If the healthy living trend wasn’t already at its peak, it sure is climbing the graph fast now. Having experienced a global pandemic on both first and secondhand basis has made people alert and sensitive about what they consume and how beneficial it is. Parents are stocking up the fridge with fresh ingredients; supermarkets are giving more shelf space for everything healthy and brands are amping up their healthy living lifestyle promotions. A barrage of health-related news articles, magazine columns and celebrity endorsements are making the rounds in the wake of the Novel Coronavirus. People are focused on making their immune systems invincible to decrease their chances of falling ill and increase recovery time. Keeping close to the trend of 2020, here are a few natural food items with antiviral properties you can find at your local grocery store.
Black Tea is made from the leaves of Camellia Sinensis. Known to generally have a more robust flavor that is retained for several years as compared to other teas, Black tea leaves are usually blended with other plant ingredients to obtain a beverage. A process called oxidation is what gives the leaves the dark brown/black color.
Some known and evidence-based benefits of black tea leaves include the following:
- Has antioxidant properties bringing in a whole host of health benefits from a decrease in cell damage (ultimately decreasing chronic disease risk scale) to reduced cholesterol and blood sugar levels with the help of theaflavins present in black Tea.
- Improves focus and alertness due to the presence of caffeine and an amino acid called L-theanine.
- Low calorie and non-sweetened beverage, making it a suitable option for health-conscious folks.
Recipes: Purée strong-brewed black tea with grated ginger, frozen mango, and Greek yogurt for a flu-busting breakfast. Steep black tea bags in hot water, then use as a broth to cook brown rice, garlic, and onions. Finely grind loose black Tea (try Earl Grey) and add to lemon or banana muffin batter before cooking.
A herb relative of onion, leeks and chives, Garlic is a native of Central Asia and northeastern Iran carrying a history of more than 5000 years under its belt. It is known to have many health benefits and is used as a common ingredient in food and beverages to add flavor.
Some proven health benefits of Garlic include:
- Highly nutritious food source with very few calories, Garlic contains in trace amounts a little bit of almost every nutrient.
- Given its relatively long history as a medicinal anecdote, Garlic has properties that help combat sicknesses including the common cold.
- The active compound in Garlic helps reduce blood pressure.
- Helps improve Cholesterol levels, in turn, lowering the risk of heart diseases.
Recipe: Roast whole heads of Garlic, skin-on, until cloves are soft, then let cool and peel off skins. Finely mince raw Garlic and add to a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, and minced thyme. Press or mash fresh garlic cloves and mix with minced rosemary and coconut oil, then refrigerate until firm for a pungent vegan spread.
Ginger is a spice that comes from the roots of plants and is native to the warmer side of the globe (China, Japan and India). Similar to garlic, ginger is also widely used as a flavoring agent in food and beverages. However, it is known to have commercial reach as well when used as a fragrance agent for soaps and cosmetics.
Ginger is known to have the following possible benefits:
- It is known to reduce nausea and vomiting caused by strong medication or morning sickness.
- Ginger has anti-inflammatory effects that are beneficial in reducing pain and stiffness like symptoms of Osteoarthritis.
- It is a good treatment for chronic indigestion.
- Gingerol is the bioactive substance in fresh ginger that helps fight infections.
Recipe: Cut peeled ginger root into matchsticks, sauté in olive oil until crispy, and use as a topping for soups or salads. Simmer ginger slices in milk or coconut milk, strain, then whisk in turmeric and honey for a creamy, soothing beverage. Combine finely grated ginger, dates, walnuts, and coconut in a food processor, process to make a paste, then roll into balls for quick energy treats.
The popularity scale of the Shiitake Mushroom extends worldwide, mostly prized for of course the health benefits as well as delicious flavor. Native to East Asia, these mushrooms are mostly consumed as a vegetable despite having the same amino acids as meat.
Some known benefits include:
- Shiitake Mushrooms are packed with Vitamin B and help fight cancer cells and other cardiovascular diseases.
- Consists of eritadenine and b-glucan that have hypolipidaemic effects, meaning they help reduce fat.
- Help boost the immune system.
- Other than the sun being the best source of obtaining Vitamin D, Shiitake Mushrooms can also provide a decent dose of essential Vitamin D.
Recipe: Thinly slice shiitake mushroom caps, toss with melted coconut oil and minced garlic, and roast until crispy. Sauté whole shiitake mushroom caps and leeks in olive oil, then finish with balsamic glaze. Stir-fry shiitakes, slivered carrots, broccoli, sliced red peppers, and minced ginger in sesame oil and tamari, then toss with cooked soba or rice noodles.