Cold and flu season are upon us and no one is safe — even the most health-conscious can fall victim to sniffly symptoms. Yeah, you guessed it, the buggies have snuck past my defenses and it’s all out war: my immune system vs. the buggies. I’ve been coughing and sneezing for about two days now while loading up on omega-3 fatty acid supplements (nature’s Aspirin), antioxidant formulas and copious amounts of oregano oil. But in spite of my best efforts to keep my symptoms at bay, I needed something a little more, something warm and soothing to break the mucous, settle inflammation and give my immune system that final rallying cry to beat this thing.
So I concocted my “sick no mo” immunity elixir and after just 24 hours (and many cups) I’m finally feeling like myself again. I even got out of my sweatpants and ran a few errands in broad daylight — a victory I’m sure you ladies can appreciate. I also got the energy to write this post and think about what makes this immunity elixir so effective. And I believe its the power of each ingredient working together simultaneously. So without further ado, here are the ingredients in picture form and like a true nutritionista, I also listed their health benefits below. Next time you’re sick, give this elixir a whirl and I promise it’ll do wonders!
- Lemon — By now you’re probably well aware of my love affair with lemons (if not, go here). When it comes to supporting the immune system, lemons are superstars as they’re rich in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps produce immune cells like natural killer cells and white blood cells, both key to fighting infection. Vitamin C is also an excellent natural anti-histamine which helps to shorten the duration of respiratory tract symptoms during respiratory infections like the common cold.
- Ginger — Ginger is one of the best anti-inflammatory foods around which is important because inflammation is the body’s natural response to infection (inflammation actually helps fight infection by drawing immune cells to the infected area but also causes the symptoms we experience as a side effect). Ginger contains a special compound called gingerol that works to suppress pro-inflammatory chemicals that cause symptoms like running nose and redness. Plus, ginger makes you sweat and sweating is key when you’re sick!
- Turmeric — Like ginger, turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory ability thanks to curcumin, a curcuminoid found in turmeric that helps to strengthen cell membranes and has been found to enhance antibody responses.
- Raw Unpasteurized Honey — Raw, unpasteurized honey is packed full of nutritional goodness, containing some 5,000 live enzymes, a huge array of vitamins, 22 amino acids and 27 minerals! It is a powerful antioxidant, antibiotic and antiviral and thus provides perfect ammunition against the common cold. But make sure the jar says “raw” or “unpasteurized” since heating kills a lot of honey’s potency.
- Coconut Oil — You may be thinking this is an odd addition but there is method to this madness. First off, coconut oil contains a powerful anti-bacterial, anti-fungal fatty acid called caprylic acid and second the addition of coconut oil helps with the absorption and bioavailability of the curcumin in the turmeric. Synergy baby!
- Cayenne Pepper — Cayenne pepper is like the jack of all trades. It helps support the immune system, helps build healthy mucous membrane tissue, boosts circulation and raises your body temperature to make you sweat.
There you have it: a special concoction of natural ingredients that will not only fight infection but will help reduce symptoms to get you quickly back to your normal, vibrant self. This makes it perfect for when you’re under attack by the common cold, but hey, it’s also great for prevention when you’re not sick. I actually encourage my clients to sip on this immunity elixir throughout the fall and winter months to keep the buggies at bay. Oh and did I mention that it’s delicious!? Yep, it’s that too. Anyway, this geek is off to sip on another glass. Be well and live clean!
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1/3 cup chopped ginger chunks (skin on is OK if organic)
- Juice 1/2 lemon
- 1 1/2 tsp raw honey
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1/4 tsp turmeric (fresh or powder, I used a little bit of both)
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Boil the water first then transfer to a cup. Add the ginger and steep for about 2 minutes. Add the remainder of the ingredients and stir until a uniform consistency is reached.