Healing foods for cold season

It may start with a scratchy, inflamed sensation in the back of your throat or an achy feeling all over, extreme exhaustion or a rumbling queasy feeling in your stomach. The light bulb goes on, you realize you may be coming down with something. Most winter illnesses such as colds and flus often can be mitigated by a lot of rest and wholesome nutrition in order to help to get us back on our feet and feeling like ourselves again. Strengthening the immune system is vital to helping protect us from sickness and to heal our bodies.

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Ginger, turmeric, garlic and lemon are great for the cold season

Big pot of soup | When I first begin to feel under the weather, I make a big pot of soup. Many people maintain that eating good, old-fashioned bowl of chicken soup with vegetables is the way to go when they are ill. It’s not only comforting and healing but also loaded with healthy nutrients. For vegetarians a big pot of miso soup with seaweed and vegetables is exceptional. Eating lots of dark leafy greens like kale, chard and spinach, which are loaded with vitamins and nutrients, can be beneficial to the healing process. Eliminating any process foods from the diet will also be helpful.

Drink plenty of liquids | They help support the lymphatic system. Staying hydrated is imperative to recovery. Drink warm lemon water upon waking. This ayurvedic protocol helps flush and eliminate waste from the body and supports digestive function and lemon has vitamin C, which is beneficial to the immune system. Herbal teas are additionally helpful, hydrating and healing. A favorite brew when getting sick is drinking hot ginger tea, lemon, cayenne pepper and honey; it’s both soothing and healing.

Eat garlic | Garlic has a source of minerals like selenium, calcium and phosphorus plus vitamin C, B6 and manganese. It is considered a natural immune booster with antibiotic properties. Mince a teaspoon of fresh garlic with lemon juice and swallow; follow that with a tad lemon juice. Tahoe Weekly Art Director Alyssa Ganong eats pressed garlic and olive oil on toast when she’s sick.

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A blend of turmeric and honey paste is great for congestion

Add spices | Spices such as turmeric, ginger, cloves, cayenne and cinnamon are packed with antioxidants, which help improve the function of the immune system. Turmeric has a number of excellent healing properties. It’s high in antioxidants and considered a natural anti-inflammatory. Also considered a natural antibiotic in ayurvedic medicine.

For those with respiratory tract infections and common flu symptoms, Turmeric increases protein levels in the body that can protect the immune system from viruses and bacteria that attack it. It also contains potassium and manganese that support immunity and ultimately could help in treating the flu. If you are congested, make a paste of honey and turmeric and eat a teaspoon every few hours.

Kick it up with ginger | Ginger has anti-inflammatory compounds called shogaols and gingerols. It is these compounds that give ginger its spicy kick. Ginger stimulates blood circulation and opens your sinuses. It’s antiviral, anti-inflammatory, aids digestion, effective for colds, flu and respiratory illness. Ginger and turmeric tea is another remedy to try. Cayenne pepper contains the chemical capsicum, a rich source of vitamin C that aids your immune system in fighting colds and flus. Cayenne pepper, also full of beta-carotene and antioxidants that support your immune system, helps build healthy mucus membrane tissue that defends against viruses and bacteria.

Home brews | Home remedies on the top of the list for colds and flu include oregano oil, vitamin C, zinc, elderberry, vitamin B complex, Echinacea and goldenseal. Some unique remedies suggested are a combination of apple cider vinegar and Kombucha, green chili stew, whole grain toasted bread with coconut oil, hemp, chia and flaxseeds with Echinacea, golden seal and astragalus drops.

Eat hot and spicy things; they’ll help break a sweat. Local photographer Court Leve says when all else fails drink whiskey. And, there may be some wisdom in the old home remedy, hot toddy’s can help sooth sore throats, quiet coughs, clear stuffy noses and encourage sleep.

And, in the end is there any wisdom to the old adage, feed a cold and starve a fever? Not so much, according to studies. Good nutrition is vital; so if you’re hungry, eat and if not, sip broth.

Rest and be well and stay healthy.

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Priya Hutner

Priya Hutner is a writer, personal chef and meditation teacher. She writes feature articles about music, art, food and recreation. Priya loves to immerse in story. Whether jumping from a plane, eating obscure foods or hitting the Tahoe-Reno music scene, she is always up for adventure and experience.
Having moved to the mountains from Sebastian, Fla., she embraces the Tahoe lifestyle and loves to ski, hike, paddle and swim. Priya is the owner of the Seasoned Sage, a business that prepares organic meals and facilitates workshops that promote a health-conscious lifestyle.
She is currently writing a memoir about her experience living on an ashram and working on a series of cookbooks.
| priya@tahoethisweek.com