The insider's scoop on food, travel & southern culture
It’s that time of year again, the dreaded cold & flu season. During these wintery months, our best attempts at dodging germs are often in vain. No matter how hard we try, it seems we inevitably come down with something achy or sniffly. And when one person in your office or household dips under the weather — well, it’s only a matter of time…
They say that food is not the answer to your problems, but the truth is, certain foods might be the answer to your symptoms. There are a number of herbs and seasonal produce that contain ‘healing properties,’ which have been proven to help prevent and remedy certain types of illness. If you’re looking for natural remedies (or if your prescription drugs aren’t quite doing their job), I suggest you work some of these restorative foods into your diet. Just call me Dr. Simone, your deep-fried medicine man.
Garlic — (for congestion, overall health)
Garlic has historically been known for the diversity of its medicinal qualities. The healthful component in garlic is called allicin, which is released when the cloves are chopped or chewed. It’s a little-known fact that the allicin in garlic acts as a decongestant, and it also wards off cough symptoms. Another little secret: the powerful little herb is also natural antibiotic, which helps prevent against unhealthy bacteria and viruses.
(Tip) Worried about the side effects of this healthy herb (a.k.a. garlic breath)? Not to worry, I have a cure for your cure. A little lemon juice will take care garlic breath and protect those within range.
Carrots — (for headaches)
Carrots aren’t just good for the eyes and skin — they’re good for headaches, too. The beta-carotene in carrots eases inflamed blood vessels in the brain. Increasing your daily intake of carrots has been proven to greatly help reduce the occurrence of headaches. And if that’s not enough of an argument, carrots have also been proven to help in preventing heart disease, stroke and gum disease. Chew on that.
Thyme — (for cough)
Thyme is rich in thymol, which is derived from the herb’s essential oils and happens to be a powerful antiseptic, antibacterial and antioxidant. Thymol is actually a common component in cough medicine or cough drops, as it acts as an effective expectorant and cough suppressant. And you just thought it smelled nice…
Potatoes — (strengthens immune system, improves mood)
This unassuming little spud surprisingly packs quite a punch. Although most people think of citrus when it comes to Vitamin C, the potato is actually an excellent source for the immune-boosting nutrient. According to MailOnline, a medium potato with the skins (about 150g) provides almost half of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin C. Potatoes are also rich in Vitamin B6, which is necessary for a healthy nervous system and a balanced mood.
When you’re under the weather, nothing quite hits the spot like a bowl of soup. Therefore, I leave you with two soup recipes that incorporate all these curative ingredients. Have a healthful winter and happy healing. (I’ll waive the co-pay):
Beef Stew with Carrots and Potatoes (Epicurious)
For braised beef:
For potatoes and carrots:
Click here for preparation instructions
Vegetarian Split-Pea Soup (Martha Stewart) — pictured above