Health is wealth! This statement is so true when you consider the increasing price of medications, doctors’ fees and surgery costs.
To make yourself healthy as well as wealthy, one important aspect that you should never forget is your diet. A well-planned diet can keep your body and mind healthy in the long run.
In fact, Hippocrates once said, “Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.” Always give priority to what you are eating before your body suffers.
Your body works really hard to constantly fight bacteria, germs and viruses that you may encounter in many ways. Whether you suffer from a common flu attack, some kind of skin infection or an upset stomach, harmful microbes may compromise your immunity and make your body more prone to health problems.
But by choosing the right foods, you can help your body defend itself against harmful microbes and fight infections naturally. There are many disease-fighting foods that should be in everyone’s kitchen and eaten on daily or regular basis.
Here are the top 10 foods that actually fight diseases and infections naturally.
1. Ginger for Stomach Flu
Having stomach flu is a very unpleasant experience, as it causes a range of symptoms that include upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea, headaches, body aches, stomach cramping, mild fever, fatigue and vomiting.
One suffers from stomach flu as a result of contracting a viral infection. The four common viruses that usually cause this problem are adenovirus, astrovirus, calicivirus and rotavirus.
To treat stomach flu, ginger is very effective. Due to its natural anti-inflammatory properties, ginger reduces inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. Also, being a natural antiviral, ginger helps fight off the virus causing the flu.
- Drink ginger tea 2 or 3 times a day. To make the tea, grate 1 inch of fresh ginger and boil it in about 1½ cups of water, then simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain, add honey and lemon juice for taste, then drink it.
- You can also chew a small piece of fresh ginger root several times a day or take ginger capsules, after consulting your doctor.
2. Garlic for a Candida Infection
A Candida infection can affect the skin, mouth, urinary tract and vagina. It can cause oral thrush, a skin infection or an yeast infection in women, depending upon where there is an overgrowth of the yeast. A candida infection can cause symptoms like intense itching and redness.
To fight it, garlic is very effective. It contains several components that help fight Candida overgrowth and also protect against yeast and fungal infections.
It also has antibacterial and antibiotic properties that play a key role in the recovery process.
- For a skin infection, apply garlic juice or oil on the affected skin for 10 minutes, then rinse off. Repeat 2 or 3 tmes a day. When dealing with oral thrush, apply garlic paste (minced garlic) on the affected areas of the mouth.
- Include fresh, raw garlic in your diet. In fact, you must chew 2 raw garlic cloves a day.
- You can choose to take garlic supplements. The general recommendation is 600 to 900 mg daily, but consult your doctor for the appropriate dosage for you.
3. Lemon for a Sore Throat
A sore throat is a very common and painful problem. Viral, bacterial or fungal infections can contribute to a sore throat.
Lemon is very effective at providing quick relief from a sore throat and its associated symptoms.
Lemons contain two compounds called coumarin and tetrazine, both of which can help fight against several pathogens. Also, the high level of vitamin C in lemons acts as an antioxidant that fights disease-causing free radicals in the body.
- Mix the juice from half of a lemon and 1 teaspoon of honey into 1 cup of warm water. Sip it slowly throughout the day.
- You can also gargle with freshly squeezed lemon juice diluted with an equal amount of warm water.
4. Yogurt for Leukorrhea (Vaginal Discharge)
Leukorrhea, a very common problem among women, refers to vaginal discharge that may occur in between menstruation cycles. While leukorrhea is often related to hormonal changes in the body, a vaginal infection can also cause this problem.
When it is related to a vaginal infection, the discharge is yellow or green and accompanied by foul odor.
For leukorrhea, yogurt is very effective. But not just any yogurt. Those that have “live and active cultures” printed on the label are effective. The live cultures help keep the growth of fungi in check by producing lactic acid.
The live cultures also help improve the functioning of your immune system, allowing it to better fight off both diseases and infections. As yogurt is one of the few foods that contain vitamin D, it further stimulates the immune response.
- For treating leukorrhea, dip a tampon in plain yogurt and insert it in the vagina for 2 hours. Do this twice a day.
- Also, eat 2 to 3 cups of plain yogurt daily until the infection is gone completely.
5. Cayenne Pepper for a Sinus Infection
A sinus infection usually occurs due to a virus causing swelling and inflammation of the sinuses. This type of infection is often triggered by a cold and leads to a buildup of mucus, thereby blocking the sinuses.
This infection can cause a lot of discomfort, including symptoms like headaches, facial tenderness, pain or pressure, nasal stuffiness, a sore throat, a cough and a fever.
To relieve the symptoms of a sinus infection, cayenne pepper is very effective. It helps open up and drain the sinuses. Also, it boosts immunity, reduces swelling and inflammation, and improves circulation.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper in a cup of hot water. You can also steep a few ginger slices in the hot water to add to the effectiveness of the solution. Drink it 2 or 3 times a day.
- Alternatively, you can eat a mixture of 1 teaspoon each of cayenne pepper and honey a few times a day.
6. Cranberries for a Urinary Tract Infection
A urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when the bladder and its exit tubes are infected by bacteria. Dealing with a UTI is not easy, as it causes a frequent urge to urinate, difficulty passing urine, a burning sensation when urinating, change in urine color, abdominal pain, fever, nausea and vomiting.
When it comes to treating a UTI, cranberries are very helpful. These berries contain bacteria-inhibiting properties that can help fight the cause of the infection, thus preventing repeated infections. Certain compounds in cranberries prevent bacteria from reaching the walls of the urethra and causing UTIs.
Drink 2 or 3 glasses of cranberry juice daily to treat a urinary tract infection. If you do not like the taste of cranberries, you can mix the juice with apple juice and drink it.
7. Onion Juice for an Ear Infection
An ear infection can be very painful, and is often caused by bacteria or a virus in the middle ear.
Apart from pain in the ear, other signs and symptoms of an ear infection include tugging at the ear, difficulty sleeping, headaches, poor response to sounds, a high fever, and fluid draining from the ear.
For treating an ear infection at home, onion is very effective. The antiseptic and antibacterial properties in onions help treat the problem.
- Chop a small onion and put it in a bowl.
- Microwave it for a few seconds.
- Allow it to cool, then strain out the onion juice and dilute it with a little water.
- Put 2 or 3 drops of the juice in the infected ear.
- Wait 5 minutes, then turn your head to let it drain out of your ear.
- Do it twice daily.
8. Coconut Oil for Oral Thrush
Oral thrush, a type of yeast infection that develops inside your mouth, causes slightly raised, creamy-white lesions that appear on the tongue or inner cheeks.
Oral thrush can cause redness, soreness, a cottony feeling, difficulty swallowing and loss of taste.
Coconut oil can help fight an oral infection. It contains a medium-chain fatty acid called lauric acid that lends coconut oil its antifungal and antibacterial properties. The medium-chain fatty acids can inactivate the yeast responsible for oral thrush.
It also helps eliminate the yeast and reduce the discomforts associated with thrush.
- Apply extra-virgin coconut oil on the inner mouth area and tongue using a cotton swab, 2 or 3 times a day.
- Try oil pulling every morning on an empty stomach. Put 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around for 10 minutes, then spit it out. Rinse your mouth with warm water and brush your teeth as usual.
9. Honey for an Upper Respiratory Infection
Upper respiratory infections (URIs) are contagious infections of the nose, throat, sinuses, pharynx or larynx. Most often, URIs are viral in nature and spread quickly from one person to another. But in some cases, they can be caused by bacteria or fungi.
Dealing with a URI is not easy, as it causes symptoms like a runny nose, nasal congestion, postnasal drip, a cough, a sore throat, a headache, muscle aches and breathing difficulty.
You can use honey to treat upper respiratory infections. The high amount of nutrients and enzymes in honey help fight viruses that cause URIs. Honey also effectively kills off certain kinds of bacteria.
- Add 1 tablespoon of raw honey to a glass of warm water.
- Mix in ½ teaspoon of cinnamon powder.
- Drink it slowly, twice a day.
Caution: Do not give honey to children below 1 year of age.
10. Black Tea for Conjunctivitis
Conjunctivitis, commonly known as pink eye, is an irritating and uncomfortable eye condition that can be caused by bacteria, a virus or allergies. It causes symptoms like redness, itching, inflammation, tearing and sensations of a foreign body or burning in the eyes.
Regardless of whether pink eye is caused by a bacterial or viral infection, it is highly contagious and needs to be controlled quickly.
Black tea is great for treating pink eye. The tannins in it help reduce itching and inflammation. Also, the different bioflavonoids in black tea combat viral and bacterial infections.
- Prepare a cup of tea using 2 black tea bags. Remove the tea bags and place them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Then, place the cooled, moist teabags on your eyes for about 10 minutes. Do this several times a day.
- Another option is to use a weak solution of black tea as an eyewash 2 or 3 times a day.