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ginger and cinnamon to the rescue: using spices to boost baby's immunity

by Leena D. Saini

Happy New Year!  Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season! 

We had a bit of a rough time; my whole family got sick in December.  Not fun!  Ela, who had just turned 9-months, battled her first cold and chest congestion, while Kirina, 3-years, got nailed with the stomach bug.  My poor husband (who shouldered most of the cleaning-up and rescue duty because he 1) has a stronger stomach than me and 2) is more mature about baby throw-up, meaning, he doesn’t scream and run away) also got nailed with some hybrid of whatever the girls had.  Me?  I coughed a lot, lost my mind and longed for chicken broth to materialize in a magic pot (perhaps I had been reading too many of Kirina’s fairy tale books.  Or maybe it was the cough medicine.  One can only wonder). 

Happily we were all healed by Christmas.  Such a blessing!

We were not been able to eat much in the Saini household during that time, but we did discover  some wonderful foods, ones that were surprisingly soothing and effective at healing us faster.

The first being ginger, our new best friend.  Did you know that ginger root has been used for thousands of years to soothe all sorts of tummy problems?  It reduces inflammation and it provides protection against many illnesses.  Asian countries use ginger in just about everything, particularly ginger teas (I remember drinking hot water and ginger infusions when I was pregnant and had an upset stomach).  Kirina’s nurse even recommended flat ginger ale to settle her tummy woes.

The ginger ale worked for Kirina, but how could I use ginger with Ela?  Too young for soda for sure, but it got me thinking, what if I infuse cooking water with ginger and boil/steam her veggies in it?  I tried a carrot and ginger combo.  I thought it would be a great immunity booster, and also a gentle way to introduce ginger to her palate (hey, I have to multi-task. I’m still in the business of spicing up baby food!).

The result was amazing! And super easy.  Simply take a slice or two of fresh ginger root and add it to your water while boiling/steaming your vegetable of choice.  The carrots take on a lovely, light ginger flavor.  Ela ate them all up!  I think this cooking method would be fabulous with lots of different herbs and spices.  Mint, cilantro, basil leaves, etc.  Even a clove or two in boiling water would create a nice perfume and gentle flavor.

Our other soother?  Cinnamon.  The mere scent of it made us all feel better.  Cinnamon has been known to reduce inflammation and has anti-bacterial properties as well.  That’s all well and good, but my 3-year-old just cared about eating cinnamon sugar toast when her tummy was starting to get better.  A soothing and tasty treat after so many days of bland stomach bug food.

Other great ways to use cinnamon include steeping a pinch in warm water and either inhaling the steam or simply drinking it like a tea. 

Give these ideas a try and let me know your thoughts! And most of all, stay well this cold and flu season. 

For more ways to spice up baby and toddler food, please visit me at www.masalababyfood.com or on Facebook, www.facebook.com/masalababyfood

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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