The leaves are falling, it’s starting to get chilly outside, and the sound of sniffles and coughs are reverberating through our lecture halls; it’s cold season and midterms are coming up, which means we need to keep ourselves as healthy as possible. What better way to prevent (or treat) your cold than with a delicious tonic that uses the healing powers of foods to nourish your body? Here is a list of the healing properties of each of the ingredients in this restorative beverage:
Turmeric, a potent root that is part of the ginger family, has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic treatment and ancient medicine for its numerous health benefits. Turmeric contains curcumin, which is an anti-inflammatory agent and a pain reducer. An Indian woman once told me she uses it to treat arthritis by putting a spoonful in milk with honey; she called this drink “Golden Milk”. Turmeric is also said to stabilize blood sugar levels and even help fight cancer, according to studies done by Cancer Research UK and many others.
Ginger is another root that has been used in ancient traditional medicine for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities. Ginger root can be used to prevent blood clotting, treat nausea and other stomach ailments, prevent bacterial infections, and boost the immune system.
With the start of autumn, cinnamon is the perfect ingredient to have on hand! It not only makes your banana “nicecream” taste like banana bread, but it also contains tons of antioxidants which help stabilize free radicals and thus reduce oxidative stress. It’s anti-inflammatory, adds natural sweetness, helps keep the skin beautiful, fights the bacteria that cause bad breath, is shown to protect brain function and even may help fight against cancer, among many other benefits. I know I’m going to be sprinkling this magical powder on everything this season!
Lemon juice contains citric acid, which behaves similarly to the digestive juices and aids digestion. It stimulates the liver, helping flush out the toxins in the body. As with most citrus fruits, lemon also contains a lot of vitamin C, an important vitamin which helps with white blood cell and collage production. Not only does it help your immune system, but it also keeps your skin looking fresh and beautiful!
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, which has been shown to kill bad bacteria and simultaneously promote the growth of good bacteria, acting as an antibiotic. It is also known to help reduce acid reflux, lower blood pressure, improve diabetes, and support weight loss. It is important to buy apple cider vinegar that is organic and contains the microbe-rich “mother”, which is what contains many healthful compounds and probiotics. I used the brand Braggs, which tastes delicious poured over salads or simply mixed with apple juice and honey!
6. Pure, Raw, Unprocessed Honey
I bought this pure white Kiawe honey in Hawaii, but you can buy any type of raw organic honey. You can get raw local honey at the Gourmet Grocer as well (use those dining dollars!). Raw honey has been shown to effectively treat acne, eczema, balance the digestive system, treat burns and wounds,help cure sore throats, boost the immune system, improve sleep, protect against allergy symptoms, and make your skin beautiful, so grab a jar of Pooh bear’s favorite ingredient!
Our body is mostly composed of water and everyone knows that H2O is one of the most important things for our health. I’m sure people know the consequences of dehydration after a night of heavy drinking.
Super Healthy Turmeric Tonic
1 tsp. cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder (or grated fresh turmeric)
1 tsp. ground ginger (or grated fresh ginger)
Juice of 1 lemon
1-2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. raw honey (or more if you like it sweeter)
3 cups water (cold or hot)
A pinch of ground black pepper
Shake all ingredients in a cup with a lid and then it’s ready to drink! If you are making it a hot “tea” using fresh ginger and turmeric, you may want to steep the two roots in hot water, then melt the honey and add the rest of the ingredients later.
Make this tonic and you are ready to fight against the cold epidemic this season with a delicious, warming lemonade that will cleanse your body from the inside out. These are all relatively inexpensive ingredients that you can find at the Fresh Grocer or the Gourmet Grocer, and as a bonus you can do a lot of other dorm room cooking (fall spice oatmeal?) with many of these delicious ingredients. Mix it up, shake it in a bottle, and bring it with you to class, drink it in the mornings, or before bed. Remember: food is medicine, so drink up!
-Jennifer E. Higa