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5 Foods for the Cold and Flu Season

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Food is medicine and TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) has a longstanding history of using diet mindfully to treat conditions.  Stay strong this holiday season by nourishing yourself with the right foods.  Below are are the major foods that can help you fight the cold and flu season:

Bone Broth

 

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TCM views diet with a “like treats like” lens.  Bones are rich in marrow, or blood making cells, and therefore have a lot of healing properties for the blood and help us build blood.  Red meats are the most blood building.  Bones, with all their minerals, also help us rejuvenate and strengthen the kidneys and relax the nervous system.  Buying bones from organic/ grass fed animals is very important. Bone broth is also great for reducing inflammation and healing a leaky gut.  Feel free to add some onion, garlic, ginger, celery and carrot for taste. Make bone broth when you are feeling fatigued or when recovering from sickness or to tonify the immune system.

Honey

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Viewed in many cultures as “liquid gold”, it has many healing properties.  Not all honey is created equal, as  there are various grades of honey – the most medicinal grades include Manuka Honey.  Some of its healing properties include moistening the lungs, tonifying and lubricating the digestive system, relieving spasms and pain, detoxifying the body, and lowering blood pressure.  Its antibacterial properties help to heal ulcers and wounds and much more.  Take a good tablespoon of raw honey for sore throats with a little bit of hot lemon water.

Honey

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TCM views diet with a “like treats like” lens.  Bones are rich in marrow, or blood making cells, and therefore have a lot of healing properties for the blood and help us build blood.  Red meats are the most blood building.  Bones, with all their minerals, also help us rejuvenate and strengthen the kidneys and relax the nervous system.  Buying bones from organic/ grass fed animals is very important. Bone broth is also great for reducing inflammation and healing a leaky gut.  Feel free to add some onion, garlic, ginger, celery and carrot for taste. Make bone broth when you are feeling fatigued or when recovering from sickness or to tonify the immune system.

Garlic

 

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This is a superfood that is highly undervalued.  In addition to lowering blood cholesterol and high blood pressure, it also boosts our immune system.  A large 12-week study concluded that a daily garlic supplement reduced the number of colds by 63% compared with placebo.  The average length of cold symptoms was also reduced by 70%, from 5 days in placebo to just 1.5 days in the garlic group. Another study found that a high dose of garlic extract (2.56 grams per day) can reduce the number of days sick with cold or flu by 61%.  Garlic also has a history of preventing insect bites if taken orally and the best thing is it takes great cooked!  Try roasting it and spreading it on bread.

Congee

 

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When you are sick, this is the perfect food for the weak and taxed body.  Congee is made with rice and water, mixing the two at a 1:10 ratio of rice to water so the food is more like a thick pourridge.  You can add organic chicken broth but mostly it is made to be bland and help give energy to the body without depleting or taxing the digestive system while you are ill.  Add fresh ginger and chopped scallions with the white bulb-like ends to further sweat out the aches and chills associated with the flu.

Ginger

 

 

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Ginger is an amazing root and it’s always handy to have some fresh available in your kitchen.  Fresh ginger is much more potent than dried, especially for fighting the cold and flu season.  For sore throat, stomach pain and nausea, vomitting, and chills, you can boil a few chopped pieces for a couple minutes and drink it with some honey.  I reccomend taking a spoonful of raw honey first and then drinking the tea rather than putting it into the tea, which kills the honey’s antibacterial properties.