It’s that time of the year again, when we transition from balmy summer days to crisp mornings and bitter evenings. The nights start to draw in, we crank up the heating and unearth our woolly scarfs and jumpers from the backs of our wardrobes.
Often, our immune systems go into meltdown when the season changes and a month when common colds and flu-like symptoms are rife. But don’t worry, there’s a solution. Did you know many of the ingredients found in typical Indian cuisine can help you to combat common illnesses and flu-like symptoms? Here’s a list of some of the ingredients that work wonders for your immune system:
If you’re already bunged-up, you need to turn up the heat, and we’re not talking about your radiators! Chilli peppers are packed with capsaicin, which is what makes them spicy. Eating them will help to thin the mucus, clear your nasal passages and get rid of those nasty germs; plus, the vitamin C helps to strengthen the immune system.
Hailed a ‘wonderbulb,’ garlic ticks all the boxes. It’s packed with allicin, which serves as a powerful antioxidant to fight free radicals and boost your immune system; and it also helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Fresh, whole garlic cloves are the most effective and they taste great when crushed and added to a curry!
A study carried out by Anglo-Indian chef Gurpareet Bains in 2011 uncovered just how beneficial fenugreek is to fending off nasty viruses. Used in Indian cooking as an herb and a spice, Bains hailed the ingredient a ‘fix-all elixir’ and concluded that it works best when taken as a preventative measure.
Ginger is a great healer, so up your intake at the first sign of a cold. When consumed in tea, ginger helps fight throat infection and irritation and helps to limit nasty bacteria found in the stomach. It also helps to ease muscle and joint pain that is often experienced when you’re feeling a little under the weather. Use it in its most raw form (ginger root) for the best results.
A common spice used in Indian cuisine, turmeric is packed full of flavour as well as health benefits. If you are suffering from a cough and cold, turmeric has both anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties which help to alleviate symptoms and prompt a speedy recovery. If your throat becomes sore, create a soothing drink by adding one teaspoon of turmeric powder to a warm glass of milk. If you like it sweet, add a teaspoon of honey, too.
So, now you know which ingredients are great for the immune system, you’ve got a perfect excuse to get your friends together and cook up some hearty, Indian food! Better still; why not head out for dinner? Don’t just settle for your ubiquitous curry house down the road; if you want dishes that are packed full of flavor and healthy ingredients, go and check out chefs exercising their culinary skills in one of London’s fine dining Indian restaurants. You won’t be disappointed!