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By Anna Griffin, Editor in Chief

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Recently, I found myself sick with Bronchitis, my third bout this year. Not so favorable considering it was only June, and on average I had been hit consecutively every two months since the beginning of the year. To be plagued so severely and so frequently in such a short amount of time was worrying, but my brilliant GP was not surprised and calmly assured me that my immune system was weakened due to intense stress, a natural disruptor and immune system suppressor. It seems that running my own start-up business, two very invasive surgeries and the multiple general anesthetics and hard-core antibiotics that followed, and two close personal deaths all within a two-year period, had taken its toll.

On this round, my doctor was unable to see me for a week. Feeling physically miserable and wiped out, nose streaming, head pounding, coughing, listless and dizzy, I decided it was time to take my health into my own hands.

Mind over matter would be the first call, and healing my body of sickness using the power of nature while strengthening my immune system being the second. I was determined not to consume and therefore weaken my body with any more antibiotics, and so the idea to do an intense cleanse and flood my body with nothing but replenishing good stuff was set in motion. I knew that at the very least it couldn’t hurt, and that ingesting nothing but organic fruit and vegetables for a week would do no damage. In the worst-case scenario, I had a doctor’s appointment booked for the following week, but in the meantime, I would take my care into my own hands and see if I could help myself.

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My first action was to visit Pressed Juicery to stock up on fresh-pressed juices. On day one, armed with research and a good basic knowledge of what my body needed, I went to pick up my juice. Beyond basic organic greens like kale and spinach, which would fill me with goodness and give me an overall cleanse, I craved nature’s miracle flu busters, such as cayenne, turmeric, ginger, lemon, apple cider vinegar, and pineapple, also vital when doing a serious detox, and all promoting extensive health benefits beyond fighting colds and respiratory infections. Here’s a breakdown what these miracles of nature do . . .

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Cayenne peppers are a health-benefiting spice item packed with minerals, vitamins and certain phyto-nutrients. Disease preventing and health promoting, full of vitamins A, C, B6, and minerals such as iron and potassium, cayenne boosts immunity, scavenges harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body, and contains anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic and anti-diabetic properties.

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Turmeric is a root herb related to ginger, known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-cancer properties. Rich in vitamin B6, C, and minerals such as iron, calcium and potassium, a few grams of turmeric a day can provide enough nutrients to help you keep away from anemia, neuritis, memory disorders and offer protection against cancers, infectious diseases, high blood pressure, and strokes.

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Ginger is closely related to turmeric and cardomon and has a long history of being used to help digestion, reduce nausea and morning sickness, and help fight the flu and common cold, to name a few. A natural anti-inflammatory, its benefits include easing muscle pain and soreness, helping with Osteoarthritis, gingivitis and periodontitis, and lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels. The active ingredient in ginger is gingerol, a bioactive substance that helps lower the risk of infections.

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Lemon’s health benefits include treatment of throat infections, indigestion, constipation, dental problems, and fever, internal bleeding, rheumatism, burns, obesity, respiratory disorders, cholera and high blood pressure, while it also benefits hair and skin. Known for its therapeutic property for generations, lemons help to strengthen your immune system, cleanse your stomach, and are considered a blood purifier. Rich in vitamins C, B6, A, and calcium, iron, potassium and riboflavin, lemons also contain flavonoids, which are composites that contain antioxidant and cancer fighting properties.

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Pineapples are a good source of many nutrients, such as vitamin C, manganese, copper and folate. Pineapples are also the only source of the plant compound bromelain, which is associated with many health benefits, such as enhanced immune function, cancer prevention, improved wound healing and better gut health. A single serving of pineapple has more than 130% of the daily requirement of vitamin C for human beings, making it one of the richest and most delicious sources of ascorbic acid. Vitamin C is essential in the creation of collagen, for tissue, bone, and cellular health, and is also associated with reducing illness and boosting the immune system by stimulating the activity of white blood cells and acting as an antioxidant to defend against the harmful effects of free radicals and protect against cancer. Bromelain also acts as a protector of the upper respiratory tracts and sinus cavities, assisting in preventing illness and promoting healing once already contracted, while astringency helps ward off tooth loss and strengthen gums.

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The last must-have in my heal-myself-arsenal, a daily teaspoon of organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, which contains proteins, friendly bacteria, and enzymes, making it a powerful tool in killing many different bacteria’s including upper respiratory infections, lowering blood sugars and fighting diabetes, aiding in weight loss and fat flushing, and lowering cholesterol thereby reducing risk of heart disease. Additionally, it helps in soothing sore muscles, boosts energy and strengthens the immune system.

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After seven days of juice, the whole juice, and nothing but the juice, incorporating nature’s magical cures, my bronchitis was gone, my nose had stopped running, my cough was waning and my energy was back, and not an antibiotic in sight. I was feeling so great I cancelled my doctor’s appointment, inspired by my ability to not only heal myself but knowing that I was additionally strengthening my immune system, while protecting myself from other nasty ailments. The biggest lesson however was in learning the power of these simple gifts from nature, which are so easy to incorporate into our daily diet for maximum long-term health and vitality. With so many benefits offered to protect our bodies and overall wellbeing, why wouldn’t we indulge every day, flu ridden or not? We have nothing to lose, and as I personally found out, everything to gain.