The age old adage “health is wealth” couldn’t be truer in these testing times. Coronavirus literally has the world in its sweep and our true heroes, the healthcare workers are tirelessly toiling away night and day, putting their lives at a constant risk. We definitely can do our bit by social distancing, staying indoors and staying healthy. In order to stay healthy, sleep, exercise and diet play key roles.
A diet rich in fresh fruit, vegetables, seeds and nuts is very nutritious. However, certain foods are more potent than others when it comes to boosting the immune system and fighting germs; especially at times when the flu is in the community.
Turmeric: this super food rich in Cucurmin is known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-allergy properties. Its health benefits include lung protection, faster wound healing, improved digestion, reduced symptoms of depression and many more.
Honey: is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and rich in antioxidants. It helps improve digestion and gut health, helps soothe a sore throat and promotes wound healing.
Caution: Honey cannot be given to infants below one year of age due to the risk of botulism.
Ginger: contains Gingerol, which is rich in antioxidants and responsible for the anti-inflammatory and nausea relief properties of ginger. It helps improve digestion, provides relief from osteoarthritis and is effective in fighting respiratory infections.
Garlic: contains sulphur compounds which help combat sickness including the common cold. The antioxidants in garlic help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and have positive effects on longevity and athletic performance.
Lemon: is an excellent source of vitamin C and antioxidants known as flavonoids. It helps prevent asthma, increases absorption of iron and aids weight loss.
Licorice or “Süßholz“: has anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-viral properties. It works as a remedy for sore throats, eczema, hepatitis C and lessens symptoms of chronic fatigue.
Lemongrass or “Citronella“: is rich in compounds which have anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, anti-microbial and antioxidant properties. It’s helpful in breaking down mucus build-up from congestion, promoting sleep, relieving pain, aiding healthy digestion and relieving symptoms of PMS.
Black pepper: contains potent beneficial plant compounds which are anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antibiotic in nature and is rich in antioxidants. It’s helpful in fighting colds and coughs.
Apple cider vinegar: is known to kill harmful bacteria and ward off flu bugs, boost skin health and aid digestion.
Baobab: a tree native to Africa, Arabia and Australia is known for its medicinal properties. It’s usually available in a powdered form at Aldi and the apothekes here and is rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, niacin, iron and potassium. The vitamin C content is 6 times that of oranges and is more easily absorbed by the body compared to vitamin C tablets.
Using a mix of some of the above ingredients, we create a few of our favourite concoctions or magic potions, if you may call them, in our home to help keep sickness away.
ACVH: 1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar, 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 cup of warm water. This can be sipped (most effective on an empty stomach) at the first sign of a scratchy throat or a runny nose. For kids (5 – 8 years) one can use a teaspoon of ACV. For children under the age of 5 years, you can try some of the other remedies.
Ginger-lemon-honey: An inch of ginger grated, 2 tablespoons of honey and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice mixed together with a bit of warm water can be stored for a day or two. This can be sipped, one teaspoon (half teaspoon for toddlers) at a time about 3 times a day. Helpful with a blocked nose and cold.
Garlic in honey: Peel and cut up a few garlic bulbs. They should be having no traces of water on them. Take a clean jam jar or any airtight container and add the cut garlic pieces in it, pour honey on top till the garlic is covered. Let it sit for about 4-7 days (away from sunlight or heat. The garlic juice will mix with the honey and give it a slightly spicy flavour. The garlic turns a bit less spicy as it absorbs the honey. Adults and older kids can eat the garlic pieces. For toddlers and younger kids, use only the garlic flavoured honey. This is an immunity boosting recipe and can be had on a regular basis. This can be stored and used for a month.
Turmeric latte or good old ‘Haldi doodh’: It’s our Indian grandmother’s favourite remedy. I use a mix of water and milk. To this I add crushed black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, ginger (dried or freshly crushed), rock sugar and of course, the star ingredient, turmeric (powder). Optionally, one can add a pounded licorice piece and one dried fig. My mom used to add the optional ingredients and that made the turmeric milk taste more than just delicious. Effective for coughs.
Chai with ginger and lemongrass: I add grated ginger and lemon grass while the water for the tea is boiling to impart its flavor and goodness to the chai. Add a few splashes of milk, black tea powder and let it simmer for a couple of minutes before straining and serving. Alternatively, just a lemongrass tea could be brewed.
Licorice can be found in the pharmacy or Apotheke here. One can just cut a piece and chew while it releases the sweet juice until its flavour runs out, the fibrous remains however, cannot be swallowed. For kids or adults who may not like to chew on this, licorice is also available in a teabag format and tastes yummy.
Baobab powder and water: A teaspoon of baobab powder can be mixed in a glass of water for a refreshing drink.
Hope some of the above concoctions bring in some magic in your lives. Stay safe, healthy and happy.
Disclaimer: Opinions and methods expressed are solely of the writer. Namaste Switzerland does not undertake any obligation or liability which may arise from the content.