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Does it feel like you can never escape flu season? Or maybe you’re finding it impossible to recover from a cough, which doesn’t seem to improve, no matter what you try. If this describes what you’re going through, fret not – here are five herbal teas that may just do the trick.

Chamomile tea

Chamomile tea increases your urinary levels of hippurate which have been associated with increased antibacterial activity. Chamomile also promotes the production of white blood cells, which are able to fight infections. This is why the tea appears is a go-to immunity booster, and can fight ailments associated with colds. If you wish to get yourself a flavourful cup of chamomile tea, get Nilufer Tea's Orange & Chamomile tea. With a strong presence of citrus fruits and chamomile, you'll definitely be relaxing and feeling better. You can get it here.

Green tea

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A particular type of polyphenols called catechins, which are antioxidant-rich organic chemicals, are believed to be responsible for the immune-boosting effects of green tea.

By protecting the immune system against damaging free radicals, green tea keeps your body adept at handling infections from bacteria, parasites, and influenza viruses. It also combats oxidative stress which can damage cells, and prevents autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.

Steep green tea for no more than a minute or two in just-below-boiling water. A little lemon and honey can help to tone down its bitterness. Just a side note, however: adding milk will render the polyphenols ineffective.

Holy basil

Holy basil (or tulsi) is a well-known relaxant, but it is also an anti-inflammatory substance, and thus able to improve your immune system to keep your body strong. Holy basil tea can improve congestion, respiratory conditions, and illnesses ranging from mild colds and coughs to bronchitis and asthma. It can also help enhance kidney function and cleanse the body.

The plant has great antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that helps to strengthen the immune system of the user. In fact, there have been recent studies to show that holy basil may help in slowing down the growth of cancerous and diseased cells. Tulsi enhances the immune system, suppresses coughs, and helps to expel out phlegm, providing relief in colds and other respiratory illnesses.

Rooibos

Rooibos tea has 50 times more antioxidants than green tea and these antioxidants are known to thwart free radicals in the body, keeping damaged and cancer-causing cells to a minimum. The antiviral properties of polyphenols also provide an added boost to the immune system because they have anti-inflammatory and antimutagenic qualities, shielding the body from common colds, viruses, and the flu.

Apart from polyphenols, which reduce the detrimental effects of free radicals and cell metabolism, and slow down your body’s aging process, aspalathin and nothofagin are two other vital antioxidants that rooibos tea contains, making it a superior immunity boosting beverage.

Moreover, because of its ability to reduce the impact of oxidative byproducts in your neural pathways, it helps to improve cognitive ability, concentration, and focus.

For a healthy cup of rooibos tea, you can opt for Nilufer Tea's Ginger Rooibos Tea, a blend of rooibos, apple mint, ginger and lemongrass that give rise to its spicy and earthy flavour. Sounds delicious already? Get it here.

Ginseng

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Ginseng tea boosts your immune system by enhancing the efficacy of its stress adapters, helping you steer clear of common ailments like colds and flus. Research has shown that ginseng tea helps regulate each individual type of immune cell, including natural killer cells, macrophages, dendritic cells, and B and T cells.

Furthermore, the antimicrobial compounds in ginseng help to defend the body against viral and bacterial infections and cleanses bacteria in the blood, kidneys, and spleen. Ginseng also inhibits the growth of viruses. Moreover, the miraculous adaptogenic properties of the herb functions to rejuvenate dead skin cells in older people.

So if you feel a cold or cough coming on (especially after eating way too many CNY goodies), you know what to do!

Written by: Anna Fernandez

Kick start your day with a smoothie to increase fruit and vegetable intake in your diet. Smoothies are nutritional powerhouses that provide you with essential minerals and vitamins. Great as a nutritious breakfast or an energising afternoon snack, smoothies are fun to make and do not have to be as complicated as you think. However, smoothies come with caveats too. Store-bought smoothies may expand your waistline with artificial ingredients and excess sugar. But fret not, I’ve some healthful smoothie recipes to share. Fresh and fuss-free, each recipe packs a ton of flavour and allows you to whip up your delicious concoction in a flash. Here are five basic yet fabulous smoothie recipes to try at home.

 

1. Apple Avocado Smoothie

My favourite smoothie recipe is a somewhat-strange mishmash of apple, pear, avocado and spinach but when combined together, these ingredients create a luscious blend of flavours. The use of avocado in a smoothie may sound bizarre but be reminded that avocados will give your smoothie a dreamy creamy texture and a boost of heart-healthy fat, so nourish yourself and blend away without fear.

Image cred: pixabay

Makes 1 large glass

Ingredients

Juice the apples and pear first then add the fruit juice, avocado and spinach into your blender. Blend until smooth then add a drizzle of Manuka honey. To keep myself satisfied for longer, a teaspoon of chia seeds and some protein powder are my favourite smoothie add-ins. But of course, feel free to leave any of these extra ingredients out.

 

2. Berry Banana Oat Smoothie

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With a medley of berries, half a ripe banana for natural sweetness and some oats for fullness, the Berry Banana Oat Smoothie is the perfect power-packed breakfast to sip on the go. Why, you may ask? Berries are loaded with antioxidants, bananas are a great source of potassium and oats provide soluble fibre – vital nutrients for your digestive tract. It’s easy to prep and berry easy to drink so there’s no excuse for you to skip breakfast anymore!

Makes 1 large glass

Ingredients

For a creamier and frostier smoothie, I use frozen whole fruit to achieve a quick and thick effect. Blend all ingredients until smooth then pour, drink and love. Lactose-intolerant friends may substitute milk with almond, coconut or soy milk for a dairy-free alternative. Oh, and here’s a sneaky tip… Omit the oats to turn your smoothie into a healthier version of a banana split dessert.

 

3. Peach Perfect Smoothie

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Reinvent the old berry-banana routine and make a fresh, juicy Peach Perfect when peaches are in season. If you tend to get in a rut with the addictive berry-banana smoothie combination (like me), I’d recommend you to give this a go.

Makes 1 large glass

Ingredients

Blend all ingredients until smooth and spark it up with some ground cinnamon for a pinch of yum.

 

4. Tropical Mint Smoothie

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Beat the heat with a refreshing Tropical Mint Smoothie. Fruity with a fresh finish of mint, this glass of green goodness will have you forget about the weather in a minute. If the green colour scares you, imagine you’re on a beach under a tropical palm tree and let your worries be washed away with the sound of waves. I promise you won’t even be able to taste the kale.

Makes 1 large glass

Ingredients

Blend all ingredients until smooth. I garnish mine with a wedge of pineapple and some coconut flakes to create a virgin green Piña Colada. It’s a definite winner for alcohol replacement. Enjoy!

 

5. Rooibos Tofu Smoothie

Image cred: Natalia Dworniak on Unsplash

Stave off colds with Rooibos Tofu, a powerful immune-booster with unconventional smoothie ingredients. It works when you’re tired of bananas or want to cut back on carbs. Red rooibos tea is an excellent base for a smoothie as it produces a herbaceous sweetness, without the caffeine. Protein-rich tofu creates a lovely thick texture whilst frozen grapes and raspberries deliver a deep flavour of additional antioxidants.

Makes 1 large glass

Ingredients

Steep tea for 8 to 10 minutes, discard teabag and chill in refrigerator. Once cool, blend the tea with all other ingredients until smooth and serve cold. Add an optional scoop of protein powder for a tea-rrific workout drink.

You can get your fix of rooibos tea here!

Smoothies are incredibly easy and convenient to make. At the same time, they hold a wealth of rich essential nutrients. If you are lacking time to make a wholesome meal, make a smoothie. It's the next best thing.

 

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