My apologies for not posting last week. I've actually been sidelined by the flu the past few days and am just now getting back on my feet again. It started Wednesday with a throat tickle that developed, over the course of the afternoon, into a sore throat. By Thursday, I was sniffling and hacking up my lungs and by Friday, I was rocking a 102-degree temperature, along with aches and chills. Needless to say, I had a lousy weekend...particularly when it turned out to be the first beautiful weekend of the year, with blue skies and temperatures in the mid-60s. Pity party for one? Your table is ready!
Anyway, to get over this nasty little bug, I've been downing quarts of OJ and bowls of chicken or veggie soup the past five days, along with a ridiculous amount of tea, water, vitamins, cold meds and emergen-C. Good times. Tonight, when I get home, I'm whipping up another cup of hot tea with cayenne pepper, honey, lemon juice, garlic and ginger. Sounds horrendous - but it's actually an effective remedy. Scout's honor!
So should any of you get waylaid by sickness in the coming weeks, here are some tips to aid in the recovery.
* Sleep is good. Get plenty of rest, especially while you have a fever. Rest helps your body fight infection.
* Hydration is key. To help loosen mucus and prevent dehydration, drink lots of fluids such as water, herbal tea, juice and Gatorade. And hopefully this will come as a surprise to no one but...avoid alcohol while you're sick, umkay?
* Clean yourself up. A fever and cold is no excuse to wear the same pair of sweatpants for three days. In addition to rinsing some of the germs off, a clean bath or shower and change of clothes can help ease body aches and congestion.
* Avoid dairy. In some people, dairy products increase mucus production. Dairy products may also make nausea and vomiting worse.
* Think orange. Orange juice, especially with the pulp, is packed with vitamin C and folic acid, which help to boost immunity and speed recovery from illness. Some researchers suggest that vitamin C may even decrease the time you are sick with colds and flu.
* The chicken noodle cure. Chicken soup is a must with cold-like symptoms. In fact, in a study published in the journal Chest, researchers confirmed that chicken soup had a mild anti-inflammatory effect that reduced symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections.
* Eat light and go BRAT. In the early stages of a stomach bug, soup, ginger ale and saltines are the way to go. Once your stomach feels better, try the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce and toast) and slowly reintroduce whole foods back into your system. These items are easily digested and unlikely to irritate your gastrointestinal system. Hold off on spicy foods until your health has improved.
Remember, a well-nourished immune system is better able to fight off infections. Once you recover from flu, make sure your diet is filled with a variety of food, colorful fruits and vegetables, and legumes that are high in phytochemicals, which are natural food components that have health-boosting properties. In addition, get in bed early and aim for seven to nine hours of sleep to get your body back on the road to wellness.
Before I sign off, here are a few meals designed to ease a sore, tickling throat or stuffy head.
Two-Berry Citrus Smoothie
Carrot, Tomato and Zucchini Soup
Chicken Noodle Soup