How can Juices Cure Flu, Coughs and Bronchitis

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Flu_cEvery year, most of us will go down with a minor respiratory illness - it's almost guaranteed. It could be a cold, cough, sore throat, flu or bronchitis. Whichever bug we pick up, it's bound to make us feel miserable and lethargic for a couple of days at least. Inflamed throat, sore and chapped nose, high temperature, fatigue, and loss of appetite are all inevitable results of a virulent bug - perhaps caught in a crowded train or at the office. Juices can soothe the throat, calm a tickly cough, and provide a nutritious energy boost. Juices can also help to ease a sore throat in the case of more persistent and semipermanent conditions such as asthma, hay fever and allergic rhinitis.

These disabling symptoms are not only restricted to the autumn and winter (although they are more prevalent at this time). Respiratory infections can occur in the spring and summer too, often at the changeover period between seasons, when your body is in flux as it acclimatizes itself to heat, or to cold, dry, or damp weather conditions.

Juices can soothe the throat, calm a tickly cough, and provide a nutritious energy boost. Juices can also help to ease a sore throat in the case of more persistent and semipermanent conditions such as asthma, hay fever and allergic rhinitis.

Colds and Sore Throats

The common cold can be caused by one of 200 viruses and affects the mucous membranes of the nose and throat. The cold viruses are some of the most elusive bugs ever known and after forty years of intense research by some of the world's top scientists there is still no cure or vaccination for that well-known set of symptoms - sneezing, tickly throat, cough, watering eyes and headache.

Like many other viruses, the cold bug is passed easily from one person to another in a crowded space. Once inside your body, it incubates for a day, before manifesting itself as a cold.

Vitamin C is the number one nutrient needed, as it increases resistance to infection. Citrus fruits are an excellent source of vitamin C and also have astringent properties which can tighten mucous membranes to make breathing easier. Also useful is beta-carotene, which helps to protect and tonify the mucous membranes of the body; vitamin E which supports the work of beta-carotene; and zinc which may hasten your recovery from the cold. Garlic juice can also be very beneficial as it is strongly anti-viral (because it is so pungent, you only need a tiny amount, mixed in with other vegetable juices).

Coughs and Bronchitis

Coughs can range from a tickly irritation at the back of the throat, to a full-blown chest infection with copious phlegm that is part of a nasty cold or even bronchitis. Coughing is generally the result of inflammation of the mucous membranes, either in the throat or in the bronchi (the tiny tubes that make up the inner lung).

One of the most useful purposes served by fresh juices in the case of a cough is their power to soothe. A glass of thick home-made juice can lubricate dried mucous membranes in the throat. Citrus juices have the special quality of acting as an astringent on the mucous membranes, which makes it easier to breathe. Juices rich in beta-carotene can also help protect the mucous membranes, and of course extra supplies of vitamin C are very useful. Onion juice is also an old naturopathic remedy for catarrh - it has a very strong flavour, but you could give it a try mixed with other beneficial juices, as in the recipe for carrot, onion and broccoli juice below.

Flu

Although you can contract flu in the summer, it is far more common in the winter, when strains move steadily around the globe. Flu is caused by a virus, but. as in the case of colds, it is not always the same one. That is why, although you may have had flu before, you can contract it again because your body has not built up an immunity to the new strain.

Symptoms of flu include sore throat, cough, runny nose, aches and pains, fever, fatigue, and loss of appetite. A sore throat benefits from the soothing effects of juice, which also provides essential vitamin C and beta-carotene. Juices should be drunk diluted if you have flu and are not eating -this is because the high levels of natural sugar contained in fruits and some vegetables can make you feel a little dizzy if drunk on an empty stomach.

Asthma, Hay Fever and Allergic Rhinitis

These are all conditions which are triggered by certain situations. In the case of asthma it can be over-exertion, anxiety, smoke, cold or some other external cause. Hay fever is provoked by tree, grass and flower pollens, and allergic rhinitis can be caused by anything from dust to chemicals to cat dander. Juices can help soothe coughing, and build up the body's reserve of nutrients used in immunity, such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, the B complex group of vitamins, and the mineral zinc. As stress can also provoke or heighten these conditions, the B vitamins may help to calm you down.

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