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Eat Your Way to Feeling Better

Before you pop a pill for that common cough or cold, know this: your pantry is packed with powerful healers. That’s because food actually doubles as natural medicine. They’re loaded with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that boost the immune system and ward off some of the most common illnesses.

Check out this list of cupboard essentials that can effectively alleviate your discomfort.

Honey

Honey is your best (and sweetest!) bet for fighting off that sore throat or cough. All you have to do is stir in two teaspoons of honey into warm water or tea, and sip a cup every two to three hours or as needed. Studies suggest that honey’s antibacterial and antioxidant properties are responsible for its soothing effects on a scratchy throat and a whooping cough.

Ginger

two teaspoons of raw ginger. You can grate then mix it into warm water for a homemade tea or mince and add it to soups. Experts credit ginger’s high level of the antioxidant gingerols for its anti-inflammatory properties. This antioxidant helps the swelling of the mucous membranes that line the nasal passages and the sinus cavity to go down. When this happens, the mucous can then flow out instead of getting all jammed up in your nose.

Pumpkin Seeds

Suffering from frequent migraines? Chances are, the magnesium level in your body is
low, which in turn, may increase the constriction of blood vessels surrounding your brain, contributing to those head pounders. Your natural solution? Munch on a quarter of a cup of pumpkin seeds—the equivalent of half of your daily magnesium needs. You can also sprinkle a handful of these seeds into your salads or oatmeal for an extra dose of relief.

Garlic

When you’re down with the flu, turn to this bulb to make you feel better. Garlic contains allicin, a potent antimicrobial that can fight off bacteria and viruses. Eaten raw or swallowed like pills, it gives a boost to your flagging energy. Can’t consume it raw? Chop up a clove or two and add them to your chicken soup.

Blueberries

These berries may be quite hard to come by in local groceries, but if you see them on the shelves, it’s wise to pick up some. They may be a bit pricey, but they’re worth the investment. They not only can curb diarrhea, they are also said to help lower fevers and relieve aches and pains.

Almonds

Combat the dreaded monthly killer cramps and headaches with a handful of almonds. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered that women with the highest intakes of riboflavin from food sources such as almonds were less likely to develop PMS, thanks to riboflavin’s effects on certain neurotransmitters involved in reducing PMS symptoms. Snack on about 40 pieces of almonds to reduce your discomfort.

Trisha Bautista is a freelance writer, food and product stylist, social media manager, and violin teacher. She was formerly editorial assistant and social media editor for Women’s Health Philippines, and the assistant lifestyle editor and social media editor for Cosmopolitan Philippines. She enjoys discovering easy recipe hacks, working out by herself and trying out DIY workout programs, traveling outdoors, and enjoying wine and whiskey.

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