Kitchen Medicine: 4 Foods That Prevent Colds
The biggest challenge for our body during the cold months is dryness. It can be so uncomfortable-dry lips, dry skin and, yes, itchiness. Protecting our body and especially our lungs from dryness is important because they are our first line of defense against catching colds. Adequate moisture in the mucosa makes them slippery. When the nasal mucosa is dry, it is much easier for the Rhino viruses that cause colds to attach and get into the blood stream. To counter dry weather and treat conditions of dryness, foods that moisten can be emphasized. Below are four groups that are in season during this time of year that do wonders for our immune system. So stock up!
1. White vegetables contain isothiocyanates, which support the immune system and protect us against the development of cancer. Members of the onion family especially garlic, but also turnips, ginger, horseradish, cabbage, and white bottom mushrooms are great.
2. Mucilaginous foods are good for mucous membrane renewal of the lung and colon. These plants remove old mucous deposits. Some examples of these foods are kombu, flaxseed, marshmallow roots, and fenugreek.
3. Orange veggies are rich in beta carotene (pro-vitamin A), which protects the surfaces and mucous membranes of the body. Some examples are carrots, winter squash, and sweet potatoes.
4. Dark green veggies, with their chlorophyll content, inhibit viruses. They also improve the digestion of proteins and fats. Examples are Broccoli, kale, mustard greens, watercress, wheatgrass, green and blue-green algae, and the herbs mullein leaf and nettles.
If you are anything like me, you don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen, but you want a tasty meal that’s hearty and healthy (ignore the bacon!). Try this quick stuffed sweet potato recipe that includes all 4 foods groups.
4 medium sweet potatoes
4 strips of bacon (you can add as much or as little as you like)
½ cup chopped onion
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 bunch torn kale (you can massage it if you like; even kale needs a little love)
Bake (you could also microwave them) the sweet potatoes in a 450 degree oven until tender (bake them for about 40 min; don’t forget to poke them with a fork before baking). Heat a large skillet and add the bacon. Cook the bacon until it is brown and crispy. Set aside. Add the onion to the pan and sauté until it is soft. Add the mushrooms and cook until they start to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the kale and sauté until it wilts. Slice the sweet potatoes lengthwise and stuff them generously with your vegetable mix, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and flax seeds and enjoy!