All my recipes are about eating delicious food that is also good for you and supports your body. So this week, having been hit by a nasty cold and cough, I thought I would share with you this natural remedy that has kept me out of bed and still functioning, while some of my colleagues have been house bound for a week!
Prevention being better then the cure though, it is always advisable to eat a healthy diet high in fruit, vegetables, grains and pulses, which will help your body fight off common colds and coughs. Avoiding certain ingredients can also be hugely supportive to your body's immune system. For years now, I have all but cut out refined cane sugar and dairy, having noticed a huge difference to my energy levels and over all health when I swapped them for more natural and healthy alternatives, like maple syrup, soy/rice milk etc. (For a list of some of these great natural alternatives you can have a look here.
At the time (almost 10 years ago), I was probably in the minority of people eating that way, but now I am delighted to see a huge movement towards eating mindfully and an awareness of how the foods we eat have a direct impact on our overall health and well being.
Since changing they way I eat, I have noticed a dramatic decline in the number of colds and coughs I get, from up to 3 times a year, to now only once every one or two years. When I do get them, I am quick to act, making sure I avoid alcohol, sugar, dairy and coffee at all cots. Instead I make myself a batch of this potent tea, which keeps the virus at bay so I can carry on relatively unaffected.
Garlic, Ginger, Lemon, Onion and Cayenne Pepper Tea
While this may sound like the surest way to achieve bad breath, these potent ingredients have powerful anti inflammatory, anti fungal and detoxing properties that will be a great support to your body when fighting off the first signs of a cold. The sulfur contained in onions and garlic can kill and inhibit an astounding amount of bacteria's and viruses, so it is well worth putting up with the strong smell.
My sister Jessica Bourke, (a nutritional therapist), has posted some great information on the benefits of each of these ingredients here.
Makes enough for a medium/large thermos flask, or several cups of tea.
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 inch piece ginger, grated (no need to remove the skin)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 small red onion, chopped finely
Large pinch of cayenne pepper
Place all of the ingredients in a thermos flask and fill with boiling water. Seal and leave to infuse for half an hour and then sip throughout the day. If you don't like the pieces floating around you can strain through a sieve.
For a selection of great 'guilt free' recipes using naturally healthy ingredients, click here.
'The Guilt Free Gourmet' cookbook, full of indulgent and good for you recipes, is available here.
Also on HuffPost:
Garlic is well known for its immune system benefits and is best eaten raw or crushed in soups and hot drinks. Garlic combats snotty noses by releasing a compound called allicin, which is full of anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
If you're struggling to get a good night's sleep, tackle the problem with a stick of celery. Celery contains phthalidesm which has sedative powers and helps the body shut off and rest easy during the night.
A great natural remedy for respiratory disorders as it helps to release mucus from the body. It is also an antispasmodic which helps relax bronchial tubes, clearing the airways. Brew a cup of thyme tea or use it as an oil to treat chesty coughs or emphysema.
Nosebleeds can be a symptom of cold and flu. Prevent this from happening by adding leafy greens to your diet. Packed with Vitamin K, greens fortify sensitive capillaries and help your blood clot quickly if you have a nose bleed.
Jujube tea is rich in Vitamin C and great for the immune system and is widely used for relieving aching throat muscles.
Carrots are ideal for treating cold-induced headaches as they contain beta-carotene, which can reduce inflammation in the blood vessels of the brain. Chop them up and put in a stew, grate them on top of a salad or blend them to create a headache-friendly soup.
We already know that proteins are best for boosting mid-afternoon energy slumps, and they work just as well with energy-zapping colds and flu. A handful of raw nuts helps give the body a well needed energy boost, especially almonds and walnuts.
When the flu bug strikes, chances are the lack of sleep, appetite and constant nose blowing will begin to wear you down. Lavender is great for calming the nerves and relieving feelings of anxiety and stress. Use either dried lavender to scent the room or apply lavender oil on your pulse points for an instant calming boost.
A low immune system can lead to weakened digestive system. Strengthen it by using pineapple which helps reduce intestinal inflammation and speeds the breakdown of protein, reducing gas and discomfort.
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