Winter is the time when you may find yourself needing a boost of superfoods to help your immune system through the long cold months, and believe it or not you may have these eight of our favourites already lurking in your cupboards, ready to lend a healy boosting hand - turmeric, garlic, ginger, herbal tea, oats, eggs, citrus fruits and almonds!
Turmeric is an antibacterial and antiviral substance that is often found in the spice rack. It has been used for more than 4,000 years to help get rid of coughs. This is due to the curcumin inside, which is the active ingredient within the yellow powder. It is made up of the curcuminoids that include, diferuloylmethane. This element, found in the highest proportion, lends it’s colour and medicinal properties to the spice.
Anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric help to relieve chest congestion that causes chronic coughs. Sipping a batch of homemade turmeric milk can sooth a sore throat, ease nasal congestion, and reduce the duration and severity of a cold. The recipe below should be sipped throughout winter.
- 2 cups organic full-fat coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon ground organic turmeric
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh organic ginger (or 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger)
- 2 black organic peppercorns, crushed
- 1/4 tsp organic cinnamon powder
- Liquid Stevia or raw honey to taste (optional)
Place all ingredients in a saucepan on medium heat, stirring frequently. Sweeten to taste. Pour through a strainer into a mug and drink hot.
Garlic is a true superfood, it has been found to be one of the best antimicrobial substances that we know of.
"It's antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, anti-protozoan and anti-viral,” says Paul Bergner, Director of The North American Institute of Herbal Medicine and author of The Healing Power of Garlic.
Studies show that raw garlic is even more powerful than penicillin and tetracycline at destroying bacteria within our bodies, while enhancing the immune system, and not putting it under strain like antibiotics can.
Dr. Abdullah from the Akbar Clinic and Research Centre in Florida, found that “raw garlic dramatically increased the powers of the immune system's natural killer cells”. Abdullah believes that garlic could even be used to help those suffering with AIDS.
Ginger is famed for its anti-viral and anti inflammatory properties. This spicy plant is native to South Asia, and showed in a study in the Journal of Pain that it could act as a pain reliever without the negative side effects of normal anti-inflammatory treatments.
It is also beneficial as a cold remedy, and a recipe for fresh ginger tea is shared here:
Finely grate or juice 1-2 lbs of fresh, organic ginger, keep covered in your refrigerator, and then follow the recipe below:
- 3-6 tablespoons of the prepared ginger
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tablespoon of raw honey
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Fill with hot water
- Drink 2 -6 cups per day to alleviate your symptoms and clear up your cold quickly.
Rooibos, mint and chai are all great teas for winter health. They contain powerful flavonoid antioxidants that keep your blood and circulation flowing healthily. Taking tea without sugar and milk will further enhance the positive effects of drinking a cup of herbal tea.
Oats are a fantastic quick to make, easy to get hold of and cheap but filling food. They supply a good dose of fibre, protein, B vitamins, and minerals including magnesium and phosphorus. When our bodies are low in vital nutrients this can quickly cause our immune system to function below par.
Winter is the perfect time to enjoy citrus fruit. Oranges, lemons and grapefruits are at their peak over this season and have high concentrations of minerals and antioxidants. They are abundant and inexpensive to buy. They have heaps of immune system boosting vitamin C, fibre, carotenoids, as well as potassium to regulate nerve function and fluid balance.
Almonds are an impressive super food to keep stashed in your cupboard. Eating a handful of these nuts on a regular basis will keep you stocked up with healthy fats, vitamin E, fibre and amino acids, which all help to keep cholesterol levels within the healthy ranges. The nuts also contain a hearty dose of calcium too, making them a great option for those who prefer not to obtain calcium from cow’s milk.
Eggs are packed with protein, essential minerals, folate and vitamin B12. They are also a source of two antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, usually found only in vegetables and fruits. They may play a part in preventing macular degeneration of the eye, a common cause of blindness. Eggs are a quick and easy source of protein to have on standby in the fridge throughout winter!
Superfoods Already in Your Home
The superfoods above are found in many peoples homes without them realising these simple staple foods deserve superfood status.
In winter it is vital we still pay close attention to what type of food we are putting into our bodies, as loading up on nutritious foods could mean you suffer less down time with a cold or cough when it strikes, or may mean you don’t get ill at all during the winter months. Now wouldn’t that be nice!
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