As the seasons change and the colder weather comes, it can be a good time to boost the immunity - spices contain lots of benefits to strengthen our bodies' systems. Therefore it's good to include different spices such as turmeric and black pepper to your cooking. One way of using spices in our diet is in hot drinks.
A favourite drink of mine which is a popular hot toddy served each morning at my weekend retreats, is a warming ginger and cinnamon drink served with lemon and honey (Recipe at the bottom).
These four ingredients between them have wonderful properties that help ward off infections in that they are anti-bacterial and anti-viral, and can also ease the affects of respiratory and digestive upsets. There are so many benefits amongst these ingredients that it would take a long time to expand on all of them, if you're interested it's well worth researching.
Along with those benefits I've mentioned already, I've included some additional reasons why this drink can be so beneficial. As with anything though: if you find a certain ingredient doesn't work for you, take it out, add in what you like, make it yours!
Ginger is warming, it ignites our inner fires - boosting circulation which helps with winter chills and is very beneficial for the upper respiratory system, soothing congestion in the nose and throat and helpful with bronchitis. Also ginger is very good for nausea and calming the digestive system such as; reducing inflammation in the colon.
Cinnamon is also warming like ginger so gets the blood flowing. Interestingly it helps to regulate blood sugar levels and also helps the body not to store fat which aids in weight management. Because cinnamon balances blood/sugar levels, by drinking it throughout the day can curb sugar cravings. It also is good for the heart, balances hormones, soothes upset stomach and is great for the gums and teeth.
Both are anti-inflammatory, so can help ease arthritis. They also have antioxidant properties (as do many other spices), which helps create a strong defence against free-radicals (such as; car exhaust, burnt food, pollution) that can cause premature-ageing and cancer. There have been studies done that show these spices can protect against certain cancers.
Lemon also has many ways to help fight colds and infections. It also cleans the palate and cleanses the intestinal tract of mucus, which can aid absorption. It also works as a blood purifier a blood purifier and helps to strengthen the liver.
Not forgetting the honey which soothes the lungs and is good for throat irritation and is a wonderful natural sweetener.
I love to make a big pot of this in the morning and drink it throughout the day. Even without considering the benefits, simply put - it's a tasty drink!
Healthy Hot Toddy
A large piece of ginger cut into slices
A stick of cinnamon
A large pan of water
Simmer for at least half an hour to let the spices permeate
When serving add freshly squeezed lemon to your cup and honey to taste.
Sit back and enjoy!!!