When we think of fall and winter, we think about snuggling up with a hot cup of cocoa in front of a fire place, or grabbing a pumpkin spice latte and dressing up for the holiday season. What we definitely don’t think about is not being able to get out of bed because of stuffy noses and irritating coughs! The flu season comes around every year, yet our bodies never seem prepared for it! The excitement of the holiday season always leaves us unprepared for the downers that come with it.
Sure, a visit to the doctor to get your flu shots will help, but let’s not forget that nature has given us its own vaccines and cures to fight the dreaded flu! First and foremost, remember to drink lots of water; keeping hydrated is the best way to flush out toxins from your body and keep it functioning at its best.
Next, everyone knows that the high content of vitamin C in citrus fruits will help your immune system fight off the flu, but there are a few of nature’s other gifts that are packed full of nutrients to help us through our cold. Here are some you can try to help get you in tip top shape:
Ginger is one of Mother Nature’s most potent anti-inflammatory remedies. This root has been used over the ages to treat many ailments like indigestion, nausea, and the common cold and flu. Ginger inhibits the growth of bacteria in the body, helping fight off respiratory infections, and the anti-inflammatory properties get rid of aches in the body associated with the flu.
Make some ginger tea for some quick soothing relief from the flu. Pour boiling water over a couple of slices of fresh ginger, add a squeeze of lemon and a teaspoon of honey in a mug. Let it steep for a few minutes, then sip and let it work its magic.
Ginseng has been used for thousands of years as an herbal medicine for allergies and inflammation. It also provides relief from fatigue. The root is similar to ginger in the way that it fights the flu, but works better as a preventative measure rather than a cure. Studies on ginseng have found that it can help battle respiratory infections that can lead to pneumonia and bronchitis.
Ginseng is traditionally used in tea. The tea is similar to ginger tea and just as easy to make. Shave some ginseng into a mug and pour over some hot water (not boiling) and let it steep for 5 minutes. Add some honey to taste and enjoy!
Dark leafy greens are packed full of nutrients. When you’re looking to fight off infections with greens, skip the iceberg lettuce and go for darker leaves like kale, spinach, or arugula. These leaves are full of vitamins A, C, and K; plus the fiber content is great for digestion. Kale will also increase your white blood cell count to help fight off infections in the body.
Use kale as an addition to your next salad, or then up your snack game with kale chips. Remove the stems from your desired amount of kale, spread them on a baking sheet, and sprinkle with olive oil. Make sure all the leaves are coated and massage them gently. Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 12-15 minutes. Make sure the leaves don’t brown. Sprinkle with kosher salt while they’re still hot, then let them cool and munch away.
Raw garlic holds within it a little secret called allicin. The allicin is released when the cloves are bruised; this is actually something the bulb uses as a defense against being eaten by critters, but it is an active component in garlic that is antibacterial, antifungal and antibiotic. Garlic has been used in many ways since ancient times as a cure. It is high in manganese, vitamin B6 and C to help build immunity and fight the flu and common cold.
Since only raw garlic possesses allicin, chewing on a clove is the best way to ingest all the nutrients. If you have trouble doing that, try thinly slicing a clove and adding it on top of anything you eat; anything from a slice of pizza, some pasta, or even a salad!
5. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are a popular superfood loved by all health nuts. These seeds are packed full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help counter the symptoms of the flu. Chia seeds also help with digestion; digestion problems can hinder the absorption of nutrients and lower immunity, making getting rid of the flu a mission.
Make a delicious chia pudding! Add 2 tablespoons of chia seeds to every half cup of milk (almond, soy, or any that you prefer), in a jar. Mix the seeds into the milk and wait a couple of minutes; mix them again, and add honey or maple syrup to taste. Cover the jar and leave overnight. In the morning, you have a delicious, nutritious breakfast pudding!
This is one you probably didn’t think of! Oysters carry more zinc per serving than any other food. Zinc has proven to shorten the lifespan of flues and colds but is very harsh to take in a pill form because of its side effects. So, we suggest oysters because of their zinc potency.
The best way to eat an oyster is straight from the shell. However, eating it absolutely raw can have a few other health risks, so we suggest squeezing some lemon and sprinkling a little bit of salt on top to help cure the seafood; this will act as a form of cooking. Then, tilt your head back and slide the oyster into your mouth!
There are many other foods that pack a punch with all their nutrients. Mother Nature may be the one making us a little sick, but she has also given us many cures, just go out and find the right one for you!