by Carol Jensen
Kite weather, spring showers, the return of song birds, early blooming bulbs, Easter bunnies and colored eggs: they all mean one thing…another cold!
Even though many people typically associate viral illness with winter months, statistics show that the rate of infection from the common cold remains high in most countries of the northern hemisphere until April.
Children average 6-8 colds per season and adults typically catch 2-4 colds. So although spring is just around the corner, now is not the time to be complacent about guarding the immune system. If you’d rather stock up on fruits and greens rather than tissues and cough syrup, here’s what you need to know about using green smoothies to avoid your next spring cold.
The Cold-Busting Benefits of Green Smoothies
Green smoothies may be beneficial in preventing and suppressing the effects of the common cold because they
- Provide vitamin C not available from animal-based diets
- Increase the body’s energy levels
- Augment levels of fluid intake
- Do not put a strain on the adrenal system
Much research has been done to demonstrate the effects of Vitamin C on cold frequency and duration. While there is plenty of debate over how much vitamin C should be ingested, no one is arguing that the vitamin actually works in combating colds. And every one knows you just can’t get vitamins from a steak!
It only stands to reason that if you want to beat a cold, you need to increase the fruits and vegetables in your diet. It’s also common knowledge that fresher is better when it comes to this particular vitamin, since it begins to degrade when temperatures rise above room temperature (70-75˚), so what better way to eat it than in a green smoothie?
Of course, the best fruits with a reputation for being high in Vitamin C include:
- and pineapple.
Other smoothie-enrichers from the fruit kingdom that also rank at the top of the vitamin C charts include papaya, kiwi, strawberries, cantaloupe and guava.
From the vegetable realm, there are:
- Brussels sprouts,
- bell peppers
- and tomatoes.
The vitamin boost of a green smoothie is an obvious benefit. A less obvious benefit for cold-busting is the energy increase most people feel. Higher energy means a greater ability to exercise, especially in aerobic activities. And that means fewer colds!
WebMD reports that “regular exercise appears to have the advantage of being able to jump-start the immune system…. With exercise, the number and aggressiveness of certain immune cells increase by as much as 50% to 300%. In one study reported in the American Journal of Medicine, women who walked for a half-hour every day for one year had half the number of colds as women who did not exercise.”
Perhaps the single most important factor in managing a cold is fluid intake. Water, broth and juices help loosen congestion and moisturize mucous membranes so that air flows more easily through the upper respiratory tract. While smoothies should not replace drinking water, they can supplement daily water intake.
Finally, NOT eating raw foods during the cold season can overload an already fatigued adrenal system. Victoria Boutenko explains that the tendency for most people is to eat heavy, cooked foods when they feel chilly. This stimulates the adrenals so that the blood pumps faster, and the body feels warmer for 10-15 minutes. But after a short period, “the heart requires rest, the nervous system becomes inhibited, and we feel tired, sleepy and even colder than before. However, we remember only the feeling of getting warmer after eating cooked food and repeat such stimulation again and again. This harmful practice wears the body out and by the end of the winter many people feel exhausted and depleted.”
Are these cold-fighting strategies just theory, or do they really work?
My evidence is anecdotal rather than statistical. I have been “raw and green” for three months, while my family continues to eat a fairly typical Western diet. This winter all of them have been sick to the point of missing school and work, but I have not had so much as a cough or a sniffle. So the next time you feel a cold coming on, reach for a green smoothie and see if you can take the tissue box off your next spring shopping list.
Here are a few green smoothie immune-boosting recipes:
Green Smoothie Cold-Kicker
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
- 2 – 3 kale leaves, with stalks
- 1/2 cup cruciferous greens (leaves of broccoli, cauliflower or cabbage)
- Optional: a handful of goji berries
- Water as needed to blend
Green Smoothie Flu Fighter
- 2 oranges, peeled
- 1/2 lime, peeled
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 inch of ginger root, peeled
- 1/2 cup parsley
- 1 cup of your favorite leafy green
- 1/2 of a ripe bell pepper
- Water for blending
Green Smoothie Sniffle-Buster
- 1 cup peeled, seeded and cubed papaya
- A handful of kohlrabi greens
- 1/2 cantaloupe, seeded and cut from rind
- Ice and water to blend
ENTER TO WIN A FREE DETOX:
Let’s talk green! From now until the start of our spring 21-Day Green Smoothie Detox, you can win a chance to join our LIVE, Full-Support program featuring Green Smoothie Girl, Robyn Openshaw, just by contributing your thoughts to one of our “Green Buzz” suggestions on the blog. (Be sure to include a valid name and e-mail address with your blog comment so that we can contact you). We’ll select a winner who shares a thoughtful comment on any new GSQ blog post between April 15th and April 29th, 2011. All comments will be approved before appearing. (Attention Facebook/Twitter readers: Comments must be made on the GSQ blog site to be entered in the draw!)
TODAY’S “GREEN BUZZ” TOPICS
- Do you have a natural remedy for cold-busting?
- Do you regularly drink green smoothies? Have you noticed a difference in your immunity?
- What are your favourite immune-boosting foods?