There are key seasons throughout the year that everyone dreads- cold and flu seasons. Whenever the temperature changes, it seems like everyone around you has red eyes, drippy noses, and scratchy throats. As someone who’s a little obsessed with keeping my immune system strong, flu season feels like a nightmare.
But instead of stocking up on over-the-counter pills and rubs, I protect myself from the inside out! Nutrition is one of the best approaches you can use to stay healthy, no matter what bug is going around.
What to Eat If You Get a Cold
My two favorite ingredients for protecting myself against a lengthy and physically draining virus are pineapple and turmeric! Since I work around lots of people, I usually end up catching someone’s cold maybe once a year, but I make sure to consume plenty of pineapple and turmeric to keep the bug as short-lived as possible. I’ve even passed on my tricks to a few of my co-workers.
Pineapple is a great fruit to use against colds, because of its antibacterial properties. A 2016 study revealed that pineapple extract (the active ingredient is called bromelain) could effectively kill germs like staphylococcus aureus, which is responsible for those annoying respiratory tract and stuffy nose infections (1). It’s important to know that bromelain comes from the core and stem of pineapples (watch this video for more).
Interestingly, scientists discovered that pineapple juice can also kill germs and that its antibacterial activity is more effective at colder temperatures (2).
Turmeric is widely known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which definitely come in handy when your sinuses feel like they might explode or when your lungs are wheezing and rattling away. The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, can help you feel more comfortable when you’re fighting infections in your nasal passages or respiratory tract. But the same curcumin has been found to fight unwanted microbes as well (3)!
The thing about turmeric is that the human body doesn’t easily absorb it into its system. That’s why it’s important to consume turmeric with a healthy fat like coconut oil for maximum effect.
Do I Just Eat Turmeric & Pineapple By Itself?
No, you don’t. That is to say, you could, but you could also do a lot better than that. That’s where my favorite pineapple-turmeric smoothie recipe comes in!
Whenever I notice people are getting sick, I start blending this up for breakfast or bring it with me to work for my afternoon snack. Don’t forget to drink it cold for maximum benefit from the pineapple, and to help soothe any inflammation in your head or chest. This smoothie recipe also makes a fantastic post-workout smoothie! It gets you hydrated very quickly and the coconut water’s electrolytes are a much healthier option than those artifically colored sports drinks.
As an added bonus, you can add a clean protein source like this Pea Protein Powder, to your smoothies to help satiate any unhealthy cravings you might have during the day.
This amazing recipe is adapted from our friends at youngandraw.com (4).
Prep Time: 5 mins.
1 ripe banana
½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
½ teaspoon grated fresh turmeric
¼ of a cucumber
¼ of a pineapple, chopped or blended (Remember what I said about bromelain? Don’t cut out the core!)
1 tablespoon hemp hearts
Juice of ½ lemon
½ cup coconut water
½ cup coconut milk
recommended: 1 teaspoon of coconut oil to help with turmeric absorption.
Add all ingredients to blender.
Blend until smooth.
Enjoy within 20 minutes post-workout.
I definitely recommend drinking lots of this if you end up catching a cold, along with your other preferred natural cold remedies are! Remember to stay hydrated, wash your sheets and pillow cases often, and use a natural cleaner to go over surfaces like doorknobs, light switches or tv remotes.
P.S. Here a few more delicious smoothies to try!
(1) Ashik Ahamed, et al. Evaluation of Anti-Microbial Activity of Pineapple Extract Against Select Microbes. Int. J. Pharm. Sci. Rev. Res., 39(1), pp 227-278. Retrieved from: http://globalresearchonline.net/journalcontents/v39-1/55.pdf.
(2) Rathnayaka, R.M.U.S.K. Antibacterial Effect of Malic Acid Against Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella enteritidis, and Escherichia coli in Mango, Pineapple, and Papaya Juices. American Journal of Food and Technologies: 2013. Retrieved from: http://docsdrive.com/pdfs/academicjournals/ajft/0000/49194-49194.pdf.
(3) De, et al. Antimicrobrial Activity of Curcumin against Helicobacter Pylori Isolaes from India and during Infections in Mice. American Society for Microbiology: 53(4), pp 1592-1597. Retrieved from: http://aac.asm.org/content/53/4/1592.short.
Scalzub, S. (n.d.). Pineapple Turmeric Replenishing Post-Workout Smoothie. Retrieved September 15, 2016 from http://www.youngandraw.com/pineapple-turmeric-replenishing-post-workout-smoothie/