Lemon and Ginger Immunity Boosting Tea

Lemon and Ginger Immunity Boosting Tea

It’s getting dark earlier, the wind is crisp and chilly, and you, and everyone around you, is coughing and sneezing with a runny nose. That right, it’s cold and flu season. You head to the pharmacy for cold medicine, when really, you should head to the produce aisle instead.

Lemons are high in vitamin C, which is great for fighting colds. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) found in lemons demonstrates anti-inflammatory effects, and is used as complementary support for asthma and other respiratory symptoms plus it enhances iron absorption in the body; iron plays an important role in immune function. Lemons also contain saponins, which show antimicrobial properties that may help keep cold and flu at bay. Lemons also reduce the amount of phlegm produced by the body.

Garlic has long been used by the Cherokee Indians as an expectorant for coughs. Its antibacterial properties make it great for treating infections, digestive disorders and fungal infections.

Cayenne pepper, by weight, is relatively high in vitamin A. It also contains vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin C, riboflavin, potassium and manganese. The capsaicin in cayenne dilates the blood vessels and speeds metabolism. This increases circulation and blood flow to all major organs which facilitates oxygen and nutrient delivery.

Ginger contains chemicals called sesquiterpenes that specifically target rhinoviruses, the most common family of cold viruses, as well as substances that suppress coughing. It’s also a natural pain and fever reducer and a mild sedative, so it can help you rest when you’re sick.

This tea can be sweetened with either maple syrup or honey. They’re both not just sweeteners, they actually help ward off a cold, too!
Maple syrup contains essential nutrients like zinc, iron, calcium, and potassium. Zinc not only supports reproductive health, but it also helps to keep your white blood cells up, which assist in the protection against colds and viruses. If possible, buy locally made maple syrup.
Honey has antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties. If you have a sore throat, honey will help sooth and heal it.

All of these ingredients mixed together creates a powerhouse for knocking out colds. Add a little bit of green tea, yerba matte tea, or jasmine tea to add to the immune boosting power of this vitamin packed tea. Start drinking this tea before you start feeling sick to help prevent a cold from even happening!

What you will need:
1 lemon, cut in half
1 piece of ginger, about as long as your middle finger, cut into discs
1-2 cloves of garlic
About 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 spoonful of maple syrup or honey
loose leaf tea or tea bags

In a pot, combine all ingredients except the honey or maple syrup, and bring to a boil and let it steep for about 4-5 minutes. Use a fine mesh strainer to strain into a mug. Add honey or maple syrup and enjoy the immune boosting benefits of this all natural tea.

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Cherry and Peach Cobbler Smoothie

Cherry and Peach Cobbler Smoothie

This smoothie will satisfy your sweet tooth with the sweetness of peaches and vanilla yogurt, while filling you up with antioxidants and all sorts of nutrients from the cherries, steel cut oats and apples. Makes about 20 oz (or more).

What you will need:
blender or food processor and a sauce pan
I serving steel cut oats
1 c cherries, pitted and stems removed
1 peach, pitted
1 apple, core removed
1/2 c vanilla yogurt
about 1 tbsp brown sugar
cinnamon to taste
chia seeds
ice

In a sauce pan, cook one serving of steel cut oats according to the directions on the package. Season with cinnamon and brown sugar and set aside in the fridge to cool. Once the oats have cooled, in a blender, add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Top with more chia seeds if desired and enjoy.

Kale, Banana and Watermelon Smoothie (Vegan!)

Kale, Banana and Watermelon Smoothie (Vegan!)

The sweetness of watermelon and banana compliment the slight bitterness of kale in this raw smoothie. Since this recipe doesn’t involve dairy, just raw kale and fruit, it makes it easier to digest all of the nutrients that are packed into this blended drink. If you’re new to kale, this is a great way to introduce yourself to it. Makes about two 16 oz servings.

What you will need:
blender or food processor
4-5 kale leaves with the stems removed
1 banana
4 oz of watermelon
ice. lots of ice

In blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and enjoy your delicious kale smoothie with a friend!

Mocha Banana Peanut Butter Crunch Smoothie (Vegan!)

Mocha Banana Peanut Butter Crunch Smoothie (Vegan!)

This smoothie satisfies the craving for chocolate, peanut butter AND coffee while still staying healthy and vegan (and soy free!) with the use of bananas, chia seeds, and almond milk instead of heavy creams and a lot of sugar. Makes about 16- 20 oz.

What you will need:
a food processor or blender
1/2 c chocolate almond milk
2 spoonfuls of chunky peanut butter
1 frozen banana (make sure to peel it and cut it in half before freezing)
4 oz chilled brewed coffee
a few whole coffee beans (about 5-6 coffee beans= a shot of espresso)
1/8 c chia seeds
ice. lots and lots of ice.

In blender or food processor, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. There will be little chunks of espresso beans, peanuts and chia seeds throughout. Pour into glass and enjoy!

Spicy Cilantro Lime Vodka Shot

Spicy Cilantro Lime Vodka Shot

It’s the weekend, so lets celebrate with liquor! This shot is great for Mexican or Cajun themed dinner parties, or if you just want to make a delicious, spicy shot for yourself and friends. This recipe makes one shot.

Here’s what you will need:
1.25 oz Absolut cilantro lime vodka
juice from 1/4 slice of a lime
1/4 oz simple syrup
dime size amount of sriracha
ice

Take a 2 oz shot glass and put a dime size amount of sriracha in the bottom. In a shaker, mix ice, Absolut cilantro lime vodka, fresh squeezed lime juice, and simple syrup and shake. Pour the mixture into the 2 oz shot glass with sriracha and serve.

The Health Benefits of Drinking Warm Lemon Water

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1) Aids Digestion. Lemon juice flushes out unwanted materials and toxins from the body. It’s atomic composition is similar to saliva and the hydrochloric acid of digestive juices. It encourages the liver to produce bile which is an acid that is required for digestion. Lemons are also high in minerals and vitamins and help loosen ama, or toxins, in the digestive tract. The digestive qualities of lemon juice help to relieve symptoms of indigestion, such as heartburn, belching and bloating. The American Cancer Society actually recommends offering warm lemon water to cancer sufferers to help stimulate bowel movements.

2) Cleanses Your System / is a Diuretic. Lemon juice helps flush out unwanted materials in part because lemons increase the rate of urination in the body. Therefore toxins are released at a faster rate which helps keep your urinary tract healthy. The citric acid in lemons helps maximize enzyme function, which stimulates the liver and aids in detoxification.

3) Boosts Your Immune System. Lemons are high in vitamin C, which is great for fighting colds. They’re high in potassium, which stimulates brain and nerve function. Potassium also helps control blood pressure. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) found in lemons demonstrates anti-inflammatory effects, and is used as complementary support for asthma and other respiratory symptoms plus it enhances iron absorption in the body; iron plays an important role in immune function. Lemons also contain saponins, which show antimicrobial properties that may help keep cold and flu at bay. Lemons also reduce the amount of phlegm produced by the body.

4) Balances pH Levels. Lemons are one of the most alkalizing foods for the body. Sure, they are acidic on their own, but inside our bodies they’re alkaline (the citric acid does not create acidity in the body once metabolized). Lemons contain both citric and ascorbic acid, weak acids easily metabolized from the body allowing the mineral content of lemons to help alkalize the blood. Disease states only occur when the body pH is acidic. Drinking lemon water regularly can help to remove overall acidity in the body, including uric acid in the joints, which is one of the primary causes of pain and inflammation.

5) Clears Skin. The vitamin C component as well as other antioxidants helps decrease wrinkles and blemishes and it helps to combat free radical damage. Vitamin C is vital for healthy glowing skin while its alkaline nature kills some types of bacteria known to cause acne. It can actually be applied directly to scars or age spots to help reduce their appearance. Since lemon water purges toxins from your blood, it would also be helping to keep your skin clear of blemishes from the inside out. The vitamin C contained in the lemon rejuvenates the skin from within your body.

6) Energizes You and Enhances Your Mood. The energy a human receives from food comes from the atoms and molecules in your food. A reaction occurs when the positive charged ions from food enter the digestive tract and interact with the negative charged enzymes. Lemon is one of the few foods that contain more negative charged ions, providing your body with more energy when it enters the digestive tract. The scent of lemon also has mood enhancing and energizing properties. The smell of lemon juice can brighten your mood and help clear your mind. Lemon can also help reduce anxiety and depression.

7) Promotes Healing. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C), found in abundance in lemons, promotes wound healing, and is an essential nutrient in the maintenance of healthy bones, connective tissue, and cartilage. As noted previously, vitamin C also displays anti-inflammatory properties. Combined, vitamin C is an essential nutrient in the maintenance of good health and recovery from stress and injury.

8) Freshens Breath. Besides fresher breath, lemons have been known to help relieve tooth pain and gingivitis. Be aware that citric acid can erode tooth enamel, so you should be mindful of this. No not brush your teeth just after drinking your lemon water. It is best to brush your teeth first, then drink your lemon water, or wait a significant amount of time after to brush your teeth. Additionally, you can rinse your mouth with purified water after you finish your lemon water.

9) Hydrates Your Lymph System. Warm water and lemon juice supports the immune system by hydrating and replacing fluids lost by your body. When your body is deprived of water, you can definitely feel the side effects, which include: feeling tired, sluggish, decreased immune function, constipation, lack of energy, low/high blood pressure, lack of sleep, lack of mental clarity and feeling stressed, just to name a few.

10) Aids in Weight Loss. Lemons are high in pectin fiber, which helps fight hunger cravings. Studies have shown people who maintain a more alkaline diet, do in fact lose weight faster.

Cucumber, Dill, Celery, Mint and Lemon Infused Water

Cucumber, Dill, Celery, Mint and Lemon Infused Water

It’s the end of July and it’s hot out, so what’s better than a tall, refreshing glass of ice water? A tall refreshing glass of INFUSED ice water! Here’s just one simple recipe to get you through those hot, muggy days.

What you’ll need:

Pitcher
1-2 lemons
1/2 of a cucumber
1 celery stalk
a generous handful of dill
a generous handful of mint

Slice the cucumber and lemon and throw into a pitcher with your mint, dill and celery. Fill to the top with water and put it in the fridge to infuse overnight. Drink within two days.

Other great combinations:
Strawberry, lemon and basil
Blackberry, raspberry, lemon and mint
Orange, banana and mint
Strawberry, kiwi, lemon and basil

The possibilities are endless! Use your favorite fruits and herbs and see what kinds of natural vitamin water you can come up with!