Trick or Treat?
In a few days we’ll hear that phrase chanted from many little costume clad children––and some not so little–– sweet-treat-seekers. What does this favored seasonal celebration have to do with the Immune System?
The sugar overload season begins with Halloween and continues through Spring. Sugar is one of the immune system’s greatest enemies, so try to curb your consumption to extend your sweet treat intake and be kind to your immune system.
It’s also the season when the Immune System faces attacks from every direction. Those viral- bacterial-fungal-pathogen bad-guys have returned for the Fall and Winter season and are looking for an inviting environment!
I like to think of my immune support in three segments:
• Stop it at my nose and throat (prevention)
• Keep my immune system on high alert, (maintenance), and
• “Oh, no! I’ve caught a bug!” (all out immune support)
Most “bugs” look for an entryway into the mucous membranes––eyes, nose, ears, throat––to “lodge” and make you miserable. So, the phrase we should be chanting this time of year is Prevent or Treat? I would rather stop the symptoms than have to treat them later.
With powerful anti-oxidant plant/herb, vitamin & mineral supplements, it’s a simple process to prevent many seasonal discomforts. Let’s look at a few symptom stoppers:
• Elderberry: A natural flu fighter, which inactivates viral activity; a powerful anti-oxidant shown to stimulate the immune system by increasing the production of lymphocytes (fighter cells)
• Zinc: A mineral that supports the immune system, heal wounds and is necessary for normal growth; a popular supplement for the seasonal cold
• Aloe Vera Juice: Since about 60-70% of the immune system is in the gastrointestinal tract, it’s important to stimulate the production of probiotics. One of the best pre-biotic foods is Aloe Vera Juice.
• Vitamin C: A long-time, commonly used cold/flu remedy, Vitamin C improves the immune system by strengthening the action of natural killer cells and shortening the duration of the common cold
It’s prevention planning at its best to have remedies with these ingredients in your wellness cabinet. There are many combinations in the market place, so choose one that works best for you and stock up.
Restful sleep, extra water consumption, and activity/exercise that moves the lymph are also beneficial symptom stoppers and immune builders for the cold and flu. With these powerful preventive ingredients and action steps, you’ll be warding off any unwelcome microbes. Cold and flu season is not one you’ll want to savor! Be Well!
For centuries, chicken soup has been the “go to” home remedy for a cold or the flu. If you begin to feel “flu-ish” this may be a recipe you’ll want in your wellness arsenal:
Soup-er Power Chicken Soup
6 - cups chicken broth (homemade or from the grocers)
2 - cups water
1-1/2 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken pieces (thighs or breast)
16 cloves garlic, peeled
2 - cans diced tomatoes (14-15 oz each)
2 - yellow bell peppers, cut in 1” pieces
1-1/4 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
3/4 - cup Basmati rice
6 - tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
3 - tablespoons lime juice
1 - tablespoon minced jalapeño pepper
In a large soup pot, combine the broth and water. Bring to a boil, add the chicken and garlic, reducing heat to a simmer.
Cover pot and cook until the chicken is just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside. Once chicken is cooled, cut in 1” pieces.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic to a blender or food processor along with1/3 cup of the broth. Puree on medium speed until mixture is smooth.
Return the garlic puree to the soup pot along with the tomatoes, yellow peppers, cumin, salt and cayenne. Bring to a boil, stir in the rice, reduce to a simmer. Cover and continue cooking until the rice is tender, about 15-minutes.
Return the chicken pieces to the soup pot along with the cilantro, lime juice and jalapeño. Cook just until heated through, about 1-minute.
Enjoy this nutrient rich, immune boosting soup in “cold and flu season.”
Usually when I get seasonal symptoms, (and sometimes when I’m in a hurry) I want a remedy quickly. I purchase a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken that I cut into bite-sized pieces. This reduces cooking time, and I’m snuggled in with my warm bowl of soup in record time!