Antibiotics are the medicines prescribed to treat bacterial infections. Invention of antibiotics has been a boon to medical science with which we can treat a number of bacterial infections that can be fatal. But the fact that overusing antibiotics can lead to ill-effects and lower natural immunity cannot be denied. There are certain infections which can be easily taken care of by the “Natural Antibiotics” commonly found in our kitchen cabinets. In this article, I am going to share a few most important natural antibiotics. These “Natural Antibiotics” boost your immune system and we all know, only good nutrition and a well-balanced diet can help our body fight against infective agents.
Natural Antibiotics That Fight Infections
1. Onion, Garlic and Ginger
Let’s begin with the frequently used food items used in preparation of gravy i.e. Onions, Garlic and Ginger. Onions and garlic do more than just add flavor to food. They are packed with immune-boosting nutrients which inhibit the growth of potentially harmful bacteria. Ginger extract reduces inflammation in those with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory gut disease, gastric ulcers, asthma, and certain cancers. One point to be remembered here is, we can get most of the benefits of garlic only when it is crushed or chewed. Very few of us know when sulphur compounds (from onion and garlic) are combined with Zinc, the outcome is strong immunity. Sulphur compounds help to boost absorption of the zinc that’s found in whole-grain foods. Good Sources of Zinc include: All whole grains, including brown rice and whole-grain breads; legumes. An excellent combo idea you can use: Brown (or wild) rice with caramelized onions.
2. Add Some Spice
Now, coming to the spices which we add to get flavour. But honestly, more than flavor, they all serve a very useful purpose. First, comes Turmeric! Many of us are already drinking turmeric milk daily knowing its magical powers. Turmeric contains curcumin which is highly anti-inflammatory in nature. It not only boosts immunity but is an effective pain-killer too. Another useful medicine in our kitchen pharmacy is Cinnamon, which is loaded with powerful antioxidants! In addition to improving immunity, it also helps in improving heart health, blood sugar levels and brain health. Only a pinch of cinnamon should be used at a time and not more than half a teaspoon a day. You can add cinnamon to your milk, tea or sprinkle over the salad. Next, comes Black pepper, which may help increase the good bacteria in your gut – which eventually helps improve your immunity. Try this combo for a sore throat: Mash 1 inch piece of ginger, 2 peppercorns, cinnamon and 1 star anise. Boil and sip hot with 1/4 tsp organic honey. Works like magic!
3. The Kitchen Garden
Now let’s move to our kitchen garden’s grace, Tulsi/Holy Basil. It protects against nearly all infections from viruses, bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. Another way to help a sore throat heal: boil tulsi seeds and ginger in water and drink this after straining.
4. Don’t Forget Vitamin C
Believe me, if you include vitamin rich foods daily in your diet, you will not require Vitamin C in the concentrated form. Sources include amla, green, yellow and red peppers (red bell peppers contain twice as much vitamin C as citrus. They’re also a rich source of beta carotene which helps keep your eyes and skin healthy), sweet potatoes, mangoes, melons, oranges, strawberries, tomatoes, papaya, broccoli and citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit. Vitamin C helps combat anemia too. Combining vegetarian sources of iron like chickpeas, sprouts, etc. with vitamin C–rich foods like lemon helps to enhance the uptake of iron. So, next time, you have chickpeas/sprouts, don’t forget to squeeze some lemon juice on them.
5. Fermented Foods
Foods like Yogurt, Curd, Buttermilk (plain kind), Fermented rice, Apple cider vinegar, Miso, Sauerkraut (chopped pickled cabbage), Kimchi (spicy pickled cabbage), Kefir and Kombucha tea have live microorganisms and when taken in sufficient amounts, they can help restore the natural balance of gut bacteria by improving gut flora and prevent, as well as treat multiple gastrointestinal infections.
Other antibacterial foods we can store in our kitchen are green tea, whole oats (rolled or steel cut), cold pressed coconut oil, cardamom, cloves, honey, thyme (ajwain) and rye. Honestly, the list is very long. Just remember, “Let food be your medicine and the kitchen, your pharmacy!” They are not the substitutes of any medicine but deserve a fair trial and if taken when the very first sign of an inflammation appears or along with prescribed medicines, all these could be really effective in either stopping the progress of a disease or cutting short the duration of illness. Moreover, if you are consuming them on a regular basis, your immunity is good enough to fight any infection.
NOTE: People on blood-thinning drugs should seek advice from their physician before having garlic and cucurmin because they have some blood thinning properties.
We hope this article on Natural Antibiotics helps you include them in your daily routine. Do let us know your thoughts in the comments below! For more on nutrition and immunity, check out Healthy Reads.
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