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Home mySSlife Cooking with Cindy Disease-fighting foods

Disease-fighting foods

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Although I love stews and soups, I never thought I would be craving a bowl of hot, chicken noodle soup during the first week of May. Caught in the misery of my first bad cold of the year, that is where I found myself a few weeks ago. As I pulled out my favorite comfort foods and beverages to fight my symptoms, and listened to reports of the ever-expanding flu, I realized that we can't just be vigilante about our immune systems during the winter. We have to stay on top of things all year.

I researched the topic these past few weeks as I battled the symptoms of a nasty little virus that left my throat sore and sounding like a frog early in the day.  I was glad to read that some of my favorite soothing remedies are considered credible in their homeopathic ways and also learn about some new things I could do to reduce symptoms and increase my immune system.

Chicken Noodle Soup – Mom's favorite cold remedy has been tested to see why it works. It has been shown to be effective in clearing nasal passages and inhibiting white blood cells. It also offers plenty of nutrition and fluids.

Vegetable Soup – A soup packed with chicken broth, leafy greens, carrots, and squash can boost your levels of Vitamin A  that improves the disease fighting ability of your skin and mucous membranes.

Hot Lemonade – It decreases congestion and it also provides a healthy dose of vitamin C.

Hot Tea with Honey and Lemon – Relieves congestion and provides a healthy dose of anti-oxidants. The darker the tea is the better.  The honey soothes a sore throat and also provides anti-oxidants.

Ginger Tea –- Exotic and effective, Ginger Tea has virus fighting foods that particularly combat cold viruses. It helps your body to get rid of chills and relieves sinus congestion.

Garlic – As unpleasant as it might sound, garlic is most effective for a cold when eaten raw, since cooking alters some of the herb's active ingredients. Garlic contains selenium, a natural immune system booster. Eat two servings per day.

Fruit –  Don't just limit yourself to oranges. Passion fruit and guava are packed with Vitamin C.  And don't forget “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

Water – The main trick with any virus or allergies is to keep the balance of mucous in line.  Water is your best tool. Stay hydrated and gargle with warm salt water.

Spices and herbs – There is nothing better to get your sinuses open than a hot chile pepper. Peppers, mustard or horse radish can easily open up your nasal passages. Licorice and peppermint help soothe throats and quiet coughs.

Foods to avoid when you have a cold – caffeine because it dehydrates, milk and alcohol because it thickens the mucous lining and because it lowers the bodies ability to wipe out virus cells.

Continue to drink these soothing beverages and eat the comfort foods your body craves when you are sick throughout the year.

A little preventive “medicine” goes a long way.

Mom's Chicken Noodle Soup
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
2 quarts chicken stock, recipe follows
8 ounces dried wide egg noodles
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Place a soup pot over medium heat and coat with the oil.
Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned.
Pour in the chicken stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the noodles and simmer for 5 minutes until tender.
Fold in the chicken, and continue to simmer for another couple of minutes to heat through; season with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

Ginger Tea
1 lb gingeroot
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup honey or sugar
Grate or thinly slice ginger root (no need to peel). Steep in boiled water for at least 3 hours (more if you can stand to wait that long). I like to use my french press coffee maker, but use what you have on hand.
Pour strained liquid into 1 gallon pitcher, adding lemon juice and sweetener.
Add enough cold water to make 1 gallon.

Garlic Aioli
1 cup mayonnaise (not salad dressing)
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4-1/3 cup minced garlic
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/3 cup finely chopped tarragon
In a bowl whisk together all ingredients. Cover and chill for a minimum of 3 hours before using.



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