Chicken soup for the soul

The first batch of heart-warming, cold-combatting, flu-fighting chicken soup is on the stove.

Hurrah - our favourite season has officially arrived. The coats are on, the leaves are turning, the conkers are dropping and we've got our first batch of heart-warming,  cold-combatting, flu-fighting chicken soup on the stove.  

We’ve got a while before the pumpkin needs carving and the ghostly ghouls come knocking at our doors in search of treats. However, it won’t be long before we’re left haunted as the cackling colds and frightening flu start to play their seasonal tricks, leaving us SMELLBOUND rather than SPELLBOUND.

ALAS, you don’t need to tremble in fear thinking about the small fortune you now need to cough up at the chemist. We’ve pulled together some of the best potions you can knock-up in the comfort of your own home.

The first of course, is the infamous Cha, Cha, Cha Chicken Soup - once you’ve got some of this down you you’ll be ‘Strictly’ back in the game and ready to Rumba.

Cha Cha Cha Chicken Soup: This is one of our favourites as it not only tastes GREAT, it has a whole lotta of health benefits to boot.  The broth prevents the buildup of mucus by stopping a particular type of white blood cell (neutrophil) from joining together and causing inflammation.  It also thins it down too, helping you to breathe more easily.  

The onions and garlic add phytonutrients which are vital for a healthy immune system.  Glucosamine, which is an important building block in our digestive system is released from the bones as they are cooked down forming gelatine on the surface.  This combo of gelatine and Glucosamine help restore balance to our digestive tract and connective tissues.

We swear by this super special soup - why not add some chilli flakes for a spicy kick that also acts as an added decongestant.  We’ll admit, it takes a little time to make the stock from leftover Sunday dinner but it’s really worth it; it’s where all the goodness comes from.

Check out this fab recipe from NetMums here - you won't regret it.

Now we’ve that we’ve filled your tummy, and those houseplants are keeping the air fresh and clean, why not check out some other natural ways to help keep those badly behaved bugs at bay...

Hot black or green tea with honey and lemon: Hot liquids help relieve nasal congestion, and while honey and lemon is a firm favourite for soothing a cold, this drink has the added benefits of stimulating the tiny hair follicles in the nose (cilia) to move germs out more efficiently when breathing in the steam.  The honey has antibacterial properties and lemon thins mucus.  If anything is going to shift that blocked nose, it’s this!

Brazil nuts: Brazil nuts are packed full of selenium - good for boosting your immune system.  Selenium helps the body defend itself against bacteria that can lead to colds and flu.

Zingy ginger and garlic tea:  If you’re feeling a little more adventurous then you might like to try this take on a honey and lemon drink.  Both ginger and garlic have an incredible amount of symptom-relieving properties to help prevent nausea, clear congestion and reduce fever.  We can’t say that anyone here has tried this but the evidence is there to suggest this might just work. Squeeze the juice of a lemon into a teapot with a tablespoon of honey.  Grate and add 4g of ginger (daily recommended intake), a small clove of crushed garlic and a pinch of paprika.  Add hot water and voila! 

Zinc:  Balanced diets should provide enough zinc but lozenges have the added benefit of killing viruses in your throat.  Zinc supports the body’s natural defence and repair systems, helping to battle illness. Taken when the first signs of cold and flu appear, it will give you an extra boost to fight infection.

Echinacea: This flowering plant has been used as a traditional herbal remedy for centuries and is usually taken as a tablet, tea or throat sweet. The jury is out as to whether it really works; studies have shown it may have a slight benefit in preventing colds as it boosts the production of white blood cells which fight infection.  

Spices: Cinnamon and cloves are packed full of antioxidants while turmeric is considered to have anti-inflammatory properties, all of which help to improve the function of the immune system.  Research suggests a teaspoon a day will help ward off viruses.  Try adding cinnamon to your morning porridge for a tasty and nutritious treat or sprinkle nutmeg over scrambled egg and pancakes, yum!

As with all natural remedies, consume in moderation and check for possible unwanted side effects first - drinking an excessive amount of ginger tea for example can give you an upset stomach. It also contains salicylates, a chemical used in aspirin that thins the blood; not very helpful for those taking Warfarin…

So there you have it, our culinary cold busting cures. Tweet a picture of your favourite flu-fighting foods before Monday 17th October 2016 to @eclothuk - we'll send a Kitchen Pack to the best one.

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