Greek physician Hippocrates said 'Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food'. Even way back in 431 BC Hippocrates was on to something. We know many foods are packed with immune boosting and healing properties, so if you're feeling a bit under the weather this winter, let nature give you a helping hand...
Garlic doesn't just keep vampires at bay, it's packed with antiviral and antioxidant properties. Studies show that eating 1-2 cloves of garlic daily can reduce your chance of contracting the flu by up to 50%. If you're worried about ending up with vampire-busting garlic breath, the good news is you can take it in capsule form and still stay socially acceptable.
Manuka Honey is bona-fide super-food with huge anti viral properties. The golden nectar produced by the humble bee is so powerful it can knock super-bug bacteria on its butt! Stir a big spoonful into a hot lemon drink to soothe a sore throat, or even better, lick it straight off the spoon! You can also apply Manuka honey topically to wounds & ulcers to fight bacteria and accelerate healing. Choose Manuka honey with a UMF rating of 10 (or higher) to get the best bang for your buck.
Curries are a favourite Friday night takeaway, but did you know curry packs a mean punch to the flu virus? All those wonderful aromatic spices aren't just there for taste. Cumin, chili, turmeric, coriander, ginger and cinnamon have anti-inflammatory & anti-viral properties that help stimulate the immune system and clear congested sinuses.
So Hippocrates was right, food really can be medicine. Crack open the spice rack and whip up a flu-busting curry soup tonight:
1 ½ cup dry red lentils
5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, diced
1 100gm tin of diced tomatoes
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 -2 Tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 Tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 Tablespoons curry powder
½ teaspoon chili flakes (or more, if you're feeling adventurous...)
1 400gm tin of coconut milk
Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/3 cup golden raisins (optional)
Rinse lentils thoroughly until water is no longer cloudy
In a large pot, add lentils and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add carrots, and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in coconut milk and diced tomatoes.
In a skillet, heat coconut oil and sauté onions, garlic and ginger for a few minutes or until onions are translucent. Add tomato paste, curry powder and chili. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Toast the curry powder until fragrant being careful not to burn. Stir in raisins if using.
Add the spice mixture to the lentils. Cook the lentils for 10 more minutes or until soft and tender.
Optional ingredients include fresh kale or spinach. Just add the greens during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
Serve with a dollop of sour cream over rice or with Garlic Naan bread.