Five Foods for Cold and Flu to Naturally Boost Your Immune System
The common cold has been “bugging” us recently. The average child catches between six and 12 colds a year and the average adult comes down with a cold two to three times a year. The flu is very contagious and is easily spread when people spend more time together during cold weather.
Since flu viruses are contagious a day before any symptoms show up and a week after someone is sick, it’s hard to know when you’re exposed. One of the tricky things about dealing with cold and flu viruses is that they do not respond to antibiotics which destroy bacteria.
The best way to prevent cold and flu infections is through natural remedies that boost the immune system and help your body cleanse toxins. >We all know the strong flavor of foods like garlic, ginger, horseradish, onions and cayenne pepper when they’re eaten raw.
The chemicals that give these hot and spicy foods their kick are also responsible for their immune boosting power. These foods act as antiviral remedies, enhancing your immune system, making it easier for your body to fight viral infections. These antiviral foods work best when consumed throughout the year to keep your immune system in top form. At Southern Botanicals, we make a convenient liquid tonic called Tonic Supreme that is made from these five immune-boosting whole foods:
- White onions
- Habanero peppers
- Apple cider vinegar
The garlic, ginger, horseradish, onion and cayenne pepper are concentrated in apple cider vinegar to take the immune-stimulating effects to the next level. Imagine the strongest salad dressing you’ve ever had and you get an idea what this tastes like! To make it, you need to puree the ingredients and soak them in the apple cider vinegar for at least a month before pressing out the liquid, so plan ahead! If you need a cold and flu season tonic right now and don’t want to wait a month for it to be ready, you can always order our Tonic Supreme.
Why These Ingredients?
Garlic is well known throughout history as a food that fights infections from bacteria and viruses. The BBC reported in 2007 that garlic can help prevent and fight the common cold. Allicin is one of the immune stimulating nutrients in garlic that is released when you cut, chop or crush the cloves. Garlic stimulates the activity of immune system cells that destroy cold and flu viruses.
Onions contain quercetin, a nutrient that breaks up mucus in your head and chest while boosting your immune system. When the smell of raw onions makes your nose run and your eyes tear up, this stimulates your immune system to fight infection. Onions also contain allicin which slows down and kills a variety of viruses and bacteria. The pungency of onions increases your blood circulation and makes you sweat. This effect is helpful during cold weather to prevent infections and to sweat out a cold or flu. Consuming fresh raw white onion within a few hours of the first symptoms of a cold or flu is when you’ll get the strongest immune effect.
Ginger reduces fevers, soothes sore throats, and encourages coughing to remove mucus from the chest. The chemicals shagaols and gingerols in ginger give it that spicy kick that stimulates blood circulation and opens your sinuses. Improved circulation means that more oxygen is getting to your tissues to help remove toxins and viruses. Research from the Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University in Japan indicated ginger has the ability to help prevent and treat flu infections.
Horseradish strengthens your immune system and increases blood flow to parts of your body irritated by cold and flu infections to remove wastes. This pungent food encourages you to flush out infected fluids through sweat and increased urination. Horseradish is known to stimulate your lungs to cough out mucus from colds and flus while heating up your body. This powerful plant is also antibacterial which prevents other problems like sinus infections from taking hold while you’re sick.
Cayenne pepper contains the chemical capsicum, a source of vitamin C that aids your immune system in fighting colds and flus. The powerful effect of vitamin C comes from bioflavinoids that help your body produce white blood cells, especially the white blood cells of your lymphatic system that cleanse your cells and tissues of toxins. 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. Spicy cayenne peppers raise your body’s temperature to make you sweat, increasing the activity of your immune system.
Tips on Taking the Tonic:
- Since the ingredients in the formula are spicy they can irritate an empty stomach, so it’s always best to take it with food.
- The tonic is gargled to stimulate lymph glands in a sore throat, clear congested sinuses and knock out an infection.
- You can put it on salad as a dressing or in soups for a real sinus clearer!
- Added to water or juice, you can drink it down fast and enjoy the rush the energizing ingredients naturally provide.
Have a question about the ingredients or using Tonic Supreme? Give us a call at 727-443-7711!
Posted in Eat Your Way to Good Health