Cough. Sniffle. Sneeze. Yuck.
When cold and flu symptoms set in, it can be really tempting to reach for antibiotics. Been there, done that, and left feeling buzzed out but not at all better afterward. You too? The next time illness invades, forgo the pharmacy and make like Hippocrates instead. “Let food be thy medicine” and get well by eating some of this healing fare.
I became obsessed with gnawing on raw garlic after reading that Tom Brady (New England Patriots fan, forever! ♥) was doing the same to kill a cold before the Super Bowl. I know how gross that first part sounds, but I figured that if this was something that worked for an MVP game-winning quarterback, then it might be something that worked for me too.
As it turns out, raw garlic is a remedy that dates back thousands of years. Garlic has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, contains enzymes that support the lungs in particular, and is a serious immune booster. If the idea of popping a full clove in your mouth seems like too much to stomach, start small. Chop one clove into little pieces and swallow them whole as you would pills. Be sure to keep your toothbrush nearby because the garlic will leave its signature “scent” behind. Since you are probably going to avoid kissing anyone when not feeling well, you have nothing to lose here – except your sickness!
You know how a tall glass of orange juice always sounds sooo good to us when we’re sick? There’s a reason for that! Oranges and citrus fruits in general are loaded with vitamin C, which certain studies suggest can shorten the duration of a cold by up to one full day. Vitamin C is also a natural antihistamine that aids in alleviating sinus conditions. Win/win.
One important point to note however, is that this antioxidant is best consumed in its natural form. Avoid any juices that contains added sugars – which dramatically decrease your immune function – and rather opt for your C boost straight from the source. Squeeze your own oranges, nibble on grapefruit slices, or sip on warm lemon water. If you’re feeling up to solid foods, create a salad combo out of dark leafy greens, bell peppers, and broccoli (All heavy on the vitamin C, too!), topped with a citrus dressing.
Turmeric is literally becoming the golden child of the food and health industries. Not only can this root cure all that ails you, but it will also turn everything it touches a bright yellow hue! Turmeric is chock full of a compound called curcumin, which gives it its medicinal properties. For centuries, it’s been used to treat everything from congestion to headaches to sore throats. It has a slight anti-depressant effect as well, lest the sickies have you down.
My favorite way to get a dose of this cure-all is in the form of a tea. To make it, mix one teaspoon of turmeric powder into a warm cup of almond milk, with a drizzle of honey and a pinch of cinnamon for extra antioxidant power. Sip and soothe.
Bone Broth is trending big time right now (Google it!), for good reason. Essentially stock, made the way your grandma likely made it before it was all too easy to buy a canned version at the store. Bone broth is rich in flavor and minerals, and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. You can drink it straight for easy digestion or use it as the base for chicken soup; AKA the be all, end all of comfort food.
Making your own broth at home is as simple as adding bones (Feel free to use beef, bison, lamb, poultry, or fish!) to a pot of water – with vegetables, herbs, and spices if you choose – and letting the whole thing simmer away. After a couple of hours, your everyday ingredients will have transformed themselves into a magical healing elixir. Consume at least 2 bowls of it, get some rest, and call me in the morning.
For maximum benefits, and above all else, be kind to yourself while on the road to recovery. Sleep in. Take a walk outside if you can. Steer clear of stressful situations. Soak in a warm tub. Read trashy magazines or watch mindless TV; pick your pleasure. With a combination of good old fashioned TLC and these nutrient rich foods, my guess is that you’ll have kicked that cold to the curb in no time flat!