Winter brings a triple threat of colds, flu and COVID. Be prepared for your next game, or maybe even stave it off, with some useful and preventative medicines found right in your kitchen.
Many studies have shown the health benefits of regular garlic consumption. It is associated with lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Regular garlic consumption is also associated with reduced rates of infection, including viruses such as those that cause colds and flu. Studies suggest that a regular diet that includes garlic can help boost the immune system, reduce the chances of getting sick and can also reduce the severity of symptoms and help you recover faster if you do get sick. Crush it, grind it or chop it, but add it to everything!
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Honey and lemon tea
Honey soothes coughs as effectively as any over-the-counter product so make sure you keep some on hand. Organic and local are best. To make the tea, squeeze half of a medium to large lemon into a mug. Depending on how sweet you like it, put about one tablespoon of honey into the cup. Then pour hot water over the top, so that the heat melts the honey. Stir and enjoy. You can make adjustments according to your preferences. There is no wrong way to do it.
It’s not an old woman’s tale that mom’s chicken noodle soup makes you feel better. That warm, chewy substance has a lot going for it. First, the warm liquid helps open airways to reduce congestion. In addition, 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 any other brothy soup, is easy to make, especially if you keep organic stock in the pantry. Just put some celery, carrots, onions and garlic in a stock pot until brown and soft. Then add broth and your preferred seasonings. Let it 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.
Salt water is a natural ingredient with beneficial cold, flu and COVID treatment properties. You can use it as a nasal spray to promote nasal passage efficiency. It works by thinning the mucus so it can drain. To make your own, use two to three teaspoons of non-iodized (pickling or canning) salt per gallon of distilled water.
Another option is to boil plain tap water and let it cool completely. Combine one cup of the lukewarm water with ½ teaspoon of non-iodized and ½ teaspoon of baking soda. Using a large medical syringe, squeeze bottle or Neti pot, pour the solution into one nostril and let it 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.
Salt water can also effectively treat a sore throat. It can also lower bacteria in your mouth and throat. A salt water gargle is easy to make. Simply mix ½ teaspoon of salt and eight ounces of warm water. Stir the mixture until the salt dissolves completely. Then swish the salt water around your mouth and gargle the liquid for 15 seconds, or as long as you can sustain it. Spit it out rather than swallowing.
Eat healthy foods
When your stomach rumbles or you have no sense of taste due to illness, stick to healthy food options. Not only will it help your body have the fuel it needs to fight off viruses, but healthy foods can actually boost your infection-fighting responses. Cut carrots, peas and peppers, or add them to soups and stews. Grab the blueberries to help with stomach problems and body aches. Try some chilies or horseradish to clear the sinuses.
Also use other foods that are high in antioxidants, such as raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, cherries, green apples and plums. If 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 stock.
Elderberry syrup has long been credited with immune-boosting properties. While dried elderberries contain a toxin, it is released during cooking. You can then add seasonings and additional natural remedies to help fight 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, throw in cinnamon sticks, cardamom, ginger or other options. Once the mixture has reduced to about two cups, remove from the heat and strain the liquid.
Add about one cup of raw honey and let it 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 fridge for up to six months.
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