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Stocking Your Kitchen for Cold & Flu Season

We tackled decluttering the kitchen last year with POYEL so today instead of focusing on cleaning out, we’re talking about stocking up.  Cold and flu season is officially upon us and Natalie’s here today sharing her secrets for keeping a well-stocked kitchen that’s ready to wage war on sick bugs. I’ve never been one to experiment much with home remedies but recently our babysitter suggested placing a quartered raw onion in S’s room when she had a cold – it worked wonders!

Were you sick over the holidays? Are you still getting over those nagging cold and flu symptoms? We may have entered a new year, but that doesn’t mean our immune systems get an automatic fresh start. While many of us are thinking about losing weight and changing our diets, we should be thinking about supporting our immune health through food, as well.

There are tons of healing foods out there and most of them are available at your local grocery store. By incorporating these simple foods into our daily diets and increasing them when we start to feel symptoms creep in, we can dramatically change how our bodies fight off germs and viruses. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I AM NOT a medical professional. All of these foods are commonly known to fight cold symptoms, boost your immune system and support general health. If you have questions, please consult your medical professional before implementing food-based remedies.

My favorite remedies for colds specifically are these:

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1 tablespoon raw honey. Mix together in a small bowl. Take directly off a spoon or stir into a mug of hot water or tea. (This is for adults and children over 1 year old. Do not give honey to children under 1.)
  • water + fresh grated ginger + cinnamon sticks + fresh mint sprigs + lemon slices + honey. Put everything in a pot and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and steep. Drink hot or cold- add a sprinkle of cayenne pepper or a splash of apple cider vinegar to clear the sinuses.
  • garlic + onions + oregano + cayenne pepper. This combination can be added to just about anything savory- soups, stews, sauces, vegetable sautes, salads, you name it. To kick up the nutrients, combine with quality meat, eggs, leafy greens or carrots/yams/squash. You can also interchange the herbs and spices.

When shopping, choose organic and local whenever possible! Each food listed below will support your immune system – you don’t need to eat everything on the list, but try to incorporate as many as you can. You’ll see the nutrients that your body needs most when it’s in crisis mode: vitamins C and E, selenium, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, carotenoids and bioflavanoids.

Natural Decongestants/Expectorants

water/steam, oregano, onions, garlic, peppermint, ginger, honey, cayenne pepper, apple cider vinegar

Antibiotic/Antiviral/Antibacterial

garlic, onions, honey, fermented/probiotic foods, oregano, horseradish, lemon, ginger, high quality coconut oil, elderberry syrup

Antioxidants

tea (all kinds, but especially green), peppermint, turmeric, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, berries, beans

Vitamin C

citrus fruits (lemon, orange, grapefruit), leafy greens, broccoli, pineapple, papaya, strawberries, kiwi

Selenium

garlic, meat, fish and shellfish, eggs, brazil nuts, legumes, mushrooms, whole grains, onions

Zinc

beef, turkey, lamb, beans, oysters, crab, peanuts and seeds

Vitamin E

nuts, seeds, paprika, chili powder, whole grains

Omega 3s

nuts, salmon, tuna, mackerel, flaxseed, high quality olive oil

Carotenoids

carrots, yams, leafy greens, winter squash, cilantro, thyme

Bioflavanoids

citrus, berries and grapes (especially black grapes), onions, garlic, buckwheat

Again, I am not a medical professional. Just a lady who prefers an ounce of prevention. Anyone have any foods or simple remedies they would add to the list?

 

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Natalie is lover of all things edible and mom to two sweet babies under 3 years old. She shares her favorite from-scratch recipes, techniques and tips for entertaining on her blog, Oven Love.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Dhilma January 2, 2013 at 10:52 pm

HI there! Thanks for this great list! I have personally tried bees honey and cinammon powder for a chronic and irritating cold which I suffered from for 3 weeks. I took i tablespoon of honey mixed with 1 tsp of cinammon powder , once a day for 3 days and at the end of this, my symptoms were reduced by 90%, Over the next few days it cleared up completely. Thanks for your great advice!

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Christina January 5, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Great lists and tips! Another vitamin my doctor encourages our family to keep on top of, especially in the cold, rainy, dark months, is vitamin D. Its hard to get enough of it here in Vancouver in the winter, and hard to get enough in dietary sources, so we do vitamin D drop supplements.

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Daniela August 13, 2014 at 3:39 pm

What a great list!! I have worked as a nanny and always took care of my immune system specially working with little ones. So I do elderberry syrup or spray and oregano oil. Can find both in natural stores.

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