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It’s officially cold season, as I’m sure you guys have noticed. Whether you have a cold right now or not (hopefully not!), here are some tips for how to kick a cold naturally (and boost immunity while you’re at it)!
Boost your immunity with food!
This applies whether you have a cold or not. Here are some of the best immunity-boosting foods:
- Mushrooms. The riboflavin and niacin found in mushrooms are also associated with a healthy immune system. Try my Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms (these make a tasty and easy vegetarian dinner), Baked Stuffed Baby Bella Mushrooms (awesome appetizer), or “Cheesy” Vegan Mushroom Quinoa.
- Cabbage. This inexpensive winter vegetable is a source of glutamine, which has been noted to strengthen the immune system. Try tossing shredded raw cabbage into your sandwiches and/or salads to add a fun crunch.
- Almonds. Almonds are an excellent source of vitamin E, an antioxidant responsible for boosting the immune system. Try my Cinnamon Raisin Almond Balls (only 3 ingredients!), Almond Butter Banana Breakfast Bars, or Savory Honey Mustard Granola Bars.
- Spinach. Packed with antioxidants! My favorite way to eat spinach is raw in a salad, thrown into smoothies (try my Banana Spinach Smoothie), on sandwiches in place of lettuce, and sautéed in a little garlic and olive oil. Speaking of garlic, it’s another great immunity boosting food – garlic contains the active ingredient allicin, which fights infection and bacteria with its antibacterial and antifungal properties. Eat up!
- Sweet potatoes (and other orange foods like carrots and pumpkin!). These all have the antioxidant beta-carotene, which is a form of vitamin A that is essential for keeping your skin strong and able to fight off bacteria and viruses. Try my Sweet Potato & Black Bean Veggie Enchiladas, Sweet Potato Lentil Chili, Oatmeal Banana Pumpkin Cookies (healthy enough to eat for breakfast!) and Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal.
Already sick? Here are some ways to feel better.
- Tea. Green and black tea contain polyphenols and flavonoids, which are antioxidants that help fight disease. In addition, an amino acid that’s responsible for an immune boost, L-theanine, is abundant in both black and green tea, and decaf versions have it, too. To get more antioxidants from your tea bags, bob them up and down while they brew. Added bonus: hot liquids feel great on sore throats. 🙂
- Soup. There’s nothing better than soup when you are sick, huh? Especially if it’s homemade! My Homemade Minestrone Soup is always a winner whether I’m sick or not.
- Face Steam. Boil 2 cups of water in a pot, then remove from heat, add 2 teaspoons each of thyme and rosemary, and cover. Let sit for 5 minutes, then remove the lid and put your face over the pot with a towel draped over your head to hold in the heat. Breathe in the steam to loosen congestion, ease a sore throat, and, thanks to the herbs, help to kill bacteria and viruses in the lungs.
- Hydrate and rest. These are a given, but putting them in here anyway. You’re losing fluids from the coughing/runny nose situation, so be sure to drink lots of water – and give your body the rest it needs to repair itself. Zara is really good at sleeping in case you guys need any tips…
- Ricola Dual Action Honey Lemon Drops. For a little extra help and throat soothing, pick up some cough and cold drops. I always have a handful of these floating around in my various purses and travel bags just in case. I actually had a bad cold while speaking at Blog Brulee in September and these saved me – great combo of cough and sore throat relief all in one drop. The new honey lemon flavor will be showing up in stores this month!
What’s your best tip for boosting immunity, getting relief, and/or kicking a cold to the curb once you have it?
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