By Kelli Mera, MS, RDN LDN - Contributing Editor for ExecWell
There’s a chill in the air, which means autumn is here! Unfortunately, it also means that cold and flu season is right around the corner. If you are one of the millions of people who suffer from sniffles and sore throats, you are probably willing to do almost anything for some relief, and the good news is that it can often be found right in your kitchen, not just your medicine cabinet.
- Chicken soup helps replenish fluids, as well as decrease inflammation that can trigger cold symptoms.
- Citrus fruits are great sources of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that can reduce cold symptoms by 23 percent! Look for red bell peppers, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, butternut squash, papaya, sweet potatoes and tomatoes, but proceed with caution since high doses of vitamin C can cause stomach upsets.
- Garlic, onions, & leeks contain antiseptic and immunity boosting compounds; they can also help clear clogged sinuses.
- Honey helps relieve sore throats, and it has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties which can help fight infections from virus, bacteria, and fungi. Buckwheat honey is known to have the highest level of these properties, while your general clover honey found in stores has the lowest level.
- Ginger is not only a natural pain and fever reliever (it has been shown to be as effective as ibuprofen), but it also contains a chemical that helps target the common cold virus. You can get your dose of ginger by adding shredded ginger root to your tea, or shopping for ginger chews or real ginger ale.
- Black pepper contains anti-fever and pain-relieving properties; mix with ground ginger and vinegar, and it can help increase absorption of many herbal and over-the-counter medications.
- Yogurt varieties that contain the live bacteria Lactobacillus reuteri (L. reuteri), such as Stoneyfield Farms Organic Yogurt, can help block replication of viruses that invade your body when you are sick.
- Mushrooms of the shitake and maitake types contain immune supporting compounds, which are often used in traditional Chinese-medicine treatments.
- Red Wine contains resveratrol and polyphenols, which are found in California Pinot Noir varieties, and work the same as the beneficial bacteria found in yogurt.
- Selenium-Rich Foods act as an immunity booster by helping increase production of cytokines, which help remove the flu virus. The best source can be found in a single ounce of Brazil nuts, but other sources also include lobster, oysters, clams, crab, tuna, and cod.
So, before you make a visit to your local pharmacy (and put a dent in your wallet), check out your pantry first to see what natural remedies are immediately available for your relief!