Ah yes, it’s that time of the year again. The weather is getting a little lousy and the germs are out in full force. If you feel the dreaded sore throat and snuffles coming for you, instead of reaching instantly for the cold and flu tablets, why not kick sickness in the ass with some great natural immunity boosters?
First up: Ginger
This crazy little root vegetable can work wonders! Why? Well, it’s an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic for starters. Meaning it can soothe your body and start helping your immune system do its job. It naturally contains chemicals called sesquiterpenes, look out we’re about to get sciency up in here… which attack rhinoviruses, the most common type of cold. It also helps stimulate perspiration (yep, you’re about to get sweaty) which helps cool down your body and cleanse out your whole system. PLUS it’s an antihistamine, a decongestant, a natural pain alleviator and a mild sedative. Yup, it’s the little nugget that packs a serious punch! So load it into whatever you can. Particularly, juices, smoothies, teas and soups.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and can seriously help you to feel perkier again when you’re down. Vitamin C helps the body form and maintain connective tissue so you’re repairing constantly plus it helps fight free radicals (they sound more fun than they are) who can diminish your immune system. It also aids in the absorption of iron so you can feel strong again. But vitamin C doesn’t just come in the form of oranges. Dig into some dark leafy greens (like kale and spinach) broccoli, capsicums (especially red ones!) apples, asparagus, berries, kiwi fruit … just to name a few.
Being Greek this is already a serious staple in my every day, but garlic is SO good for you! The allicin (technical stuff) in the cloves acts like a natural antibiotic so it’ll battle the bad bacteria in your body. People say you should chew on the raw cloves or pop them like pills but sticking some in your chicken soup should probably do the trick without losing you all your friends and probably your boyfriend/girlfriend too.
It’s the new hot superfood. But this spice has been curing colds for centuries. It’s antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and some even say anti-cancerous. Now, I don’t claim to know about that but the first few mean it’s a killer ingredient to fight the common cold.
Take it in the form of tea (particularly with lemon and honey, a natural soother) to steam up those nostrils again. Take it in the form of heeeeeaps of water. Juices. However you can get it in, make sure you’re constantly flushing the toxins out of your body out. Things that dehydrate like wine and coffee do not count here.
Most importantly… give yourself time to REST. Yes, it’s easy to feel guilty not working out when you’re sick, but putting additional stresses on your body on further slow the process and leave you feeling gross for longer. Let yourself recover and you’ll be back smashing it before you know it!
Leah Itsines is part of the Women’s Health Fitfluential Network, she’s an Aussie food blogger on a mission to bring healthy back through the use of creativity in the kitchen. Leah believes that being healthy should be delicious and easy with an abundance of different foods!