From Our Chefs

Natural Food Guide to Make it out of Cold and Flu Season

[Edit from the Author: January 2021. Wow, the world has changed so much since we first published this article over a year ago. Please note that this article is not meant to cure or prevent any virus or disease, but it is a guide to general wellbeing. As chefs, you know we’re big on food... so we speak on our area of expertise. If you are feeling under the weather, we recommend you consult with a medical professional.]

It’s that time of year when sniffling, sneezing and coughing almost becomes an ambient white noise in the background of our lives. Thankfully, many allergies and other ailments can be combatted and prevented with natural foods.

Returning to work/ school after the holidays paired with seasonal changes creates a double-wammy, putting our immune systems to the test. Even though you may be doubling down on Emergen-C or looking for any excuse to take a sick day, we want to give you the culinary guide to feeling 100%. Stay healthy even when everyone else around you is getting sick.

"Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food." -Hippocrates

Here's our round up of the Top 5 Foods to eat when you start to get the sniffles.

Natural Drink Remedies
Photographer: Joanna Kosinska | Source: Unsplash

1. Hot Tea

We bet your grandma’s told you this one before. Studies show that warm liquids act as a natural decongestant. Polyphenols, a micronutrient found in teas, that have properties that are anti-inflammatory. In addition, they protect the body's tissues against oxidative stress and associated pathologies. A specific polyphenol, tannins act as antioxidants and have antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.

So, drink up buttercup. Teas come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Head to your local grocery store to find one right for your specific ailment.

Suffering from allergies? Add a little local honey. Ingesting local pollen can lead to reduced sensitivity from local allergens.

Photographer: Michele Blackwell | Source: Unsplash

2. Garlic

Not just for keeping the vampires away. This famous herb has been used for its medicinal properties since ancient times. Best known for its natural anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiviral and immune boosting properties.

Adding some garlic to a soup or broth can not only bring out a bold flavor, but help keep cold and flu symptoms at bay.

Photographer: The Creative Exchange | Source: Unsplash

3. Ginger

Ahhh, ginger. The ultimate relaxation for your stomach. A powerful anti-nausea. The root naturally “acts similar to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. It has also demonstrated antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Try grating ginger into a stir fry full of dark leafy greens. Or even into boiling water with lemon for a cure-all tea.

Photographer: Markus Winkler | Source: Unsplash

4. Coconut Water

Stay hydrated my friends. Skip the Gatorade. Coconut water is packed full of natural electrolytes (with no added sugar). Not only is it an efficient and tasty way to stay hydrated, it contains tannins. Yes, the same compound found in red wine is present in coconut water and helps to reduce inflammation. That's not all folks... the drink also contains antioxidants and is just plain delicious.

Bonus points if you score a fresh coconut.

Natural Fruit Platter
Photographer: Cecilia Par | Source: Unsplash

5. Citrus fruits and berries

Do you ever wonder what makes berries bright red, blue or purple? Wonder no longer. The colors are a natural result of a flavonoid called anthocyanin. Proven to inhibit common viruses and bacteria from attaching to cells, anthocyanins make berries an amazing snack when you’re feeling under the weather. Known for being anti-inflammatory, antiviral and immune boosting.

Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons and grapefruit contain high levels of flavonoids and, yes you guessed it, immune boosting vitamin C.

Try some fresh berries on top of soothing oatmeal for a warm, cozy treat.

Once she stopped rushing through life she was amazed how much more life she had time for.
Photographer: Kinga Cichewicz | Source: Unsplash

While the list of amazing benefits from fruits, vegetables and herbs goes on and on, our main point is to keep it natural. Reaching for the junk food may be comforting when you’re feeling under the weather. But it’s the time that your body needs real nutrients the most. Take it easy and be kind to your body.

Get some more inspiration for healthy meals (and maybe a few indulgent one’s too) by following us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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