Now that I’m rounding the bend on the final two months of pregnancy, the last thing I want is to catch a cold or the flu on top of the oh-so-lovely symptoms I’m already experiencing in the third trimester. Leg cramps, back aches, and runny nose? No, thank you.
I’ve been researching natural ways to boost my body’s built-in defense system, and I’ve discovered some foods that work overtime to ward off the cold and flu. Plus, many of these are probably already on your grocery list. Here’s what to stock up on during your next trip there.
Top: Feel Good Chamomile Drink | Healthy Happened
This little onion relative is a real power hitter when it comes to fighting off sickness. It packs vitamin C, as well as sulfuric compounds (healthier than they sound, trust me!) with anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial qualities too. Cooking deactivates some of these benefits, though, so try eating garlic raw in bruschetta or guacamole. Like you need an excuse to binge on either of those, am I right?
Citrus fruits — or other sources of vitamin C
Lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit are all go-to snacks for avoiding the common cold given how much vitamin C they each pack. And, as we all know, vitamin C is the OG of immune boosting ingredients. If citrus fruits are a little too acidic, try red bell peppers, strawberries, kale, or cauliflower: All of them are also great sources of vitamin C.
This leafy green contains plenty of vitamin C as well, plus beta carotene, vitamin A, and numerous antioxidants. It’s most beneficial when eaten raw, like in a salad, but you can also throw it into a pasta dish when it’s just done cooking; the residual heat will gently wilt the spinach without cooking out all of the benefits.
Golden Milk | Bijoux & Bits
You may already have the dried, ground version of this one in your spice cabinet since it’s essential for many curries and other international foods, but it turns out that turmeric is also a natural anti-inflammatory that can help with gastrointestinal issues, arthritis, and — yes! — prevention and treatment of the common cold. If you don’t feel like whipping up a full dinner to incorporate this spice, try a recipe for golden milk or buy some fresh to throw into your juicer when making homemade juice or blender when making smoothies.
Ginger’s related to turmeric, so it should come as no surprise that the spicy root shares similar anti-inflammatory properties, as well as offering antioxidants and anti-bacterial benefits. Plus, ginger’s spicy kick can help open sinuses and improve circulation if you’re already starting to feel a little congested. Raw is best and can be added to homemade juice or smoothies, or used to make a simple ginger tea like the Feel Good Chamomile Drink at Healthy Happened or, if you’re bold, bonfire cider.
As if we needed more reason to love this natural sweetener: Honey has antioxidant and antimicrobial qualities that can fend off viruses, plus it practically never expires. Opt for buckwheat honey and try to buy local if possible, since there’s some evidence this can help with allergies as well.
Thai Broccoli Salad | My Modern Cookery
Most cruciferous vegetables are super stars when it comes to health benefits, and broccoli is another multi-threat to common viruses, with vitamins A, C, E, and plenty of antioxidants like glutathione to go around. Like most immune-boosting veggies, broccoli retains most of its healing power when served raw or just lightly cooked.
I always drink tea after I come down with a cold, but it turns out that drinking tea is a great preventative measure, too, thanks to antioxidants. Green tea contains the most cold-fighting benefits, and while black tea loses some to fermentation, adding it to your diet is still a good call if green tea isn’t your jam.
Adding cinnamon to your diet may be one of the easiest changes to make, since you can throw it into hot chocolate or coffee, or sprinkle it on, well, nearly anything. Cinnamon contains natural anti-bacterial and anti-viral benefits. Plus, it’s a natural sweetness intensifier, letting you cut back on white sugar at the same time.