By Annie Dieu-Le-Veut
We have to take especial care of ourselves during the cold months because the body needs a little extra help then to tick over properly. It’s no coincidence that more people die during this season of death, in Nature, before the rebirth of the Spring.
As we get older, the body needs more help in staying well, and this is mainly achieved by strengthening the immune system with the alchemical magic of miracle superfoods. So here are my three main superfoods that I rely on to keep me in good fettle.
Raw organic apple cider vinegar (unpasteurised)
First of all, I take two-to-three teaspoons of raw apple cider vinegar in a glass of water in the morning, before anything else goes into my stomach. Sometimes, if I feel like I need it, I have it again halfway through the day.
It isn’t so much for its nutritional value, which is low. It’s about changing the pH balance in the digestive system, to improve the acid content. Raw apple cider vinegar is also full of antibiotics and antioxidants and it helps in the absorption of vitamins and minerals in our food, which is why it’s helpful for preventing colds and viruses.
You have to make sure you get unpasteurised raw apple cider vinegar, though – not the bog standard kind. It will often say it has ‘the mother’ in it, on the label, like this one, which is highly recommended:
Black nigella seed oil
This is the alpha-and omega of superfood remedies, the one-and-only black seed oil, which is derived from the black seeds of the nigella flower.
Black nigella seed oil is such a miracle cure-all that I don’t think there’s any one product that has so many health benefits. There’s so much to say about the benefits of black nigella seed oil that it needs its own whole article – and so here’s one I wrote a while back: 20 health benefits of black nigella seeds and oil.
From a purely subjective point-of-view, though, I’ve found that rubbing on black seed oil is an almost instantaneous miracle cure for aching muscles and joints – always worse during the colder months – as well as respiratory problems like blocked sinuses and congested chests.
Before going to bed at night, I massage my body in black seed oil, paying special attention to the knees and hips. I’ve found that it has done wonders for my aches and pains – the effects beginning almost as soon as you rub it in – and it’s also made my breathing much easier. I used to have lungs that sounded like bag-pipes tuning up, during the night – but not anymore!
However, it was only recently, when I felt a bit strange – as if my body was trying to fight off a virus – that a friend recommended that I take black seed oil internally. I didn’t fancy the idea much, but thought I would give it a try and I have to admit, it saw off all those feverish and achy symptoms within 24 hours. I noticed, too, that it put an end to all my blood sugar swings and so I didn’t feel so hungry so often.
Black seed oil is renowned for being a preventative for insulin spiking – along with a cure-all for a million-and-one other digestive issues like liver and gall stones. It’s also good for strengthening the immune system, so now I take two teaspoons of black oil in apple juice twice a day – along with my third miracle immune strengthener.
The root of the ashwagandha plant is an ancient Ayurvedic remedy. It has been used in the East for thousands of years as a rejuvenative herb that helps the body resist physiological and psychological stress, which wears down the immune system.
You can take it as a finely ground root, or as a liquid extract, and I prefer the latter, stirred into freshly squeezed apple juice. I particularly like ashwagandha because I feel that it gives me more energy, reduces any stress or anxiety and clears my head.
Ashwagandha root is an adaptogen, which means that it adapts itself to whatever chemical imbalance is currenly prevailing, and corrects it. I feel it’s particularly good for someone like myself with an underactive thyroid because it helps my metabolism to speed up and also seems to correct the balance of my hormones.
The feeling ashwagandha gives me is one of peace and equilibrium – not in a drugged- up, tranquiliser kind of way, but more because it seems to calm down all the unnecessary mental inflammation that’s caused by emotional triggering. And unlike with pharmaceutical tranquilisers, this feeling of peace doesn’t fog or numb my mind. If anything, I find that it’s easier to make good decisions for my wellbeing from this position of mental balance.
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