By Anna Griffin, Editor in Chief
October 1st came and with it a noticeable difference in weather here in Southern California. Along with the drop in temperature and the warm autumn breeze, the changing season reminds us that we are entering cold and flu season. How to best get a jump on the inevitable influenza and virus’ pervading our daily lives? By building our immune systems and utilizing nature’s most powerful remedies, incorporating them into our daily diet.
You don’t have to have a smoothie everyday – there are plenty of ways to incorporate ingredients such as turmeric and apple cider vinegar into other meals – but I find starting my day by fueling my body with exactly what it needs sets a great habit that I can maintain no matter what life throws at me.
As with maintaining a good physical routine, a good diet is essential to long-term wellness. By starting a daily commitment that naturally becomes habitual, we set ourselves up for success, and ultimately great health.
In selecting the best infection-busting ingredients, this smoothie incorporates vitamin C, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties, on a base of rich greens. I include either spinach or kale into every smoothie I make, and for this one I choose spinach as the foundation.
Spinach has an extremely high nutritional value and is rich in antioxidants. It is a good source of vitamins A, B2, C and K, and also contains magnesium, manganese, folate, iron, calcium and potassium.
On top of this base, I layer in fruits high in Vitamin C:
You may already know that oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C, but do you know how important both are for good health? Vitamin C is the primary water-soluble antioxidant in the body, disarming free radicals and preventing damage to cells triggering inflammation, associated with reduced severity of inflammatory conditions, such as asthma, osteoarthritis, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis. Vitamin C is vital for the proper function of a healthy immune system, good for preventing colds and helpful in preventing recurrent ear infections.
Pineapples are a storehouse of huge health benefits due to their wealth of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, including potassium, bromaline, copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, beta carotene, thiamin, B6, and folate, as well as soluble and insoluble fiber. Health benefits include improving respiratory health, aiding in the cure of coughs and colds, improving digestion, weight loss, bone strengthening, boosting oral and eye health, reducing inflammation, preventing cancer, increasing heart health, fighting off infections and parasites, improving the immune system, and increasing circulation.
Healthful, everyday staples in fighting inflammation and boosting the immune system are vital. Natural ingredients that challenge chronic inflammation are of importance in preventing diseases, from the common cold to cancer.
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.
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.
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.
Apple Cider Vinegar
A daily teaspoon of organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar contains proteins, friendly bacteria, and enzymes, making it a powerful tool in killing many different bacteria’s including upper respiratory infections. It also contributes to lowering blood sugars and fighting diabetes, aiding in weight loss and fat flushing, and lowers cholesterol thereby reducing risk of heart disease. Additionally, it helps in soothing sore muscles, boosts energy and strengthens the immune system.
Greek yogurt is packed with probiotics. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that can help boost your immune system and decrease stomach issues, such as diarrhea and pain. Another benefit of Greek yogurt is that it’s high in calcium, key to building strong muscles and helping your vital organs function.
When shopping for ingredients, always choose organic particularly the fruits and vegetables, which can be laden with nasty pesticides, thus undoing all your good work and the benefits to your body.
Cold-Busting Smoothie Recipe:
2 cups fresh spinach
1/2 cup coconut water, unsweetened (or regular water)
½ cup orange juice
1 cup pineapple
1 orange, peeled
½ tspn of ground turmeric powder
2 tspns of apple cider vinegar
1 tbspn of Greek yoghurt
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
Note: This smoothie contains the ultimate in stay-well ingredients, but you can modify as you choose. The tang from the apple cider vinegar and taste of the spices is soothed by the creaminess of the Greek yoghurt. You can add more to suit your taste if desired.
- Blend spinach, coconut water and orange juice until smooth.
- Add remaining ingredients, and blend until smooth.
- Enjoy, and go out into the world feeling boosted and well!