Well boys and girls, here we are. It's almost the middle of January and cold and flu season is in full swing. I don't know about you, but I've been surrounded by oozing, sniffing, coughing and all out spewing sick people over the last few weeks and, as I'm sure applies to you, I do not have time to be sick!
Hand washing, sneezing/coughing into your sleeve, getting enough sleep...all these things go a long way to help prevent illness. And, of course, eating a wholesome diet full of fresh veggies and fruits packed with Vitamin C and immune system supporting phytochemicals just goes without saying. But sometimes we need to go a little bit further and add in some extra firing power against the cooties that surround us.
Enter this delicious and super warming cold and flu busting elixir. This is a simple yet powerful little drink to give your body a massive dose of nutrients that it will use to reinforce its defense system and keep you from landing on the couch watching mindless infomercials and re-runs of "You are NOT the father!" for a week.
So what's the big deal about this drink? Let me fill you in...
Ginger is often associated with Asian dishes and is known for its aromatic, pungent and spicy properties. But what many don't know is that ginger packs a powerful punch when it comes to protecting our bodies from a number of ailments, especially cold and flu viruses. It's an incredibly warming herb which makes it perfect for promoting a healthy sweating action in the body. Sweating not only helps to detoxify the body, but German researchers have found that sweat contains a potent germ-fighting agent that actually helps fight off infection.
Garlic. Glorious garlic! Not only does this gorgeous bulb smell and taste divine, it is one of the BEST immune boosting herbs in the world. No other herb supports the body in the same way that garlic does. It has powerful antiseptic, antimicrobial and antiviral properties and has been used for thousands of years to treat many conditions such as chronic bronchitis, respiratory infections, recurring colds and influenza as well as a plethora of other ailments including high blood pressure and parasites.
Lemons add a heaping dose of nutrition to anything they grace, including this drink. Lemons are loaded with Vitamin C, phytonutrients and antioxidants that not only help our bodies fight viruses, but other more serious conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis and cancers. And lemons just taste and smell wonderful!
Now here is where the heat really comes from. Cayenne pepper is famous for firing up the taste of food but, like garlic and ginger, has been used in traditional medicines for thousands of years to treat a number of health conditions including fever, sore throat, tonsillitis, heartburn and Scarlet Fever. Cayenne warms the body and promotes a good sweat just like ginger does, but it also helps in breaking up and moving congested mucous. Once that starts to flow, symptoms of cold and flu usually start to improve. Cayenne, combined with lemon and honey, is an excellent detoxification support for the body.
I'm not talking about the grocery store honey with the cute little cartoon bumble bee on it here my friends. You know, the stuff that has been heated and filtered, robbing it of its nutritional value and leaving it as nothing more than just an alternative sweetener. I am talking about pure, raw, local and ethically sourced honey which still has all of the essential minerals necessary for life, vitamins, amino acids and enzymes. Pure, raw honey is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, increases energy and is soothing for those sore throats that often come with a cold or the flu. Alternatively, you can splurge and get yourself some organic, raw Manuka honey which comes from New Zealand and contains quadruple the nutritional properties of the pure, raw honey. It will run you a small fortune but if you can swing it, it's well worth the money.
Jill Taylor is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist based in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. She is the mom of two pretty awesome teenagers, s very dramatic dog, a hedgehog and a snake (yikes!). Jill assists her clients in achieving true wellness through thoughtful and compassionate dietary and lifestyle coaching. Feel free to visit the "Contact" page to get in touch. Jill would love to hear from you!