The days are getting shorter and nights are getting colder, so pull out a comfy pair of thick woolly socks, make a cup of tea and sit down by the fire and enjoy the season of hygge. While it is the season to fully enjoy cosiness and warmth, it is also the season of colds and flu with almost everyone suddenly sneezing or coughing. Read below some tips and trick on how to improve your immune system and help it fight off those nasty autumn colds and flu.
There are several spices that can improve your immune system and help to keep colds and flu at bay or simply help to fight them off a bit quicker and improve your wellbeing while you are ill. Here is the list of four spices that will keep you warm during this cold season.
What is the first smell that pops into your mind when you think of winter? It is most likely the smell of warm cinnamon buns. Besides being an extremely delicious spice in desserts, cinnamon also has numerous health benefits, being used for its medicinal benefits all over the world for centuries.
Cinnamon has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. In addition cinnamon contains a lot of antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory effects. Cinnamon also contains manganese (good for your bones), calcium and fibre. There are two main types of cinnamon – Cassia and Ceylon/True – Ceylon cinnamon is a better supplement option due to lower coumarin content. The benefits of using cinnamon daily are still being studied and besides having health benefits to help to boost the immune system, cinnamon could also control blood-sugar levels.
My Good Planet recommends adding a little bit of cinnamon to your morning porridge or go ahead and try it in your morning coffee. How about adding it to your dinner, it goes well with pumpkins or chilli dishes. Not a foodie? Try a cinnamon tea and enjoy the warm welcome that the smell and taste of cinnamon offers.
Cloves are actually dried flower buds, and these flower buds might have been the first breath fresheners ever. Cloves also contain lots of antioxidants, in fact in 1 g of cloves is about the same amount of antioxidants than in a half cup of berries. However, cloves are not only high in antioxidants, but they also have antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, local anaesthetic (try biting on a clove if you have a toothache) and anti-flatulent properties. Cloves also contain manganese, iron, selenium, magnesium and vitamins A, K, B6, B1, and C. Hence cloves also give a boost to your immune system.
Next time when you are cooking stew, soup or curry add some ground cloves, or bring in the feeling of warmth into your house by adding some ground cloves to the cinnamon bun dough or cookie dough. Cloves go well together with cinnamon and cardamom.
Ginger is one of the oldest medicinal tools and belongs to Zingiberaceae botanical family, which also includes turmeric and cardamom. An old Indian proverb says, that “everything good is found in ginger”. Ginger soothes digestive system, it encourages perspiration (great to help to ‘sweat out’ cold), reduces symptoms of motion sickness, and ginger contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. Ginger might even help to fight with those dark day migraine headaches.
The best way to consume ginger is by drinking freshly grated/chopped ginger root tea. If you already feel the cold coming on, find the comfy socks and enjoy the hot ginger tea, add lemon and/or honey to change it up a bit. Try and substitute your morning coffee with a cup of ginger tea, to aid your digestive system and keep the cold at bay.
Lately there have been so many discussions regarding the benefits of turmeric, and there are ongoing studies to see the full range of benefits. The good stuff in turmeric is curcumin, the yellow pigment. Same as cinnamon, turmeric has several health benefits; it has anti-inflammatory, antiviral and anticancer compounds, and it is packed with antioxidants. Moreover, turmeric is good for the heart and brain.
Remember, to help the body to observe curcumin better, crack a little bit of black pepper on top of the food or drink where turmeric has been added. Piperine from black pepper increases the absorption and positive effects of turmeric.
Don’t know how to use turmeric? Try adding it to your breakfast porridge (it will turn as bright and yellow as a morning sunshine), add it to curries or soups, try it in tea or try ‘golden milk’. If you are not a fan of the slightly bitter taste, why not try this hot superfood chocolate with turmeric, hide the bitterness behind the sweetness of chocolate. I can personally vouch for this drink, and it is one of my go to drinks during the cold season.
Remember that also fresh air and movement will help to keep your body healthy during the winter season, so enjoy the hot chocolate superfood drink or ginger tea after the long walks to warm yourself up along with cinnamon buns spiced up with cloves. Enjoy the season of hygge!