Fever, aches and pains, nausea, wheezing and sneezing…yes, ‘tis the season for colds and ‘flu! Whether you’re propped up in bed recovering or wish to safeguard yourself from getting a dose (or getting it again!), grab your pen and write up this grocery list of foodie flu-busters…
In the Ancient world, pungent alliums – Latin for garlic – were widely used in cooking and medicine.
Buy: Onions, garlic, shallots, leeks and chives
Help on the Inside: Strong immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and expectorant qualities – good for relieving coughs, colds and bronchitis.
Help on the outside: Garlic mixed in a carrier oil is used in spas as a pedicure treatment – it heals calluses and cuts and stimulates the growth of new, healthy skin.
Citrus fruits are the go-to source for Vitamin C, a deficiency of which causes an unpleasant disease called scurvy. Citrus fruits also contain riboflavins (Vitamin B2) and disease-fighting phytochemicals.
Buy: Grapefruit, oranges, lemons, limes and paw-paw
Help on the Inside: Vitamin C is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system. There’s also evidence that Vitamin C helps prevent colds and ‘flu infections and aids in recovery.
Help on the outside: Vitamin C is used in spa facial treatments and is said to smooth wrinkles and boost skin’s radiance.
Described as one of the world’s healthiest foods, ginger is used in the East as a medicinal plant.
Buy: Ginger root and real homemade ginger beer
Help on the Inside: Ginger helps with digestion, stimulates appetite (useful in patients who’re not eating), clears the sinuses and airways, relieves joint pain and helps overcome nausea.
Help on the outside: With its distinctive, zesty aroma, ginger is used in a range of spa treatments from body exfoliations to facial masks – it’s said to relax, refresh and awaken body and mind.
When Mama said eat your greens, she sure knew what she was talking about! In fact, WebMD gives a nod to mothers everywhere, stressing that leafy greens are the Number One food to eat to improve your health.
Buy: Broccoli, spinach and cabbage
Help on the Inside: Brimming with fibre, vitamins and minerals, green veggies are immune-boosting super-foods.
Help on the outside: Broccoli seed oil is the new spa hair treatment on the block – it contains a silicone-like substance which leaves hair shiny and smooth. Cabbage also makes an effective facial mask which soothes and heals damaged or tired skin.
The original sweet treat, anti-oxidant-containing honey is also a centuries-old cure-all.
Buy: Dark honey – the darker it is, the better its anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial properties
Help on the Inside: Honey has antiseptic properties – which is why a spoonful of honey or honey and lemon tea soothes sore throats.
Help on the outside: Ancient cultures used honey to dress wounds. These days, it’s used to restore skin via spa body wraps, scrubs and facials.
Rooibos – a fynbos shrub from the Western Cape – is packed with powerful anti-oxidants. Used for culinary and medicinal purposes by indigenous South African peoples for centuries, it has since become an on-trend health food in Western cultures the world over.
Buy: Green Rooibos tea – it has the most powerful anti-oxidants
Help on the Inside: In addition to being an overall immune system booster, Rooibos also relieves nausea and digestive complaints, has a calming effect and aids sleep
Help on the outside: Rooibos is effective in treating skin conditions like acne, eczema and psoriasis.
Favoured stock items of ancient Asian healers, spices have antibacterial, antiviral, analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties – and you thought they just added flavour to food!
Buy: Black pepper, chilli, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg
Help on the Inside: General immune system stimulants, helping protect and heal from common ailments, like colds and ‘flu.
Help on the outside: Many spices can also be used topically to promote good skincare – cinnamon, for example, aids in blood circulation and black pepper busts blackheads.
There’s a good reason why your mom insisted on giving you a bowlful of yoghurt when you were down with the ‘flu – it’s full of probiotics and other useful micronutrients.
Buy: Unsweetened plain Bulgarian or Greek-style yoghurt, preferably with live strains
Help on the Inside: Probiotics help restore the balance of good bacteria in the gut, which illness and antibiotic treatment knocks out. Probiotics also help stimulate the immune system.
Help on the outside: Applying a yoghurt facial mask leaves skin silky smooth and extra-moisturised.