It happens to the best of us. Right in the middle of the hottest months, when we’re staying cool by eating light and being active, the summer cold strikes. While it’s tempting to take over-the-counter medications and dose with vitamins, a nutritional approach is both less expensive and kinder on your body. A diet rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, for example, strengthens your immune system and doesn’t make you groggy.
Another reason to tackle your throat and nose tickle with foods instead of the pharmacy is, fresh foods contains a spectrum of nutrition that works synergistically. A vitamin C capsule delivers Vitamin C, but an orange gives you Vitamins, A, B6 and C, magnesium, calcium and potassium!
Being struck by the cold and flu is misery, but it’s wise to resist the quick fix and take the long cure. Here are some more nutritional tips for treating cold and flu that can have you back in beach volleyball shape in no time.
Hot, Hot, Hot
lt would seem counter-intuitive to turn up the heat in your food in the middle of summer, but when you’re congested and sneezy and wheezy, hot and spicy foods can be a highly effective decongestant. Before you reach for sleep-inducing, nose-drying pseudoephedrine products, check out the produce and condiment aisle and reach for 3-alarm chili peppers, fresh ginger or vaporizing wasabi. All those hot foods that make your eyes tear and your nose drip in Indian restaurants and sushi bars can act as nature’s drain cleaner when you’re sinuses are clogged.
Water or Wilt
It’s a familiar nag. Drink plenty of water! Hydration is important, especially when you’re under the weather. But, when you’re feeling miserable and can hardly breathe, it’s easy to feel too lazy to refill that glass of water. Keeping a large pitcher of lemon or cucumber water next to you will give you incentive to keep drinking fluids throughout the day. Drinking pure fruit juices also supplies important nutrients and speeds recovery. A mixture of apple cider vinegar, honey and cayenne pepper in water is another effective elixir.
Boost Your Immunity
In addition to the vitamins and minerals in fruits and vegetables, amino acids and enzymes play an important role in cellular recovery and immune system strength. Including lots of lean meats, poultry, fish and eggs in your diet will supply iron, zinc and other important amino acids. Light broth, miso and vegetable soups also help you recover. No wonder chicken soup has been called nature’s antibiotic!
Chicken Soup for the Cold-Weary Soul
Soothing to the throat, calming to the nerves and warming to the bones, this chicken soup recipe is good for what ails you.
- 1 3 ½- to 4-pound chicken
- 6 carrots
- 4 celery stalks
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1 tsp. powdered or grated fresh turmeric
- 1 tsp. fresh grated ginger root
- 2 cups fresh parsley sprigs
- 2 ½ tsp. grey or pink sea salt
- 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
Place the chicken in a large pot. Cut carrots and celery stalks into 1-inch pieces. Quarter the onion. Add the cut vegetables to the pot with the salt, peppercorns, ginger, turmeric and spices. Add enough cold water to cover two inches above (about 8 cups). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, skimming any foam that rises to the top, until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a bowl, letting it cool. Strain the broth, reserving the vegetables in a separate bowl. Return the broth to the pot and add back vegetables. Simmer for several more minutes while shredding the chicken meat then add the chicken to the soup. Ladle into individual bowls, garnish with parsley.
Cold & Flu Busting Power Drink
With the enzymatic action of apple cider vinegar, the natural antibiotic properties of raw honey and the super heating power of cayenne pepper, this drink is a antioxidant superhero. Drink at the first signs of illness, or sip throughout the day for quicker return to health.
To an 8 oz. glass of spring or mineral water add:
- squeeze of lemon
- 1 tablespoon raw, organic honey
- a pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Stir it up and drink it down for an invigorating, congestion clearing and heartwarming remedy.