Tis the season. . .

. . .for colds and flus! Yesterday marked my first cold of the season and today I go from prevent to heal mode.  I'm sitting with a scarf wrapped around my throat, which is rough and scratchy, and achey muscles and dull head.

So, what's my cold regime?  First, I remember that the most important thing is that I rest. That's probably the hardest part.  Then I really up my intake of fluids to help my body stay hydrated and flush out.  It's important to drink water and herbal teas.  Don't reach for juice, it's too high in sugar.  Did you know 1 teaspoon of sugar depresses your immune system by 20% for up to 6 hours!  That's crazy!  And when you're sick, you need your immune system in top shape.  My favourite tea to drink is this one. . .

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Lemon ginger tea with a secret ingredient.  Let me tell you about the lemon and ginger first though!

Lemon is high in vitamin C and phytonutrients, like hesperitin and naringenin, which are all powerful antioxidants.  The high content of vitamin C in lemons boosts the immune system, so its a great idea to increase your intake of this vitamin while your sick.

Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory, good for those achey pains, and it relieves nausea. It's best to buy fresh ginger root as it contains the highest amount of nutrients.  Ginger also increases our circulation, helping us stay warm when we're feeling the chills and it helps to promote sweating, which is a really important way the body removes toxins.

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Now for the secret ingredient. . . Garlic!  One of the most powerful antimicrobials on the planet, that means it kills the bacteria, viruses and germs that are making us sick.  It is an incredible bulb packed with incredible health benefits, from germ-killing to reducing inflammation to promoting a healthy heart.

Directions for tea- Boil water and in the meantime, slice garlic and allow it to sit for a few minutes, this help to activate the allicin in garlic, a phytonutrient. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes.  Then slice the ginger.  For one large cup I use 2 cloves of garlic and about an inch of ginger root.  Add ginger and garlic to a cup and then pour on the water and let it steep.  When it has cooled a bit, then add in the fresh juice of half a lemon.  Vitamin C is heat sensitive so we want to keep it maximized by letting the water cool a bit.

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Play with the quantities to find the taste you like.  If you would like a sweetener, I recommend raw honey. Raw honey is a great antimicrobial and will soothe a sore throat, but use in limited amounts as it still has sugar which we want to avoid as much as possible.

Now if you're really hardcore, you'll even eat the garlic when you're done the tea!  I do this when I really want to get better fast!  I warn you, you're whole body will smell like garlic in about 20 minutes, but I actually love this, knowing that the garlic has travelled to every part of my body to do its germ-fighting thing.  If that seems kinda weird or intense, you can just drink the tea!!