It might feel like everyone around you is coming down with a cold, and it might seem like a good idea to stay home and watch Netflix for the rest of your life in order to avoid getting sick. That sounds lovely but unattainable. Instead of rummaging through your medicine cabinet for cold relief pills, head into your kitchen!
Food staples like garlic and onion have been used by people for centuries for their antiviral and antibacterial properties. Turmeric is known to reduce inflammation, and ginger can prevent the common cold. Let's dive into different natural options for boosting your immune system and helping to fight off germs.
Cold Fighting Foods
Apple Cider Vinegar – Is a good source of vitamin C and acetic acid, which boosts your immune system. Apple cider vinegar contains mineral salts, amino acids, helps with digestion and washes out toxins. Consuming it will boost your immune system, and help you fight off those pesky germs.
Try: Use apple cider vinegar in your salad dressing or mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a teaspoon of honey and to help alleviate a nasty cough.
Garlic – Treats high blood pressure, high cholesterol, fungal infections, and helps regulate blood sugar. It is great for boosting the immune system. Studies have shown that colds were 61% shorter for people who consumed 2.56 grams of garlic a day.
Try: Put sliced garlic cloves in your salad. Slicing garlic before consuming t increases the amount of allicin - fungus and virus-fighting ingredient in garlic. Do not overcook garlic, like this, in turn, reduces the allicin content.
Onion – Is anti-inflammatory and beneficial to cardiovascular health. It can help with alleviating upper respiratory tract irritation. According to several folklore beliefs, onions can absorb bacteria from the air, so people have been known to set out an onion head cut in half on their bed stand. Try this if you wish, but I recommend consuming the onion!
Try: Slice an onion head and coat it generously with honey, then leave in refrigerator overnight. This will get rid of the fiery taste that’s tough for most people to deal with. Plus, the honey is an added cough fighting bonus!
Hot Peppers (habaneros, jalapeños) – Have anti-irritant properties. They can help digestion, ease allergies, prevent migraines and speed up metabolism. If you ever felt like your sinuses cleared up after eating a piece of spicy pepper, you are on the right track.
Try: Add a few slices of jalapeños to a fish fillet, or try a whimsical honey and jalapeño toast.
Ginger – Reduces inflammation, stimulates circulation, and inhibits rhinovirus – which causes the common cold. Juiced ginger is a great virus and bacteria fighting tool. But beware of ginger chews sold in stores. Those are packed with sugar, which is not your friend while sick.
Try: Juice ginger root and add it to any broth-based soup or plain broth. Add a pinch of sea salt, ginger juice and lemon juice to bone broth to create an earthy and warm cold busting concoction.
Horseradish – Has antibiotic properties, helps relieve symptoms of water retention, and treats sinus infections, urinary tract infections, and bronchitis. The taste alone will clear your sinuses right up, and after the initial reaction, horseradish will keep working for you by attacking infections.
Try: Make a homemade horseradish salad dressing by combining finely grated horseradish, lemon, honey, olive oil, and dried oregano. Yum!
Turmeric Powder – Boosts immunity, helps maintain normal cholesterol levels, is anti-inflammatory, and has beneficial effects on arthritis, allergies, asthma and even cancer. In England, it is common to consume curries when one is sick. This tradition has an explanation - curries are full of turmeric! By adding powdered turmeric to your diet, you can help speed up runny nose recovery, and throat irritation.
Try: Add turmeric to your morning coffee, a smoothie, your rice, your eggs. If you are not in the mood - there are plenty of turmeric powder capsules on the market.
Staying healthy during the winter months has a lot to do with what we put into our body. But don’t forget to take care of yourself in other ways too. Always wash your hands after being in populated areas. Get plenty of rest, hydrate, and should you catch a nasty bug anyway - avoid dairy and sugar until you are better.