It’s nearly flu season and if the reports are to be believed, this year is going to be a bad one. If science (or whoever predicts the severity of flu season) is telling us that it’s going to be bad, we better get prepared. That means getting your flu shot (seriously), washing your hands (seriously!) and taking care of your body so that it’s ready to fight when those germs inevitably come your way.
Here’s the prepping you can do to get your immune system (and your cupboard) ready for flu season.
Know your immune-boosting/sickness-fighting foods
In the summer you can get away with a lot when it comes to vitamins and such because your body just has to live. In the winter, there are all those viruses around and your body is trying to stay warm all the time so it’s working pretty hard just to function. There are certain foods you can add to your diet to help with that though. You can cook with these ingredients or a lot of them work well infused in or added to water. Here’s a slew of them:
- Lemon – source of vitamin C, bioflavonoids
- Raw honey – peroxide (But in a good way. More on that later.)
- Apple cider vinegar – anti-bacterial, anti-viral
- Ginger – anti-viral, anti-inflammatory
- Turmeric – anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving
- Rosemary – anti-microbial
- Coconut milk – anti-fungal
- Goji berries – source of vitamins A, B, C and antioxidants
Make an immune-boosting paste
You know that feeling when you’re not quite sick yet but you can feel it coming on? What you do in the next 24 hours will determine if that scratchiness in your throat goes away or turns into a full-on cold (or worse). Before you’re in the thick of the season, mix up a honey-garlic paste to stop any sickness in its tracks (probably). Honey naturally has peroxide in it so it kills any germs hanging out in your throat and the garlic has natural anti-biotic properties too. Mix up this paste and keep it in a dark place and it should last you all winter. Take it plain, mix it into water or add it to a salad dressing.
Make some cough syrup
You want to be prepared in case your preventative measures don’t work and you end up getting sick. Instead of buying cough syrup, make one yourself that’s completely natural and contains all those disease-fighting ingredients. Elderberries are a great base for cough syrup because they’re high in vitamins A, B and C. Most recipes (like this one) call for ginger and honey too (which we already established are good for you).
Make a smart soup
So you got sick. It’s a bummer, but sometimes it’s just unpreventable. Once you’re sick, soup is the only way to go. Get the most out of yours by adding astragalus root, ginseng and shiitake mushrooms to it. Astragalus and ginseng are both natural immune-boosters and shiitake mushrooms contain beta glucan and are high in protein.