By Linda Niazi
Growing up, I used to brag I never got sick while my friends were at home for days with colds. Fast forward to living with three kids and a husband who commutes on Bart, and it is an entirely different story. During cold and flu season it seems we get sick almost every other week. Unfortunately, there isn’t much I can do for the kids. Our job is to help the body with anti-inflammatory foods, tons of hydration, rest, and gut boosting probiotics to improve nutrient absorption. These are the top foods I give to my family when they catch a cold:
Chicken Bone Broth
Chicken bone broth is a virus fighting superfood from beginning to end. Going down, the warm broth helps soothe sore throats and is easy to consume. Finally, chicken broth is packed with anti-inflammatory amino acids glycine and proline to boost the immune system. You can find organic bone broth in the refrigerated section of your local grocery store or you can easily make it in a crock pot. I tend to make large batches all winter long. You can drink it as is, dress it up with noodles and shredded chicken, or blend it with your favorite veggies such as butternut squash or tomatoes.
When my kids are sick, it is almost impossible to get them to eat or drink much of anything. However, they will gulp down my ginger lemonade. I use fresh lemons packed with vitamin-C, and ginger which improves digestion and is anti-inflammatory. As soon as my kids show signs of sickness, I brew up a huge batch and give them 2-3 glasses a day until they are well again.
Fresh Squeezed Juices and Smoothies
Fresh juices and smoothies are packed with nutrients, are anti-inflammatory, and easy for kids to drink when they are sick. I tend to make juices with apple, lemon, kale and oranges or smoothies with banana, tons of spinach, frozen mango and pineapple. We love mixing in Raised Real’s Strawberry Beet meal with some almond milk.
Probiotics build up the healthy bacteria in the gut, which is responsible for breaking down food and improving nutrient absorption. They are found in all raw foods, fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut, yogurt, or you can buy probiotics from most grocery stores and pharmacies. Introducing probiotics at the start of cold season will help improve your family’s immune system and hopefully ward off colds, or at least help your family get over them quicker. And don’t forget prebiotics, the fiber that fuels bacteria and allows it to do its job.