Cold and Flu season is no fun. It seems like everyone is hacking and coughing. I want to wear a hazmat suit when I am out in public to protect myself against the swarm of flu bugs in the air.
If or when the cold and flu catch up to me, I like to use my kitchen as the greatest weapon to combat the plague’s ugliness.
In addition using herbs, tinctures, infusions and oils, I like to use food to kick start and support the body’s natural immune system with foods as well. One way I do this is by cooking cold and flu fighting foods. Top on my list:
Chicken soup slows down and inhibits inflammation caused by infections. It thins secretions and helps keep everything moving. Hot chicken broth calms coughing and soothes a sore throat. It’s the ultimate sick comfort food!
The best way that I have found to prepare good chicken broth is using a crockpot or stove pot and cooking a whole chicken in water with lots of herbs and spices: sage, garlic, onion, thyme, salt, pepper. You can even throw in some powerful immune building Astragalus root and let it simmer all day. I like to use my crockpot for this job by dumping everything in the crockpot overnight. By morning, you will have a nice, rich, chicken broth you can strain off in a separate pot and you will have tender chicken you can pick off the bones.
To make chicken soup: add vegetables to your broth and the chopped chicken. Don’t forget the onions and garlic!
You should always keep chicken broth on hand for those times when you are sick and can’t make your own broth. It’s always a great idea to have carton or canned broth quickly and easily available. I buy organic chicken broth from Costco where it comes 6 cartons in one case. It is easy to use, stores well and has an excellent, whole foods taste without the preservatives and after taste that most commercial chicken broths have.
Fresh lemons squeezed into hot tea are not only soothing to a sore throat and irritable cough, but they provide good, raw, needed Vitamin C to help fight off nasty bugs.
Make and consume hot tea often during a flu bug. It’s very important to consume lots of fluid while you are sick. Hot tea is a perfect fluid and the hotness aids in giving much needed relief from pesky cold symptoms. I prefer hot herbal teas. I use fresh or loose dry herbs like peppermint, echinacea, elderflower, elderberry, yarrow, rose hips, ginseng to make immune system builder teas. Sweeten with honey. Raw honey is especially useful for fighting off colds and flu.
Love it or hate it, you should befriend Garlic. It is a miracle food! Garlic has incredible viral and bacterial fighting abilities. Taking a over the counter garlic pill isn’t going to cut it though. I’m talking about using the real deal. The garlic cloves that you peel and crush..that kind of garlic. If I am really sick, I consume raw garlic that I have crushed by taking on a spoon smothered in honey and chased with a drink of water or juice. I do that several times a day. Other ways you can get down crushed garlic is by putting it in your chicken soup or putting in on bread and toasting it. These are much more pleasant ways to take it. Garlic works. My only caution is not to consume garlic on an empty stomach. It will cause great gastric discomfort. Eat it with food! There is a world of great information about garlic’s antiviral and antibacterial effectiveness on the internet. Read to your heart’s delight.
Pure wildflower honey is a miracle food that should not be overlooked. I contains vitamins, minerals, enzymes as well as antibiotic agents and antimicrobial compounds. It is perfect for sweetening hot herbal teas and helping to get garlic down. In the book, Herbal Antibiotics by Stephen Buhner, ” Honey is also exceptionally effective in respiratory ailments. A Bulgarian study…found that honey was effective in improving chronic bronchitis, asthmatic bronchitis, bronchial asthma, chronic and allergic rhinitis, and sinusitis. It is effective in the treatment of colds, flu, respiratory infections, and general depressed immune problems.”
I have found the best place to purchase honey is from farmers in my local area during the summer or fall months when it is readily available. I have also found good quality raw honey from Whole Foods, however, it is quite a bit more expensive. I have also ordered it off of Vitacost of a fraction of the price of Whole Foods.
Here are just a few ideas to help you combat the cold and flu bugs going around. Good Luck!