Posts Tagged: Nutrition

5 Natural Cold Remedies Found in Your Kitchen

Think coughs and colds only arise in the winter? Now that it’s spring, they seem to be popping up again. With the arrival of spring, we’d like to think that we’re free and clear of all illnesses, when in fact this is when lots of people get sick.

Here are some simple, natural cold remedies to fight those pesky viruses and help get your immune system into tip top shape, just in time for you to enjoy the warmer weather:

Honey: I am a big fan of raw, unpasteurized honey for soothing sore throats and calming coughs. Research has shown honey to be a more effective treatment of night time coughs in children then over the counter cough suppressants. Just remember, honey can not to be given to children less than 1 year old and we always want to respect the bees. You can take a spoonful a few times per day, or add a teaspoon into a cup of warm tea. This is one of the easiest and tastiest natural remedies we can give our children (and grown-ups!) with very little complaints to be had.

Garlic: A nutrient-dense plant, garlic has been used for thousands of years in the treatment of illness and disease. Research shows that people who eat 1-2 cloves daily get fewer cold symptoms, and when they do get sick, it’s for less time. If eating it raw is too much for you, try adding it to salad dressings, into bean salads or quickly minced and add to greens. This is one food item that is worth getting your taste buds used too.

 

I highly recommend making a honey-garlic cough syrup next fall, letting the garlic infuse in honey for a month. It’s a perfect DIY home remedy that works wonders for coughs and is so easy to make.

Herbal Teas: There are so many beneficial herbal tea blends that can minimize those nasty cold and cough symptoms.

Sage is a wonderful herb (and safe for kids) that can dry up runny noses and wet coughs. Just be cautious in nursing mamas as it can dry milk up too.

Slippery elm is a demulcent and very soothing. It’s great for coating an irritated throat.

Thyme, a well known kitchen herb, is excellent for soothing deep-rooted coughs. Its antiseptic properties kill germs, but it also reduces coughing spasms and helps dispel mucus.

Chamomile is a household favorite of many. It calms a spasmodic cough and settles the nervous system promoting a restful sleep.

All these teas can be steeped in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. You can mix in a little honey for two remedies in one!

Ginger: This spicy herb is a strong antioxidant with antibiotic-like properties providing it with potent anti-microbial benefits. The heat induced by ginger allows for the movement of blood flow and congestion internally, helping to ease cold like symptoms. Ginger has also been touted for its wonderful anti-inflammatory benefits. Try making a cup of ginger tea by grating some fresh ginger into a mug of boiling water and add some raw honey and lemon to taste.

Zinc lozenges: Zinc is an essential mineral found in almost every cell in the body. Its antioxidant effects have been shown to resist infection, shortening the duration of illness by decreasing virus’ ability to grow. There are a variety of zinc lozenges to choose from, I just recommend you buy one that is free of sugar, as sugar is a sure-fire way to depress your immune system.

Happy spring! Hope you manage to stay healthy until next winter.

 

About the Author

Rachel Schwartzman, ND, L.Ac, Birth Doula

Rachel is a licensed naturopathic doctor, acupuncturist and birth doula. She is also a mother to three little one. She has a general naturopathic family medicine practice with a special interest in women’s health, fertility, pregnancy and pediatrics. www.rachelschwartzman.com

 

Easy Ways to get Greens into Your Day

It is spring! And nothing says spring like the budding of green from the earth. I am not talking about the crocuses and daffodils, I am talking about the herbs and baby greens.

One of the best ways to get kids to eat veggies is to let them plant seeds and grow tasty herbs like mint on the window sill. In colder climates, these can be started in April in separate small pots and transferred to a larger group pot when the frost warnings have passed. A pizza pot is a great way to start!

Plant:
• Parsley
• Oregano
• Chives
• Basil
• Baby spinach

 

Cut a handful of fresh herbs to sprinkle on top of a cooked (or delivered) pizza. Before you know it, you will be growing enough to add to a salad each day. Graduating to baby kale, Swiss chard and mustard greens is only a step away and can be done mid season as they are hearty through fall. It doesn’t have to be a big ordeal or an expensive process, the idea is to bring on the green.

Other spring vegetables that should be honored this season are green beans, asparagus and leeks. The easiest cooking method is to roast them all together. Rinse leeks well under cold running water and cut into rings, and then place on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Rinse the tips of asparagus and lop off the woody ends and place on the same sheet. Rinse green beans and line up one end to even out the tips for trimming. Line up the other end and do the same to maximize the amount of bean and minimize the waste. Drizzle with a mere tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and bake in a hot oven at 400F for 12 to 20 minutes depending upon the thickness and size of the veg. Stir once or twice so that the veg on the end doesn’t burn.

You can do a huge batch of these at a time and serve them in salads or as a cold side dish any time. Feel free to store in the fridge in glass jars in vinegar with a little sea salt like pickles. They go great on sandwiches or as a perk next to baked fish.

Working more vegetables into your day gives your body the spring clean that the house and garden are getting. Your skin and vitality will thank you.

About the Author

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com

How to properly clean your kitchen

How long should things last in the fridge? In the cupboard? What about cutting boards and wooden spoons? Do you throw them away? How do you know if they are still safe or if they are bacteria laden?

Here are the things you should do weekly, monthly and yearly to keep your kitchen safe and tidy.

Weekly:
• Clean out the fridge and toss any leftovers that have been there more than 5 days.
• Rotate your vegetable bin and roast whatever is left in there.
• Chop all fruits and either freeze for smoothies, cook for compote or make into a fruit salad. They will be more likely to be consumed and enjoyed.

Monthly:
• Label all containers in the freezer with dates & use up anything that has been there more than 3 months
• Toss anything more than 6 months old or anything that has freezer damage.

Yearly:
• Go through the spice drawer and throw away any that have been there for a year (or more, yikes!)
• And since it is Mabel’s birthday month, March is your “deal with scary dishes” month

Plastic containers
Pull out all your plastics and have the gang match up lids. If they don’t have a cover, toss them. Any with cracks or discolouring should go too.

If you are a yogurt tub re-user, know that the plastics used are not intended to handle the heat of the dishwasher or repeated washings as they can leach toxic substances. Buy decent dishes with lids and label them so they don’t go missing and you will be further ahead.

Water bottles and sippy cups need to be paired and managed just like the other plastics. Then, scrub a sink clean and fill w soapy hot water and a capful of bleach. Soak bottles for 10 min to kill bacteria they may have formed in cracks and let air dry.

Cutting boards
Wooden cutting boards can harbour bacteria and mold. They shouldn’t go in the dishwasher as that can cause splintering and drying. Instead, wipe down with vinegar after each use, rub with cooking oil and get a new one if you start to see black spots of rot or mold.

Plastic cutting boards can go in the dishwasher and, even though, they can look rough and discolored, they should be soaked in a sink of hot water with a cap of bleach on occasion.

I am not a big fan of anti-bacterial washes, soaps and sprays, they tend to do more toxic harm than good but a good old fashioned annual rotation of attention to a kitchen is in order.

 

About the Author

Theresa Albert

Theresa Albert is a Food Communications Specialist and Toronto Personal Nutritionist. She is @theresaalbert on twitter and found daily at www.myfriendinfood.com

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