5 Foods to Cure Your Cold Fast

Mushroom health properties

This time of year, everyone seems to have their own fail-proof “cure” for the common cold. Some swear by eating whole raw cloves of garlic (you can smell them coming). Others say the Vietnamese chicken soup, Pho Ga, with lots of spice added is what you need.  An apple a day keeps the doctor away for many, and Mom’s traditional chicken noodle soup (or Campbell’s canned comfort-food) is a beloved standby.

While all of these “cures” have good reasons behind them (garlic is an antibacterial and immune system booster; chicken soup and apples have cold-fighting enzymes), there are even more powerful cold-fighters out there if you know where to look.

5 Super Cold-Stoppers

  1. Goji berries are not only packed with antioxidants, they also have cold-fighting and immune system boosting properties. They contain more iron than spinach, along with lots of vitamin A, B1, B2, B6, vitamin C and vitamin E.
  2. Coconut oil not only boosts the immune system for colds, but has antiviral properties. So whether your stuffy nose is the result of bacteria or a virus, coconut oil will fight both. (Tip: You can also use a dime-size amount topically on your hair to relieve dry, itchy scalp and make your hair shine)
  3. Mushrooms are one of the best food sources for vitamin D – when you can’t get out to soak up the sun yourself. Vitamin D enhances your body’s immune system response to viruses, bacteria and fungi.
  4. Wheat germ is full of vitamin E (an immune system booster), calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, omega-6 fatty acids, and omega-3 fatty acids.
  5. Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory, as well as a digestion aid, which means it will help you feel better as it helps heal you from the inside-out. Try adding some ginger and garlic to a vegetable stirfry, soup, or green juice.

The 2 Worst Foods For Your Cold

  1. When you have a cold, sugar is the worst thing you can eat. Sugar actually works against your white blood cells, making it harder for them to fight infections. Natural sugars, like those you get from apples and oranges are fine, but stay away from processed, pre-packaged foods (even OJ!).
  2. Alcohol has properties that can suppress your immune system, preventing your body from fighting off infection. Even though a Hot Toddy with brandy, honey, tea and lemon might sound like just what your throat needs, you should leave out the brandy (the other ingredients are great!).

Stay well this season!

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Stay Healthy This Fall: Back to School Edition

Niman ranch beef

There’s nothing like the start of the school year – and all of those extracurricular activities – to disrupt our healthy eating habits. Fortunately, Intelligent Gourmet has your back with weekly meal plans and ready-to-drink juices that give your body everything it needs to feel fabulous for Fall. This month, we’re taking advantage of our new Niman Ranch meats and a cornucopia of in-season produce to bring you dinners like this one!

As much as I love vegetarian and vegan food, I’m very excited about the delicious meat products coming to us from Niman Ranch. Niman Ranch has become a standard-bearer for all-natural, humanely and traditionally-raised livestock. Their products are free of antibiotics and hormones, feed is strictly vegetarian, and animals are raised outdoors in pastures or deeply bedded pens. While eating animal products is a much-debated life choice, there are many health benefits associated with meat, like iron, zinc, and B vitamins – not to mention protein!

But let’s look at the other seasonal Fall ingredients on the plate. Sweet potatoes are one of Autumn’s best Superfoods, containing vitamin D, iron, vitamin C, B6 and Magnesium. All of these together add up to a powerful immune-system boost with stress-relieving effects (just in time to help the kids with homework). Mushrooms, of course, are also a great source of vitamin D.

Broccoli, a winter crop in Florida, is one of the most nutrition-dense vegetables on the planet. The cruciferous vegetable includes vitamins A and C, folic acid, fiber, calcium, numerous cancer-fighting and anti-carcinogen properties, and potassium – which means it helps prevent cancer and regulate blood pressure, supports the nervous system, and helps reduce cholesterol.

With so much to do and so little time, don’t let your schedule dictate your eating habits! Because, when you’re healthy, there is nothing you can’t handle.

 

 

Flu Fighting Foods – From Apples to Hot Toddies

apples
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” – Your mother probably told you that, and she was right! It’s amazing how well we can prevent disease through simple nutrition alone, even during flu season (yes, even during THIS flu season!). Here are some scientifically proven snacks that have the power to prevent – or at least shorten the duration – of colds and flu. Give your body the weapons it needs to fight!

Apples to the Rescue!

Apples not only have Vitamin C, they also contain flavanoids (which help prevent heard disease), antioxidants (which prevent cancers), phenols (which lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol), phytonutrients (prevent neurodegenerative diseases), and antibacterial properties that help prevent tooth decay.

Make Room for Mushrooms

Cremini, portobello, and white button mushrooms are sources of beta-glucan – a dietary fiber that reduces risk for disease and infections by activating the immune system. Barley is another great source for beta-glucan. Try sauteing them with some garlic and olive oil for an anti-bacterial and antimicrobial boost.

Time for Tea (or a Hot Toddy)*

Tea with honey not only feels great on a sore throat, it packs an antibacterial and antiviral one-two-punch. Kick it up a notch by adding a shot of brandy, lemon, and a slice of fresh ginger (antibacterial properties!) for some added cold comfort. Either way, you’ll also benefit from tea’s antioxidants.

Chicken Noodle Soup for Body & Soul

Chicken noodle soup is an anti-inflammatory, especially when it comes to inflammation of the nasal passageways. In fact, Dr. Irwin Ziment at the UCLA School for Medicine found that chicken soup contains “drug-like agents similar to those in modern cold medicines,” even one that’s commonly prescribed for bronchitis.

Recipe for a Hot Ginger Toddy

In a large mug, combine:

  • 2 Tb Honey
  • 2 Tb lemon juice
  • Thinly sliced fresh ginger
  • 2 oz brandy
  • 1 tea bag of your favorite black tea
  • Fill with boiling water
  • Top with a lemon slice

Keep out of reach of children.