I know it's not flu season at the moment, but it seems that a lot of people have managed to get sick over the Christmas break! This is my go to remedy when my husband or I are starting to feel the symptoms of a cold or flu. It generally does a great job at combating the symptoms within 8-10 hours, especially if you have it before going to bed at night. Even if you aren't sick, but another family member is, you can drink it as a precaution.
So what makes this drink so good at fighting off colds and flus? It has some kick butt ingredients which knock out bacteria and reduce inflammation.
Lemons naturally have a very low pH level, making them quite acidic (yet they help to neutralise the bodies overall pH level, go figure!). This high acidity level makes them great bacteria fighters, neutralises many types of nasty bacteria. Lemon juice is high in vitamin C and hydrochloric acid, which forms an important part of the digestive process. Adding lemon juice into your water each day will aid in digestion and flushing out the bad stuff our bodies build up.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
This can be traced back to ancient Greece where Hippocrates was
known to prescribe it, with some honey, as a cure for coughs and colds. So it comes pretty highly recommend throughout history.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) adds a healthy dose of beneficial bacteria into the gut, which can increase immunity and help improve digestion. It is also known to be anti-fungal, and this helpful ingredient supports lymphatic drainage to beat off sniffles and allergies.
You can use whatever honey you have to sweeten this drink; however, Manuka honey in particular contains an abundance of health benefits on its own. If you aren't able to get a hold of Manuka honey (it can be pricey), opt for raw and organic where possible to ensure you are actually getting honey and not just high-fructose corn syrup. If you did get Manuka, make sure it is at least rated UMF 10 or above so you can get the health benefits. Apparently hydrogen peroxide is produced by honey, which gives it its incredible anti-bacterial properties. It is also full of B vitamins and amino acids. This really is my favourite cold fighting ingredient, and it actually tastes good!
It won't be news to any of you that garlic is included in this drink. I know it doesn't sound appealing to put in there, but we aren't creating a mocktail to satisfy our tastebuds. Garlic contains Allicin which has potent medical benefits. It contains manganese, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and selenium. According to large 12-week study, garlic reduced cold symptoms by 70%. That is, it reduced the symptoms from 5 days down to 1.5 days. (1)
TURMERIC AND CINNAMON
Both of these spices are loaded with antioxidants with Cinnamon out ranking garlic (3), and they both pack a punch when it comes to fighting inflammation. Inflammation being a large cause of many sicknesses.
Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric, which contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties and a tonne of antioxidants. Curcumin has been compared with pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories and has comparable results without the side effects. (4) The addition of a pinch of black pepper in the recipe, increases the absorption of curcumin by 2000% (5)
This intense spice contains anti-irritant properties, perfect for fighting an annoying cough, and is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. It is made up of a whopping 44% Vitamin A. Just don't be too heavy handed when you throw a pinch of this in.
Ingredients (one serve)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 heaped tsp manuka honey or more
1/2 tsp - 1 tsp crushed garlic clove (depending how brave you are!)
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp cinnamon
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch black pepper
Start with about ¼ cup room temperature water in a mug. Add all the ingredients, followed by hot water to top up your mug.
NB: I didn't use garlic or black pepper in this video, as I have only recently started to add garlic and learned of the benefit of including black pepper.