Have you ever thought about how much money we spend on medications every year? Americans spend more on pharmaceuticals each year than any other country (approximately $1,000 per the average person). Now, consider how this medicine is packaged. Most pills come in plastic bottles, or are individually wrapped in hard plastic. So, not only are we hurting our wallets, but the more medicine we purchase, the more plastic we use – since plastic isn’t biodegradable, we are hurting the environment every time we throw away those empty pill bottles. So, what if we changed the way we thought about food and started eating foods that could help ward off illnesses? We would save money and help the environment at the same time! Sounds easy right? That’s because it is. Here are 7 superfoods to get you started on your journey to healthy…

Important Disclaimer: Always seek the advice of a healthcare professional. If your illness progresses, make an appointment with your doctor. These superfoods may not replace all traditional medications, but will likely be used as a supplement.

7 Superfoods and How They Heal

Garlic: Garlic contains allicin, a sulfur compound responsible for garlic’s unique smell as well as its medicinal qualities. Garlic is also rich in vitamin C, manganese, iron and B6. Add a few cloves of crushed or whole garlic to your soup, pasta or even water to reduce your cold symptoms. The allicin is most potent before the garlic is heated. So, if you are feeling brave, nosh on a few raw garlic cloves to experience its healing powers.

**I’m a little hesitant to drink garlic water, or to eat it raw. However, Mr. GGC added a hefty amount to his puttanesca sauce this week. The spices combined with the whole garlic cloves cleared my sinuses immediately.

Yogurt: Yogurt is rich in probiotics, also known as “friendly bacteria”, and reduces inflammation in the body. Due to its high moisture content, eating yogurt when sick provides a supplement to your fluid intake. Better yet, plain yogurt is an excellent remedy for a dry, scratchy throat.

**I added honey to plain yogurt for additional relief and flavor. 

Red Bell Pepper: Red bell peppers are high in vitamin C and low in sugar, putting them at the top of the chain of superfoods. In fact, 1 red bell pepper contains approximately 3 times the amount of vitamin C as an orange! Eat them raw or heat up in a spicy stir fry to knock that cold out!

**I cut up 1/2 a bell pepper and made a simple dip using plain greek yogurt, crushed garlic, salt and pepper. Pepper, yogurt AND garlic — three superfoods in one snack. 

Mushrooms: Who knew that mushrooms were immunity-boosters?? Apparently, mushrooms have been used to treat a myriad of ailments in Asia for hundreds of years. To kill those nasty pathogens, add shiitake mushrooms to your diet. These cuties contain anti-viral properties. Or, try a mix of mushrooms — you truly cannot go wrong.

Sweet Potatoes: That beautiful orange hue comes from beta carotene, a pigment that the body transforms into vitamin A. This essential vitamin boosts our immune system, and is responsible for healthy vision and skin. Like many of the other superfoods on this list, sweet potatoes are also rich in vitamin C.

Citrus (avoid if you have a sore throat): We all know that citrus fruits contain high levels of vitamin C. What you might not know is that the soft white layer of skin found beneath the peel contains flavonoids which boost the immune system.

**Add the fruit peel to your water for an additional boost of vitamins to bust your cold.

Ginger: Ginger is an antiviral plant that is often used to relieve the pain associated with a sore throat or cough. Ginger also helps to thin out the mucus that a cold produces, making it a super superfood! If that isn’t convincing enough, ginger can also be used when you experience digestive discomfort.

**I have been drinking ginger green tea for several weeks. When I got sick, I upped my daily dose. It soothed my achy throat and helped “break” my stuffy nose. 

The next time you go food shopping, stock up on these powerful treats. Pay attention to what your body needs and I promise you will start feeling better quickly!

Feel better friends!

xoxo Mrs. GGC

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