I have been lucky enough to dodge every nasty cold that has come my way for the past two years. But don’t hate me for sounding braggy, life has already issued a challenge as a good reminder to keep it humble.
The challenge came the other night as I was giving myself props for staying on top of my health. Just before dinner, as I pulled up a chair to work on the computer, I was suddenly struck by the unmistakable signs of the funk. All the usual suspects were there–chills, aches and even an upset stomach!
Thankfully, I was feeling spirited enough to take charge of the situation. I did not want a pesky bug bringing me down or standing between me and the savory beet salad that was chilling in the fridge. I quickly made a mental inventory of my usual go-to’s for fighting off a cold – Airborne, Tylenol and a shot of trusty willpower to do the trick. Out of nowhere, (ding ding ding), I remembered a post on super foods. Of course! Chicken Noodle Soup! Time to pull out the Crock Pot.
I changed course and decided that this was the moment to take a dose of my own self-prescribed medicine. I rolled up my sleeves, recited the “food is medicine” mantra, crossed my fingers and hoped that the healing power of food would prove to be more than an idealistic theory.
It was a big decision, but I had a full week ahead and no room for interruption. I decided to compromise. I mean, why not enjoy the wonders of modern medicine AND the soothing benefits of traditional home remedies?
For those of you interested in the exact science, my immediate tactics included Airborne—4 of those babies, Zyrtec—for when in doubt, and a hot cup of Nature’s Own Ginger Tea. I ingested my special cocktail and planted myself on the sofa with steeped ginger tea in hand and waited.
Two hours went by. With eyes closed, I simply relaxed and entertained rich inner visions of myself freed from the grips of nausea. But more importantly, I continued the willful pursuit of that beet salad. And then, just like that, it was gone.
Could I swear it wasn’t allergies? No. Did the rest help? Probably. But what matters most is that I’m now solidly in the camp that believes that the right plant and food remedies DO promote well-being.
Thankfully, there was still time to enjoy that meal. Excited by my experience, I grabbed a fork and a notepad and started to make a list of other common foods that help put a stop to what ails you.
Barb’s shortlist of Seven Fightin’ Foods:
- Chicken Noodle Soup
Time to pull out the slow cookers! There is just something about chicken noodle soup that helps move a cold along. Like many of my soups, I freeze single portions so no need to cook when sick. Chicken soup may be good for the soul, but it can also lessen the effects of a cold by slowing down that congestion production, and that’s a good thing!
All varieties of teas including black, green, white and herbal offer a variety of benefits in fighting colds. Baker by Nature swears by her Healing Ginger Tea which uses a base of green tea, then adds fresh ginger, cinnamon, lemon and honey to battle congestion and a sore throat. I’m gonna give this a try next time I get hit with a cold.
I know a lot of people who use this as their go-to for relief of a sore throat. Some take a spoonful daily of ‘local only’ honey to reduce allergies.
- Orange Juice
Fresh squeezed O.J. with pulp offers plenty of Vitamin C which medical research indicates is better coming from food. Red Bell Peppers are also a terrific source of Vitamin C.
I just learned that bananas are rich in potassium, which is often depleted with some flu and cold symptoms. They’re easy to digest (A+ for bland foods!) and may help lower body temperature. They can also help replenish lost electrolytes.
Opinion says ginger offers some virus fighting potential as well as acts as an excellent tummy soother. I for one am a believer in ginger. When I get hit with nausea, I steep fresh ginger for 10 minutes and drink a cup with no added sugar, lemon etc. Some (like me) believe it can stop a cold in its tracks!
This is one food that sounds the least appealing to me when battling the crud. However, it does contains allicin, a compound that destroys bacteria and makes it difficult for viruses to thrive. I usually add garlic to many of my soups anyway, and that is probably the best way to benefit from it.
I hope by now you are as inspired to use foods as a healthy ally as I am. Whole books are written on this topic, so I had to choose my favorites. Let me know in the comments if you have a go-to recipe that helps you fight off illness and maintain your bragging rights!