Nov. 20, 2017The season of chilly temperatures, holiday cheer, and — if we’re lucky — snow is finally here, and along with it, some not-so-nice accompaniments: sniffles and sneezing. While we’re busy celebrating a brand new season, this is, unfortunately, also the time when many of us begin to feel a bit run down. Holiday engagements, travel, parties and maybe a little too much stress can take a serious toll on the immune system, and before we know it, we’re standing in the tissue aisle at the grocery store, surveying our options.
Well, not this year! Along with ensuring you get adequate sleep and maintain optimal hydration (two key factors in staying well year round), now is the perfect time to begin incorporating immune-supporting ingredients into your routine to encourage optimal wellness. The five ingredients below are easy to find, easy to use and can make an incredible impact on your overall well-being during the time of year when germs seem to lurk around every corner.
#1 — Ginger
Ginger is a classic flavor in many cold and flu remedies, and for good reason, its rich antioxidant properties could promote immunity while warming the body from the inside, out and encouraging lymph drainage. The spicy flavor of ginger could soothe a sore throat by encouraging the production of saliva, along with aiding digestion and soothing a sore stomach. Ginger is an excellent anti-nausea remedy, making it ideal for when you’re really under the weather.
How to use: Grate fresh ginger and steep in hot water or with tea to add flavor and immune-supporting goodness. If your stomach is feeling off, chewing a fresh piece of ginger could soothe and encourage digestion.
#2 — Garlic
It might surprise you to learn that pungent, spicy garlic is as healthy as it is delicious. Rich in allicin, a sulphur compound, garlic boasts antimicrobial, antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, and has been used in folk medicine and traditional remedies for centuries. Adding more garlic to your meals in fall and winter could support immune functions and fight the onset of colds and flu.
How to use: Add fresh garlic to soups, stews, and any other savory dish to boost flavor and add immune-supporting goodness.
#3 — Turmeric
Long used in Ayurveda, the main beneficial compound in turmeric is curcumin, a powerful antioxidant. Often combined with black pepper, which activates the curcumin and makes it more bioavailable (absorbable) for the body, turmeric is popular as a spice and healing ingredient and gaining wider recognition thanks to the growing popularity of golden lattes (recipe below). The curcumin in turmeric could support functions and has been found to boost memory and cognition as well. Golden-colored and warming, turmeric lends itself well to hot drinks and spicy food – the perfect spice for fall and winter wellness!
How to use: Whip up a golden latte to sip on a chilly night: In a saucepan over low heat, combine 8 oz. almond milk, 1 tsp powdered turmeric, 1 tsp powdered ginger, a dash of cinnamon, a pinch of black pepper, 1 tsp coconut oil and 1 date (optional). Heat until almost boiling, then transfer to a high speed blender and blend for 30 seconds on high. Enjoy!
#4 — Raw Honey
Sore throat? I’m willing to bet you’ve turned to the soothing power of honey before – and for good reason! Honey is a common ingredient in teas, throat lozenges, and natural cough syrup thanks to its ability to soothe and comfort. Honey has incredible healing benefits and the right honey could even shorten the lifespan of a virus, thanks to antibacterial and antiviral properties. The right honey? Yep. Turns out, many generic brands of honey at your local grocery store may not be 100% honey at all, and could contain artificial sweeteners along with undergoing a harsh refining and pasteurizing process.
Organic raw, local honey on the other hand? That’s filled with all the good stuff! Raw honey is unpasteurized because honey is naturally unfriendly to bacteria, preserving the beneficial nutrients and antibacterial properties inside. Local raw honey, in particular, is excellent for treating allergies, as the pollen collected by the bees will be specific to your geographic region. Take a teaspoon of raw local honey daily to familiarize your system with local pollen and allergens.
How to use: Always purchase the best organic local raw honey you can buy to ensure quality. Take raw honey by the teaspoonful to soothe a sore throat, or mix into tea and anything else that could use a little added sweetness.
#5 — Chaga
If you’re wondering, “what the..?”, you’re not alone. Popular in eastern medicine and Russia for centuries, chaga is just now hitting the western world. A type of birch fungus (yes, it’s a type of mushroom) that typically grows in colder climates, chaga has been found to have potential immune-supporting properties. Fresh chaga can be grated and made into a tea, but if you don’t want to go through the trouble, chaga has made its way into everything from teas to tinctures and even kombucha. Chaga is an adaptogen, which means the properties of the mushroom work with the body to support wellbeing throughout the system, immunity included.
How to use: Sip a mug of chaga tea or take a tincture to support immune function all season long!
Do you have tips for beating cold and flu season? Be sure to share with us on Instagram or Facebook with @AvocadoMattress or #AvocadoGreenMagazine