a host of ailments, it may simply provide a comforting meal and hydration boost, according to dietitian and British Dietetic Association spokesperson Aisling Pigott.
But honey actually has a higher calorie count. It may have more minerals, which looks better on a label but, in reality, these are such trace amounts that they don't offer any real advantages.
So, while cutting sugar intake is a good idea, stocking up on raw, organic honey instead might not be.
Although often hailed for reducing the severity and symptoms of colds, a 2014 Cochrane review into 24 studies found the flower supplement does not significantly reduce the length of time people suffer with the sniffles.
Honey's reputation as a medicine is not wholly unfounded.
Ms Pigott claims there is insufficient evidence to recommend echinacea, however, if people wish to take the supplement it will unlikely do them any harm.
Some honey does indeed have antibacterial properties. One byproduct of enzymes in honey is hydrogen peroxide, a powerful germ killer.
Plus, honey's texture and consistency are good for keeping wounds clean, and bad for bugs that might want to infect them.
An old wives tale praises honey for soothing sore throats and suppressing coughs, however, there is little evidence to support this, with many 'pro-honey' studies being funded by companies with conflicts of interest, according to Ms Pigott.
Honey is moist and its gooey consistency means it can easily spread over and stay over wounds while keeping the tissue from becoming dry and fragile.
She adds, however, honey is harmless providing people are aware of its high-sugar content and unsuitability to children under one due to the risk of botulism.
The sticky substance is also adept at breaking up biofilms that allow bacteria to accumulate and multiply. It is particularly well-known for fighting bacteria like staph, salmonella, E. Coli and certain bacteria that can infect the gut and cause ulcers.
Zinc lozenges 锌锭
Zinc lozenges have been shown to reduce the duration of cold symptoms, such as nasal congestion, coughing and a sore throat, however, dietitian Lauren McGuckin warns many contain high amounts of sugar.
However, scientists can only say this for sure about Makuna and Malaysian Tualang honey. We don't know yet whether local home grown honey has the same potency - or safety.
People may be better off upping their food sources by eating more seafood, lamb, beef and pumpkin seeds.
A hot cup of tea with some honey stirred in certainly sounds like it would make you feel better. But it's difficult to say for sure that it will.
Chicken soup 鸡汤
When you have a cold, contact with warm water (from tea) may help to bust up phlegm that blocks your airways. But some suspect the real secret to the soothing qualities of a cuppa is in the honey.
Ms Pigott told NetDoctor: 'There is little evidence to suggest that "chicken soup" per se reduces the symptoms of a cold.'
There are studies that suggest that honey does work as well or better than cough suppressant drugs like Robitussin.
She adds, however, the warming and nutritious meal may help restore sufferers' energy levels, as well as giving them a hydration boost.
Most of these, however were considered by the academic world to be widely misinterpreted by the media.
Ms McGuckin said: 'Garlic contains a compound called allicin, which has been shown to be beneficial for the immune system.
One of the findings that seems to have given the honey trend some additional legs came from a study that said there was 'no difference,' statistically speaking, between honey and one particular cough suppressant.
'However, the way in which garlic is processed can affect the potency of allicin.'
Some academics have argued that the cough suppressant in question, dextromethorphan, is not particularly effective to begin with, and the study reported 'no difference' in effectiveness, meaning they could simply both work poorly for treating sore throats.
She therefore recommends people crush, slice or dice garlic to reap the biggest benefits.
As is the case for its benefits for wound treatment, the moisture and viscosity of honey may be somewhat soothing to irritated tissue.
A 2015 Cochrane study review also found garlic is effective at treating and preventing sniffles.
A few years ago, honey seemed to suddenly become a hot topic of scientific research.
Vitamin C 维生素C
Studies were linking the natural sweetener to benefits for leading health concerns, including infertility and dementia, and spurring health fanatics to label honey 'liquid gold.'
Vitamin C is critical to the proper functioning of the immune system, however, evidence suggests it only reduces the length of colds, rather than preventing them.
One of these, conducted in 2011, compared menopausal women taking a honey 'supplement' (it was just honey) to those taking estrogen and others taking nothing.
Dietitian and BDA spokesperson Amanda Squire still recommends people with colds up their vitamin-C consumption via citrus fruits as these sharp flavours may ease congestion and, when taken with honey and warm water, can be soothing.
Menopause comes with an estrogen decline that often coincides with impaired memory for women.
A healthy, balanced diet also gives people's bodies a better chance of fighting off viral infections, such as colds.
The honey-taking women seemed to have slightly better memories, and thus local, organic (and expensive) honey got a new identity as 'brain food'.
Vitamin C is found in all fruits and vegetables but is particularly high in citrus, red peppers, berries, kale and broccoli.
It's true that honey contains antioxidants which have protective effects against cell damage that occurs as we age.
But after that study's publication in 2011, Dr Natalie Rasgon of the Stanford School of Medicine, who studies estrogen and cognition in women, was deeply dubious in an interview with Reuters.
'This is not a scientifically rigorous study,' she said.
'I can’t understand how they can compare honey to estrogen. Honey is not even a supplement.'
As for fertility, studies assert a range of possible reasons and ways honey could help - but the main thing they have in common is their small size.