In his book, Effortless Healing, Dr. Joseph Mercola swears by the choice to consume certain nutrient-rich foods to sidestep illness and be our healthiest. Now that we’re in the thick of winter, here’s a quick guide of foods with highly-concentrated vitamin content—and the nutritional properties necessary to fight colds, and keep our immune systems working their best.
Leafy Green Vegetables
When you think Vitamin C, you likely think of oranges, grapefruits and citrus fruits in general. But spinach, kale, swiss chard and arugula are forces to be reckoned with when it comes to packing the most punch in Vitamin C content. The darker the greens, the more dense the nutrients. And the more consistently you eat these greens, the more likely it will reduce the duration of a cold.
Garlic has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties and contains a major active component called allicin that can cut your chances of catching a cold. While there are garlic pills available for those of you who just can’t stand to ingest for risk of smelly breath, it really is most effective and best to eat the real thing. So order up that garlic bread, garlic butter, roasted garlic and sautéed garlic and chow down towards good health.
Turmeric is a rich yellow powder that is high in antioxidants and considered a natural anti-inflammatory. It is famous for ridding the body of toxins and reduces your chances of getting a cold, cough, or any kind of congestion. You may want to put your local Indian restaurant on speed dial since it’s used copiously in this cuisine!
Ginger is one of those magical, multi-functional foods. It’s spicy, refreshing and best when purchased in its unprocessed root form. Make ginger tea to fight your cold, a sore throat (and nausea too!) by cutting the ginger root into a chunk about an inch long. You can boil it in the water, or go a step further and chop or grate it, then place it in a tea strainer. Add a little honey, and sip away until you feel better.
Speaking of tea, herbal tea in general is a very warming and aromatic drink that can immediately relax and soothe sore throats, and loosen congestion. The aromatherapy from inhaling the steam soothes irritated sinuses and lungs and the herbs help support your immune system. Some of the best kinds of tea for this purpose are peppermint tea, which contains menthol, great for relieving the pressure of a clogged nose and sinuses. Cinnamon tea has the just right amount of warming properties and relieves aches, and clove tea is wonderful for encouraging sinuses to open.
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