Winter has a wicked reputation for being the season of sickness. Instead of rushing to the doctor to hear the same advice to drink your fluids and get some sleep, or turning to your local pharmacy’s collection of cold medicines and bedtime syrups, try healing your own body at home. Twice as many people are searching for natural cold remedies between January and February compared to June and July. Oftentimes, a combination of the right foods and vitamins is just what you need to recover as efficiently and effectively as possible.
A plethora of myths surround do-it-yourself sickness secrets, and while some hold true, many are made up. One of the most popular is advice not to touch any dairy products when a cold hits because it’ll produce more mucus, but there’s no medical basis for this assumption. In fact, a cup of ice cream can soothe your throat or even get some calories into you when you don’t want to eat.
Another tale is that sickness spreads the quickest before symptoms even show up — not true. You’re at your most contagious two to four days after exposure, which is at the beginning of a sickness when you first start showing symptoms. Stay at home as soon as you start feeling under the weather and don’t wait until you’ve spread germs around the office to catch up on some rest.
Speaking of rest, while relaxation is important for the body’s immune system to work at optimal capacity, you should still try and squeeze in 30 minutes of exercise. Rigorous workouts at the gym won’t help you, but studies have shown those who allotted half an hour of moderate exercise felt better in the evenings than those who just laid around in bed all day.
8 EVIDENCE-BASED REMEDIES THAT ACTUALLY WORK
Chicken Soup: The classic go-to by mothers and grandmothers everywhere, soup has true healing powers. Its creates an anti-inflammatory impact by slowing down the movement of neutrophils. This will decrease the chances of cells collecting in the lungs and ultimately relieve you of congestion.
Eat Healthy: Nutrient-rich food is key to boosting the body’s immune system by flooding it with dietary nutrients. A healthy balanced meal can increase gamma interferon, which is essential for immunity and viral and bacterial infections.
Apple A Day: Apple cider vinegar has been shown to fight off infections, but a few slices off an apple can attack common cold viruses. Just 100 grams of apple equal 1,500 mg of vitamin C. Bonus: peels are rich in flavonoids, which lowers the risk for heart disease.
Vitamin C: Studies aren’t definitive on whether or not vitamin C can prevent or stop colds, but it has been proven to reduce the length of colds by increasing growth in T cells.
Honey: Has been shown to be as effective as the over-the-counter common cough supplement dextromethorphan. Honey can fight lung infections thanks to increased activity, which releases inflammatory relief of cytokines in order to repair cells.
Garlic: Not only does it decrease length and severity of flu symptoms, but it also stimulates the immune system. Garlic works best consumed raw, and has been shown to increase the growth of gamma delta T cells, which are able to locate infectious pathogens and remove them from the body.
Echinacea: Taking this herbal remedy can help treat the common cold by up to 58 percent, and even reduce the life of the cold by 1.5 days. Taking about 900 mgs of extract twice a day should do the trick.
Moderate Alcohol Consumption: Can help boost immune system and relax the body; however, it’s not recommended a sick person hit the bar. Drinking too much lowers the immune system’s defense and makes the body and those around a person susceptible to germs.
We’ve all been there. You workout hard and, for one reason or another, you don’t eat quickly enough afterwards. You start to feel shaky, hangry, jittery and maybe even anxious.
Eating properly after exercise is important not only to replenish the energy you’ve just burned, but also to make sure you get the most out of your workout — so you can see the results you want.
“Post workout nutrition provides fuel and nutrients for the body and helps prevent blood sugar lows and fatigue,” nutritionist Fiona Tuck told The Huffington Post Australia. “The body needs nutrients to help with muscle recovery and cellular repair.”
“Looking after yourself doesn’t stop at exercise — taking care of nutrition is critical,” Bingley-Pullin said. “Proper refuelling will also allow you to have more energy for your next workout.”
According to Alexandra Parker and Anna Debenham, accredited practising dietitians from The Biting Truth, whether you’re an amateur or a professional athlete, what you eat pre- and post-exercise is crucial.
“Following a workout, what you eat is vital in helping you reach your training and health goals and in ensuring you make the most of your workout,” Debenham said.
“Every time you exercise, carbohydrate stores (in the form of glycogen) are utilised for energy and your muscle protein is broken down. It’s therefore essential to replenish these stores afterwards.”
“Exercising actually makes your muscle tissues more sensitive to certain hormones and nutrients, which means that muscle is most responsive to nutrient intake during the first 30 to 90 minutes post-workout,” Parker added.
When it comes to post-workout recovery, always consider the three Rs:
Refuel your glycogen (carbohydrate) stores to avoid muscle tissue breakdown and low energy.
Lack of glucose to fuel the brain can lead to decreased alertness and concentration, and low mood.
Aim for high quality carbohydrates sources (think wholegrain breads and cereals).
Repair damaged muscles with protein.
Consuming protein post-workout will provide amino acids for the building and repair of muscle tissue. This will help you to recover more quickly.
Aim for lean protein sources (think lean meats, eggs, nuts, legumes, tofu and reduced fat dairy).
Rehydrate with fluids.
Most of us finish a workout at least a little dehydrated, and you will continue to lose fluids through sweating and breathing. It is essential that you replace these fluids immediately.
Your thirst is not the best gauge of hydration. The best way to tell how hydrated you are is to look at the colour of your urine. You want to aim for straw-coloured urine. The darker it is, the more dehydrated you are.
When we skip post-workout nutrition, the effects on the body are negative and quick to arise.
“While skipping a post-workout snack every now and then isn’t necessarily an enormous deal, it should never become a habit,” Parker told HuffPost Australia.
“If you don’t adequately replenish your stores following a workout, not only will you not make the most out of your workout, but your body can experience some other negative consequences.”
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels), which can make you feel disoriented and could even cause you to pass out
Increased fatigue (during training and at work or school)
Reduced performance at your next training session or event
Suboptimal gains from the session just completed — you won’t make the most out of your workout
Increased muscle soreness.
“Blood sugar can drop which can lead us to feeling shaky, tired, lightheaded and even nauseated,” Tuck said. “The brain relies on a constant supply of glucose to stay mentally alert, so our attention can wane and we can feel low in energy and mood.”
When it comes to actual post-workout food, Parker said the type and amount comes down to your fitness goals, more so than the exercise itself.
“Generally, the principles are very much the same, but exactly what your body needs most varies slightly depending on the type of exercise you’re doing and what your goals are,” Parker said.
“The time of day of your workout is also going to make a difference to the meal or snack you have (lunch food is very different to a snack).”
As a general rule, Parker recommends that all post-exercise foods should be rich in good quality carbohydrates to replenish muscle fuel stores, contain some lean protein to repair muscles, and include a source of fluid and electrolytes to re-hydrate effectively.
“The higher the energy intake (calories) depends on the intensity of the amount of physical exercise,” Tuck explained. “Long distance endurance training or weight training or body building would be different to a relaxing yoga class, for example.”
Here’s what to eat after different types of workouts.
1. Cardio work (e.g. running, endurance, cycling)
“The key is replenishing carbohydrate stores, and adequate hydration is essential,” Debenham said. “For example, a slice of whole grain bread with peanut butter and banana. It’s full of potassium which soothes muscles, high quality carbs, protein and heart healthy fats.”
Other great post-cardio options include: a banana and a handful of nuts, or 1-2 slices of whole grain toast with either ricotta and fruit or cottage cheese and tomato.
“Athletes, such as endurance runners and cyclists, need specific sports nutrition to ensure adequate nutrients and calories are consumed for the body to be able to function at its optimum,” Tuck told HuffPost Australia.
“This may involve consuming nutrients and electrolytes during the actual exercise, as well as pre- and post-work out nutrition.”
2. Pilates or barre
“Again, it depends on your goal. Is the goal to lose weight, or perhaps you’re looking to boost core strength and increase your muscle mass,” Debenham said.
“If your goal is weight loss, then a nutrient rich meal within 60 minutes of your workout is essential as the meal will be more efficiently digested. If your goal is to improve strength, then protein is key.”
Try two hard boiled eggs with multigrain toast, or a slice of roasted vegetable and feta frittata.
“Your food choices post-yoga should aim to repair your tired muscles and replenish your energy stores,” Parker said. “To do this, your body needs a hit of protein, some low GI carbohydrates and fruits or vegetables.
“Try a small tub of Greek yoghurt with a couple of spoons of natural muesli containing nuts and fruit. Or for something savoury, a small can of tuna, four bean mix and some chopped veggies.”
4. Resistance or strength training
If your goal is to gain muscle, then an energy-rich diet with adequate amounts of protein is just as important as your well-developed strength training program.
“While an increased intake is essential for muscle gain, your intake should be low in fat and high in nutrients,” Parker said.
“Following strength training, protein should be consumed. Consuming carbohydrates in conjunction with protein allows the protein to be used for muscle growth and repair.”
“Smoothies are a great option and easy if you’re on the run. Simply blitz the ingredients together in the blender the night before (berries, low fat yoghurt, oats).”
Tuck recommends trying a delicious chocolate smoothie with protein powder, banana, cacao and milk.
“This provides carbs, protein, fats and important minerals such as potassium and magnesium,” Tuck said.
5. High intensity interval training (e.g. cross fit, HIIT)
After high intensity interval training, Debenham recommends opting for an egg omelette with sautéed onions and capsicum, plus a bowl of chopped fruit. Hint: include pineapple.
“Aside from their protein content, eggs are high in leucine which triggers muscle protein synthesis. The vitamin C in the capsicums is essential for maintaining healthy cartilage you need to cushion your bones,” Debenham said.
Rosemary leaves are often used as a seasoning for food, especially in Mediterranean and Italian cuisine. The aromatic and sweet leaves can add flavor to meats and soups.
Rosemary also has many health benefits and is used in aromatherapy, hair loss treatment, and even in fighting cancer and dementia.
While rosemary can be beneficial to your health, it’s not appropriate for everyone. The herb should only be taken in small doses.
Rosemary is a popular herb most commonly used in cooking to add flavor to food. While its culinary potential knows no bounds, what’s not so commonly known is that rosemary also has many health benefits.
Rosemary is a culinary staple
Rosemary, or Rosmarinus officianalis, grows natively in the sunny and warm climates of Asia and the Mediterranean. Its fragrant evergreen needles come in a variety of colors, including purple, blue, pink, or white.
Rosemary leaves are often used as a seasoning for food, especially in Mediterranean and Italian cuisines. Since the leaves are aromatic and sweet, they can also be added to flavor meats and soups. Use whole sprigs of rosemary for seasoning poultry, as in this roasted chicken recipe. The herb is also a great addition to side dishes, such as in this recipe for roasted rosemary root vegetables.
Rosemary has health benefits, too
Rosemary has wide-ranging health benefits that are the subject of much current research.
Sometimes all you need to destress is a soothing scent. Rosemary oil is often used in aromatherapy, and this rosemary and spearmint tincture works well to help clear your mind.
One study of 20 adults published in Scientia Pharmaceutica found that inhaling rosemary oil can increase brain wave activity, decrease drowsiness, and even improve your mood.
Other research, an animal study, published in the journal Fitoterapiaindicates that rosemary leaf extract might be able to treat and prevent dementia. Another study published in the Journal of Medicinal Foodindicated that rosemary might improve cognitive function among older people.
In addition to the benefits rosemary has on your mental state of mind, it can also fight serious physical problems. According to one study done on mice reported in the journal Cancer Research, rosemary could possibly be used in skin cancer treatments to help reduce the spread of cancer cells. The study found that application of rosemary extract helped block skin tumor cells.
Rosemary extracts have also been found to inhibit the growth of some cancer cells, such as the cells in lung carcinoma. Another study published in the journal Biofactors revealed that rosemary works as an antioxidant by protecting healthy cells.
Alopecia is a disease that causes hair loss, and it can be uncomfortable for many people. However, rosemary has been shown in some instances to help treat the disease. In one study, published in the Archives of Dermatology, 43 people with alopecia massaged their scalps with essential oils of rosemary, thyme, lavender, and cedarwood daily for seven months. Almost half of them saw hair growth. Researchers concluded that these essential oils are a safe and effective treatment for alopecia.
Warnings about rosemary
Medicinal use of rosemary is gaining more traction worldwide. Germany’s version of the FDA, the German Commission E, approves the use of rosemary oil to treat joint pain and circulation problems. They also approve the use of rosemary leaves to help treat various digestive issues.
While rosemary can be beneficial to your health, it’s not for everyone to use. The herb should only be taken in small doses. Avoid rosemary if you’re pregnant or nursing, as it can be an abortifacient, a product that could stimulate an abortion. Patients with high blood pressure should also avoid taking rosemary as a supplement.
Though culinary use of rosemary is safe, you should always consult with your doctor before trying any new supplements or treatments. Check to see if rosemary oils will interfere with your diabetes or blood thinner medication. If your doctor gives you the all clear to use rosemary, you know it can certainly contribute to your health.
Drizzle salmon with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside 10 minutes to absorb flavor.
Meanwhile, combine basil, 1/2 cup olive oil, and remaining ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped, and set aside.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté salmon 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until desired degree of doneness. Place on serving plates. In the warm skillet, heat reserved basil sauce, and pour over salmon.
Perfect Pairing: California lifestyle expert Susie Coelho recommends Meridian Pinot Noir for the Salmon with Basil Sauce. A hint of lemon means the recipe would work equally well with Meridian’s Chardonnay. Another option is Meridian Sauvignon Blanc. Its bright, sunny quality matches the acidity of the tomatoes.
It is not surprising as to why the Greeks refer to basil as the ‘king of the herbs’ since it has both culinary value and medical uses. Native to India, basil is used as a cooking staple in dishes all around the world, particularly in the Italian cuisine. It is also widely used in Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
Generally, basil is used fresh and added at the last moment of cooking, because it destroys the flavor of the herb. Drying the herb also makes it lose its flavor and aroma, which is why fresh basil can only be stored for a short time in the refrigerator. The flower buds are edible and are also used to give flavor to dishes in place of the leaves.
In addition to its culinary applications, basil has numerous health benefits that range from promoting mental health to preventing bacterial infections. Here are 15 reasons why you should consider planting basil in your garden and start incorporating it into your diet.
15 Health Benefits of Basil Herb
Basil is believed to combat the onset of depression by acting on the adrenal cortex and stimulating the production of cortisol, the hormones responsible for fighting stress. Drinking it as a tea or chewing on the leaves can greatly uplift your mood and decrease your risks of experiencing depression.
Prevents bacterial infection
The abundance of essential oils in basil contributes to its excellent anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, making it an effective treatment for wounds and skin infections. The essential oils citral, citronellol, linalool, terpineol, and eugenol are all chemical components of basil that can kill infection-causing bacteria.
When it is steeped and made into a hot tea, basil can effectively relieve cough, asthma, and bronchitis. It is also used as an expectorant, which enhances the expulsion of phlegm from the air passages of the lungs.
Reduces risk of anemia
Basil is a rich source of iron, and a healthy diet that regularly includes basil will reduce the risk of having anemia, a deficiency of hemoglobin in the blood. Eating iron-rich food helps the blood enhance its oxygen-carrying capacity, thus preventing weakness and fatigue.
Prevents eye diseases
Zeaxanthin, a carotenoid compound, is responsible for filtering harmful UV rays from reaching the retina of the eyes. Since basil contains zeaxanthin, it can help protect the eyes from diseases such as age-related macular disease (ARMD), a common eye problem among the elderly.
Helps in blood-clotting
The vitamin K found in basil is important in the production of clotting factors in the blood, as well as in building strong bones.
Regulates blood pressure
Basil contains plenty of minerals that are needed by the body, such as manganese, copper, magnesium, and potassium. Potassium is an essential component of body fluids, which helps regulate blood pressure and control normal heart rate.
Soothes insect bites
A teaspoon of basil juice can soothe the redness and itchiness caused by insect bites. Rub the juice generously on the affected area to reduce swelling and discomfort.
Counters bad breath
Due to its anti-bacterial properties, an herbal toothpaste made primarily from basil can kill the odor-causing bacteria in the mouth. The leaves can be ground into a powder and mixed with mustard oil, then massaged on the gums to prevent bad breath and other dental problems.
Acts as an aphrodisiac
The strong and pungent aroma of basil is believed to promote libido and arousal by increasing blood flow and stimulating the production of hormones responsible for happiness and energy.
Protects against radiation injury
The flavonoids orientin and vicenin are known to be good antioxidants found in basil. It inhibits the formation of free radicals in the body and protects against radiation injury.
The steam of basil leaves is said to cure mild headaches, as the aroma can calm the nerves, relieve pain, and reduce swelling. To do this, add a couple of basil leaves in a pot of water, bring to a boil, and inhale the steam for a few minutes until your headache subside.
Calms an upset stomach
Basil can also calm an upset stomach and treat bowel disorders. The beta-caryophyllene found in basil can effectively cure indigestion, relieve stomach spasms, and expel intestinal gas.
There are plenty of reasons that cause breakouts on the face: sudden hormonal changes, lack of sleep, and excessive sebum production. Whatever the reason may be, applying agel containing basil and orange essential oils on the affected area can clear up the skin from acne.
Improves mental alertness
An aromatherapy with basil, sandy everlasting, and peppermint oils is said to improve mental alertness, focus, and attention to people who have been experiencing feelings of mental exhaustion.
Basil Nutrition Facts
You can get the following nutrients in every 5 grams (2 tablespoons) of fresh, chopped basil leaves:
Basil is safe when consumed as a food in moderate amounts, and as a short-term medicine in adults. However, it may cause low blood sugar in some people.
The shoots of the basil should not be taken as a long-term medicine since it contains the chemical estragole. In a laboratory study of estragole, the chemical caused liver cancer to the mice used in the experiment.
For pregnant and breastfeeding women, basil is safe when consumed as a food in moderate amounts.
For children, basil is safe when consumed as a food in moderate amounts, but should not be taken as a long-term medicine.
For people with low blood pressure, consuming basil might lower the blood pressure even more. Thus, extreme precaution should be exercised when consuming basil for people with this condition.
Basil Herb Fun Facts
In the Jewish folklore, it suggests that basil adds strength during fasting periods.
European lore claims that basil is the symbol of Satan, while a French physician said that smelling basil too much would breed scorpions in the brain.
In India, people place basil in the mouths of their dying loved ones to ensure that they reach
Certain regions in Mexico believed that basil draws fortune to their business. Shopkeepers would hang a bunch of basil by the window, and its growth would reflect how the business would prosper.