I’m always the first to fall when cold season rolls around. But this year (maybe because I’ve been such a health freak since Tessa was born?) I watched as friend after friend passed their colds around (my husband included!), and I stood by, blissfully immune. Welp! Now my number is up.
I’m now actively fighting a cold. Fa la la la la.
Anyway, this is one of our primary go-to cold fighting remedies. It’s yummy, it tastes like fall and white skied winters, and it’s a powerful puncher out of evil cold causing germs. Well, rather, it’s like the spinach to your immune systems Popeye. (Am I making any sense? Probably not, I’m sick.) Regardless:
Here’s the Recipe
1 1/2 cups apple cider (not juice)
2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons of apple juice caramel (good recipe found here)
2 dashes of pumpkin pie spice (equal parts cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice)
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix your apple cider, apple juice caramel, pumpkin pie spice mix and vanilla extract on a stovetop, and gradually warm over medium heat. When thoroughly heated, add your apple cider vinegar. It’s important you add the apple cider vinegar last. This is the main cold fighting ingredient, and when you heat apple cider vinegar – especially in a microwave – you are destroying all the enzymes that fight the cold!
Now, pour your yummy drink into a pretty mug, give your drink one last little dash of spice mix to float on the top of your cider )that way it looks pretty and wintry!) and sip slowly. It should taste yummy, woodsy and tart. If you’ve got a sore throat, it will sting slightly, followed by a blissful soothing effect.
NOTE: While this is one cold-busting drink, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Try not to drink this recipe more than four times in one day. Taking too much apple cider vinegar will cause your body acidity levels to rise too much, and that’s counterproductive. Also, exposing your throat to the high levels of acid in the vinegar can actually irritate, rather than sooth a sore throat if you take too much, too often. All things in moderation! When taken in normal doses at regular intervals, this drink is an amazing tonic.
How the Common Cold Works
There are many different viruses that can cause cold symptoms, but the virus that strikes the majority of the time is called the rhinovirus.
Basically, the rhinovirus is passed from person to person. When you’re in close proximity to someone with a cold, their germ boogers get into the cells lining your nose and start to reproduce. Yes, you heard me right. Germ boogers baby making. IN YOUR NOSE.
Your body reacts to the presence of the virus with its immune system. If you have a healthy immune system, that’s usually the end of the story right there. Your body is like, “No THANK YOU germs. No reproducing in MY nose! You die now.” But if your immune system sucks, or if the virus is just too much, too fast, the immune system starts working in overdrive.
When fighting a cold, your immune system opens up blood vessels through inflammation and also increases mucus secretions. This is what causes the runny nose and the stuffy feeling. If the virus makes it into the cells lining the lungs, then they start producing fluid and mucus as well, which produces that lovely rattling cough.
Eventually, the immune system eliminates the virus completely and you are well again! So how do you “cure” a common cold? By helping your immune system beef up and do its job more efficiently!
So, ahem, back to our main topic.
Here’s How The Drink Works
Apple Cider – Fresh apple cider is raw apple juice that has not undergone a filtration process to remove coarse particles of pulp or sediment. You’ve heard the adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” Yeah, well, it takes about one third of a bushel of apples to make a gallon of apple cider! Clinical research trials have shown that there are high levels of antioxidants in cider, which help protect against diseases. It also contains photochemicals that are responsible for a wide range of health benefits including lowering cholesterol, inhibiting cancer cell proliferation and decreasing lipid oxidation. This means higher immunity, less inflammation and a boost in overall health.
Apple Cider Vinegar – Jonathan and I swear by this stuff. A thorough listing of all its uses and benefits would take up far too much space. So we’ll just cover how it helps fight the cold! (For now!) Apple cider vinegar comes from the fermentation of apple juice to hard apple cider followed by a second fermentation to apple cider vinegar. This natural product retains all the nutritional goodness of the apples from which it was made, plus it is fortified with the extra acids and enzymes produced during the two fermentation steps. Raw apple cider vinegar contains a plethora of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, copper and iron, among others.
Apple cider vinegar helps the body maintain a healthy alkaline pH level, which helps your body resist infection. As part of balancing the body’s pH, apple cider vinegar creates an overall detoxification of the body and helps to break up mucous throughout the body and cleanse the lymph nodes. While cleansing the lymph nodes, it helps to stave off sinus infections and related symptoms, such as sore throats and headaches. Overall, apple cider vinegar helps support a healthy immune system.
It is important to use raw, organic apple cider vinegar for holistic remedies. Non-organic apple cider vinegar is vinegar that has undergone pasteurization. It is a bright color that is free from cloudiness, which is meant to be more visually appealing to the consumer. The problem is, non-organic apple cider vinegar is heated during pasteurization, and that destroys the health-enhancing properties of the vinegar to where it no longer contains intact enzymes and is not as easy to tolerate by the body.
Apple Juice Caramel – This healthier alternative to store bought caramel contains trace amounts of the generic benefits of apple cider listed above.
Cinnamon – Containing antibiotic and body warming properties, cinnamon is a formidable remedy against colds and coughs. It contains fiber, calcium, iron, and manganese. Research at the University of Texas, published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer, showed that cinnamon may reduce the proliferation of cancer cells. But its main benefit is that it helps to relieve the congestion commonly experienced with a cold and is great for a sore throat.
Ginger – Ginger is regarded as an excellent carminative (a substance which promotes the elimination of intestinal gas) and intestinal spasmolytic (a substance which relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract). Modern scientific research has revealed that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects, an ability to inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds, and direct anti-inflammatory effects. It also helps promote healthy sweating, which is often helpful during colds and flus and assists detoxification.
Nutmeg – Known for its wonderful aroma and aphrodisiac properties (rawr!), nutmeg has also been used for its health benefits for many centuries. Studies show that it can help lower blood pressure and sooth a stomach ache as well as stop diarrhea and help to detoxify the body. Nutmeg can also help with respiratory problems such as a cough from the common cold. (It’s often found as an ingredient in cough syrups!)
Allspice – Allspice is loaded with antioxidants. Researchers in Japan found that allspice berries contain 25 active phenols, a category of antioxidant. They include ellagic acid, eugenol, and quercetin—all of which fight the oxidative cell damage that can lead to cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and other chronic health problems.
Vanilla Extract – Like nutmeg, this is also an aphrodisiac (hey, this recipe is healthy AND sexy!) and is a powerful antioxidant. Vanilla helps keep the immune system healthy and assists in helping the body to resist and fight infection and disease. Vanilla also has sedative properties which help to calm down and reduce fevers.
So there you have it. A warm, cold-weather drink that begs to be sipped while curled up with a good book and a fuzzy sweater… and it’s a cold fighting superhero!