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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What should I eat when I'm sick? (a repeat and an update of one of our most popular posts!)

What to eat when you are sick depends on what kind of illness you have, obviously, but the Angels offer these simple ideas as a general guideline:

Fluids, in almost any form - teas, juices, clear broths, and plain water - are usually beneficial no matter what kind of bug you've got.   Chicken soup contains antibacterial agents that make it nature's antibiotic.  My neurologist recommends chicken soup to patients recovering from migraines as well because of its restorative properties.  Teas with lemon, lemonade, and orange juice are all good for colds.  Honey is another natural anti-bacterial agent that can soothe a sore throat. 

Ginger or peppermint teas are a good way to ease an ailing digestive tract.  Also, don't forget your basic BRAT diet - bananas, rice, applesauce and toast - when recuperating from a stomach bug. 

Avoid heavy dairy foods - even yogurt can be too much when you are fighting a cold.  A scrambled or boiled egg might be a good white-light food choice, for example. Gelatin is another white-light food that's slips down a sore throat and sits easy in a queasy tummy.  The idea is not to tax your system when it is already under stress.  Instead, try to stay as hydrated as possible, and take in as many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in their natural state as possible.

The reason for this is explained by Dr. Andrew Weil - a botanist turned medical doctor - who explains that whole plants contain the compounds we recognize as beneficial in a delicate relationship with the other components of the plant.  We don't yet completely understand how these chemicals and compounds interact with each other, but it's clear that our bodies process and derive more benefit from nutrients ingested as a plant than from those in isolation.  In other words, it's better to get your vitamin A from carrots, than from a vitamin pill. 
For this reason, the Angels remain neutral on the use of supplements.  For many women, for example, additional supplements of B vitamins - which are water soluble - can be beneficial when you feel stressed or under assault from cold germs.  Also, it's important to get some sunlight this time of year - 20 minutes between 10 and 2 with appropriate sunscreen depending on how fair you are is a good idea as often as you can - or as weather permits!

Chinese herbs such as astragulus root can be added to stews, soups, casseroles or teas. One good rule of thumb the Angels suggest we might all remember is that to strengthen the body's energetic system, strengthen the intensity of the colors you eat. Cranberries, squashes, lemons, spinach and elderberries are examples of intensely colored foods in their chakra categories...and if all you ate were these five through the winter you'd be nourishing yourself quite well.

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