Monday, April 25

Good Eating Monday: Herbs & Spices to Fight Colds

I came home from a conference this past weekend with a slight cold, so I felt inspired today to write about some of the surprising  herbs & spices right in your cabinet or even in your frig that can help your body fight off that cold or flu!

So today's Good Eating topic is common herbs, spices & foods you have right on hand to help fight colds & flu!


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Eat Extra Vitamin C: Known for boosting the immune system, a little extra Vitamin C when you're sick can't hurt! Common foods full of Vitamin C include not only Citrus, like oranges, tangerines, lemons & grapefruit, but also Kiwi, Broccoli, Strawberries, Yellow & Red Bell Peppers and surprise--Cooked Tomatoes!

Turmeric: This yellow spice is great for helping clear out chest congestion. I always keep some on hand for this reason, since colds tend to go to my chest. For congestion,  mix 1/4 teaspoon Turmeric into a quarter cup of milk , stir well and swig it down. Do this every 4 hours until congestion lessons.
Taco Seasoning & Curry Powder are both rich in Turmeric, so you can whip up something good to eat using either and enjoy your Turmeric that way!

Garlic: This culinary herb is helpful for preventing viruses & may help lesson symptoms. It's the Allicin this herb contains that does the work. To get the best benefit from it: mince your fresh garlic clove and let it sit 10 to 15 minutes before adding it to any cooking in order to maximize the release of Allicin. (I didn't know that!)
Stir up a batch of spaghetti & add an extra clove or two of garlic plus lots of extra oregano!

Oregano:  I find I usually crave Italian food when I'm sick and I think it's the combination of garlic, oregano and tomato sauce my body wants. Oregano itself has many healthful properties, but, in particular, when you have a cold or flu, oregano encourages sweat production as a method of detox & can help your body get rid of unwanted phlegm in the lungs.
Besides Italian & Greek cooking, you can add Oregano to your eggs, shake dried Oregano over salads, add extra to your Italian dressing! Add it to your chicken soup!

Cinnamon:  This unassuming spice has tons of benefits: it's anti-inflammatory, an anti-oxidant, anti-viral, anti-bacterial & anti-fungal. It's everything. It was being tested as alternative for antibiotics for livestock, like cattle, overseas. 
I shake ground cinnamon over my coffee grounds before making coffee every time I make it, but I have an old-fashioned drip coffee maker.
 If you can't do that, shake cinnamon over your oatmeal or make cinnamon toast or bagel using more cinnamon, then sugar. Add extra cinnamon to all your baking!

Ginger Root or Tea:  Ginger in any form is pretty much a good fixer! It can relieve nausea, seasickness, can help relieve a sore throat & even kills rhinoviruses, which cause colds. In food, it's an essential for Asian cooking & soups. I like to grind it fresh over my steamed rice any time.
To fight a cold, I like drinking a favored herbal tea that includes Ginger to help speed up my cold-recovery.
 If I don't have any kind of Ginger tea on hand, I've been known to grind fresh ginger over my coffee grounds before brewing. (Can't taste it, but still get the benefit.)  
You can make your own hot ginger tea with fresh ginger: finely cut or grind fresh at least a teaspoon of ginger & place into a tea strainer, put strainer in cup, then pour hot water over it. Add honey & sip.

Red Pepper:  Adding spicy hot foods can help you breathe better if you have a stuffy nose!  Ground red pepper,  chilies, jalapenos & other fresh hot peppers all contain Capsaicin, which can help thin the build-up of mucous in nasal passages. 
Add red pepper to soups or even to tea to get this benefit!

Mint Tea: The Menthol in a cup of mint tea can be relaxing to the body & to the nasal passages. If you grow mint, you can
use snips of fresh.
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Eat up, me hearties, yo-ho!

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