The Challenge: Spring is here, and your allergies are getting kicked into high gear.
The Science: Various natural compounds can boost your immune system, kill bacteria, and ease respiration.
The Solution: Enjoy these tasty teas and spices to win the battle with allergies!
We’re not out of the woods yet as far as cold and flu season. In fact, many people are getting that “tripping-at-the-finish-line” feeling as cases of Flu B skyrocket around the country. Flu B is not as intense as the big, bad Flu A that hit earlier this year, but still no walk in the park. Speaking of walks in the park, should you take one, you’re also likely to be getting hit with springtime allergens. Here are some tips to protect you on all fronts in this seasonal war on your immune system.
Get Garlic Aside from being highly nutritious and an amazing flavor additive in all types of savory cooking, garlic is also one of your best allies in strengthening your immune system. Crush up garlic before adding to your cooking to release the allicin it contains, a potent antimicrobial, bacteria-killing compound. One medical study from Korea also showed that garlic builds your defenses against heavy metal accumulation. So get cookin’ and “crush it”!
One Honey of A Healer Honey is one of nature’s wonders. Produced and preserved by the hard work of thousands of little laborers, honey is one of the rare foods that never spoil as long as it is not exposed to air. This is because it is hygroscopic, meaning very low moisture, and it draws moisture to it from other sources, including bacteria, thereby killing those bacteria and strengthening your immune system. Raw honey for counteracting seasonal allergies is a debatable claim. One study showed that this is indeed the case, but another study says “no dice” on that claim. So why stick with raw honey? The better question is why NOT? The antimicrobial effects of honey still remain uncontested, and pollen remains an incredibly nutrient-dense food, high in antioxidants.
Take the Sting Out of This Season with Nettle Stinging nettle may not be a fun plant to handle, but your tummy can handle it just fine, especially in tea form. According to one study, with nettle as your ally in the allergy war, your antihistamines get boosted, and those seasonal symptoms diminish. Drink it as a tea or mix some powder into your morning smoothie.
Try Turmeric. Everyone is talking about turmeric. This ancient root was well known in traditional Indian medicine, Ayurveda, where it is known as a “healing powder” – in fact, it makes its way into most Indian dishes. Get a good brand to use in your cooking because the curcumin in turmeric is a known immune booster. Its anti-allergy properties are so strong that one study found it can even inhibit severe anaphylactic reactions to food allergies.
Add Some Spice with Ginger This potent root is loaded with flavor for both sweet and savory cooking. It can also be consumed as a stimulating tea or mixed into smoothies in powdered form for some added zest. Lucky for us, the tasty “kick” of ginger can also help kick our seasonal allergies to the curb. Ginger’s bioactive compounds are antibacterial, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory – which are all big pros for your body.
Fennel: Fennel is one of the most widely used herbal treatments. It’s great for use on the front lines to strengthen your immune system with its antiviral and antimicrobial properties. Should any of those pesky allergens make it past your first lines of defense, worry not. Fennel has long been used to heal congestion, reduce inflammation, and help you breathe easily. Fennel has a unique anise-style flavor as a tea, and the hearts are deliciously roasted with root vegetables or tossed with salad. (If you happen to be allergic to carrots or celery, steer clear of fennel because it’s from the same family.)
Here’s to a healthy Spring!