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Food for Colds & Flus
Pete D pulling heavy at the CF Total
As the east coast gets hit hard by the seasonal flu and those of us living in the Bay brace for another bout of chilly weather, I'm sure we're all being mindful of how not to get sick. When it comes to fighting off a cold or a flu it's all about prevention and the best way to do this is by building up your immune system. Tonight I'll be sharing some fortifying foods that you may want to stock up on this time of year.
#1 Fermented Foods & Drinks
Since colds and flus are caused by bacteria and viruses invading your body, having enough healthy bacteria is paramount to strengthening your immune system and warding off the nasty critters that can take over. The Greek origin of the word "probiotics" meaning "for life", which should give you a clue about how vital it is to your health. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that are found in fermented foods such as yogurt, pickled veggies like sauerkraut, and my personal favorite, kombucha. If you don't like any of these foods, consider taking a probiotic supplement. You can find these in most health food stores in the refrigerated section next of the vitamin aisle.
#2 Cinnamon-Ginger Tea
Hot teas can really help alleviate congestion and soothe a sore throat. Drinking plenty of fluids such as water and non-caffeinated teas can also keep you well hydrated. One of my favorite warming elixirs for those cold winter nights is made with just two simple ingredients: ginger and cinnamon. Both are naturally spicy and when combined, can literally raise your temperature from the inside out. In addition to its warming properties, ginger root is a powerful anti-inflammatory food which can be helpful if your nose and throat are inflamed. And the natural oils in cinnamon have been used traditionally as an anti-microbial, making it the perfect addition to this ultra healing tea.
- Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.
- While you're waiting for the water to boil, chop 1 medium-sized ginger root into large pieces leaving the skin on.
- Add 3-5 sticks of cinnamon and ginger to the pot. Turn down the heat, cover the pot, and let it simmer for about 20 minutes.
#3 Vitamin C Rich Vegetables
I cannot write a post about immune-supportive foods without including a word about vitamin C. This vitamin has long been an ally in our fight against the common cold. But while most people think of OJ or citrus foods as their go-to food, vegetables such as parsley, cauliflower and mustard greens have some of the highest levels of vitamin C. Mostly I think this is because oranges taste better than kale. One final word about vitamin C is that it is extremely susceptible to damage from exposure to air. For example, the flesh of a fruit or vegetable loses its vitamin C content the longer it is left out in the open air. This means you should eat your produce immediately upon slicing into it in order to get all the beneficial vitamin C from this food.