An Easy Energy and Immune System Boost
Food is our daily medicine, but these days, easy storage and transport of food is reducing seasonal food awareness for many. Have you noticed what is abundant around you right now?
Seasonal eating gives us nature’s clues to what is needed at this moment.
As I walked the tree-lined streets a couple weeks ago, I was struck by the beautiful contrasts of oranges hanging bright and bulbous against the deep green leaves and iridescent blue of a new winter sky. Like end of a rainbow highlighting a pot of gold, I was directed to the bounty around me – oranges, lemons, limes, pomegranates and olives all ripe and heavy on the trees.
So, what do these fruits all have in common and why is it important now?
Vitamin C in the natural, absorbable form. Plus, these fruits contain all the necessary enzymes for unpacking Vitamin C, some bitters in the pith to support the liver, aromatic oils in the skins which brighten the mood and tighten the skin, leaves packed full of minerals and vitamins and even a little fibre in the fruit. The seeds of these fruits contain highly potent oils full of antioxidants and natural preservatives which are used in food oils and cosmetics.
There are few fruits as nutritionally loaded as pomegranate, known as Dadima in Ayurveda. This beautiful plant is renown for its anti-ageing effects and used to cleanse the blood and beautify the skin. Every part of the plant is used in Ayurvedic medicine. The fruit is easy to digest, containing sweet, sour and astringent tastes thus, bringing the qualities of rejuvenation, cleansing and toning. Pomegranate is especially effective in stopping diarrhoea associated with IBS. The sour aspect awakens the digestion to stimulate the appetite and dissolve toxins. The fruit contains high levels of Vitamin C, B5, potassium and polyphenols as well as folate, magnesium, calcium and iron.
When our immunity is challenged, Vitamin C and iron are two important nutrients to consider.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which keeps our cells robust and healthy. It also helps increase the production of antibodies, white blood cells and interferon in response to viral attack. It is also critical for the absorption of iron in the gut.
Iron facilitates the delivery of oxygen to your cells for energy metabolism. It is also required for proper immune function. In fighting off an immune challenge such as a cold or flu virus, we quickly use a lot of iron. If your digestion is weak, or you don’t eat a lot of meat, you may not be absorbing all the iron you need. For some women, excessive menstrual flow may be a significant factor, which is ironically made worse by low iron.
Just when our immune systems are a little challenged, days are shorter and the rain pushes us inside more, nature has provided a power packed array of perfect remedies in our back yards.
This seasonal variation on an age-old recipe help to improve your digestion, cleanse the blood, aid red blood cell formation, boost your vitamin C and iron absorption all while giving you an energy burst.
Pomegranate and raisin drink
- 1 whole washed pomegranate cut into pieces. Arils (fleshy seeds) removed or not, is your choice*.
- ¼ cup raisins
- Flesh of 1 lime or lemon – substitute 1 or 2 teaspoons tamarind paste when not available
- ¼ teaspoon each of cumin and black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, or a small piece of fresh root.
- Small piece of fresh ginger root.
- Pinch sea salt
- One orange, deseeded or a few dates if more sweetness is required*.
- Filtered water
Blend together and add water to desired consistency. Drink immediately. Note: you can use bottled organic pomegranate juice if necessary and add other ingredients. Just choose the lowest sugar possible. Store in fridge for up to 3 days. Drink at room temperature as cold drinks can disrupt digestion.
(*It is up to you whether you add the skins of your citrus and pomegranate into your blender. Just be aware that doing so will require you filter some of the skins out before drinking. Personally, I prefer to peel the pomegranate and orange, but then don’t filter at all.)