Winter brings a triple threat of colds, flu and COVID. Be prepared for your next bout, or maybe even ward it off, with some helpful and preventative medicines found right in your kitchen.
Many studies have shown health benefits from regular garlic consumption. It’s associated with lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Regular garlic consumption also aligns with reduced infection rates, including viruses like those that cause cold and flu. Studies suggest a regular diet that includes garlic can help boost the immune system, reducing the chances of getting sick and may also reduce the severity of symptoms and contribute to quicker recovery if you do become ill. Crush it, mince it or chop it, but add it to everything!
Honey and lemon tea
Honey soothes coughs as effectively as any over the counter products so be sure to keep some on hand. Organic and local is best. To make the tea, squeeze half of a medium to large lemon into a mug. Depending on how sweet you like it, place about one soup spoon of honey into the cup. Then pour hot water over the top, allowing the heat to melt the honey. Stir and enjoy. You can make adjustments according to your preferences. There’s no wrong way to go about it.
It’s not an old wives’ tale that mom’s chicken noodle soup makes you feel better. That warm, sippable substance has a lot going for it. First off, the hot liquid helps open up airways to reduce congestion. Plus, the liquid will help prevent dehydration. The body finds soup easy to digest, which is a win when food doesn’t sound appetizing. Just remember to add the onions and garlic.
Chicken, or another broth soup, is easy to make, especially if you keep organic stock in the pantry. Simply toss some celery, carrots, onions and garlic in a stock pot until brown and soft. Then add broth and your preferred seasonings. Allow it to simmer and make adjustments as needed. Then throw in noodles for the last 10 minutes or so. Any type will do, so use what you have.
Saltwater is a natural ingredient with helpful cold, flu and COVID treatment characteristics. You can use it as nasal spray to promote nasal passage efficiency. It works by thinning out the mucus so it can drain. To make your own, use two to three teaspoons of non-iodized (pickling or canning) salt per quart of distilled water.
Another option is to boil regular tap water and allow it to completely cool. Combine one cup of the lukewarm water with ½ teaspoon non-iodized and ½ teaspoon of baking soda. Using a large medical syringe, squeeze bottle or Neti-pot, pour the solution in one nostril and allow it to flow out the opposite nostril. Repeat the process a few times each day as needed. You can keep your homemade nasal solution at room temperature for three days.
Saltwater can also effectively treat a sore throat. It may also lower bacteria in your mouth and throat. A saltwater gargle is easy to make. Simply mix ½ tsp of salt and eight ounces of warm water. Stir the mixture until the salt completely dissolves. Then swish the saltwater around your mouth and gargle the liquid for 15 seconds, or as long as you can maintain it. Spit it out rather than swallowing.
Eat healthy foods
When your tummy is rumbling or you have no sense of taste due to illness, stick with healthy food options. Not only will this help your body have the fuel it needs to fight off viruses, but healthy foods may actually boost your infection-fighting responses. Munch on carrots, snap peas and peppers, or add them to soups and stews. Grab the blueberries to help with stomach issues and body aches. Try some chili peppers or horseradish to clear out the sinuses.
Also, tap into other foods that are high in antioxidants, such as raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, cherries, green apples and plums. If the whole fruit doesn’t sound good, whip up a smoothie with fruit, chia seeds, hemp hearts, spinach, kale, bok choy and other combinations that appeal to your appetite and kitchen inventory.
Elderberry syrup has long been credited with immunity boosting qualities. While dried elderberries contain a toxin, it’s released during cooking. You can then add flavorings and additional natural remedies for helping to fight off flu, colds and COVID. To make elderberry syrup, boil one cup of dried berries in four cups of water for at least 45 minutes. For a flavor and immunity boost, toss in cinnamon sticks, cardamom, ginger or other options. Once the mixture has reduced to about two cups, remove it from the heat and strain out the liquid.
Add about one cup of raw honey and allow it to dissolve. Make adjustments for the level of sweetness you prefer. Take one tablespoon of elderberry syrup daily as a preventative measure. If you feel a cold coming on, increase the frequency to one tablespoon every two or three hours for the first few days. Store your elderberry syrup in a jar in the refrigerator for up to six months.
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