When you think you eat healthy, exercise regularly, sleep enough, have a rather regulated life and are generally happy with life, you’d think  your immune system should be able to fight off anything before it even appears on your radar.

Well, that’s what I thought until I got the nastiest and longest-lasting cold of all times. It’s been two weeks now and I am almost over it, but not quite yet. As you may know from this blog, I do live quite healthily. In my eyes, my only vice is that one glass of wine that I have every night as soon as the kids are in bed.
Once I realized that cold was here to stay, it made me re-think my current lifestyle.

Perhaps I do drink too much coffee and tea? That’s a tough question to answer. I have had a few cups everyday for as long as I can remember.

Perhaps I didn’t eat enough? My passion for running demands a higher energy intake. I thought that I had learned to listen to my body’s needs and that I eat whenever I feel hungry, even when it is the 5th snack attack between lunch and dinner. Yet at times, I find it hard to gauge if my food intake is sufficient. It doesn’t show so much on the scales. No matter, how little or much I eat, my weight is always the same within a range of 1kg up or down. Although it is on the very low end of what is being considered a healthy BMI. It seems to be more a question of increased nutrient demands through running that I need to meet.

Perhaps I didn’t rest enough? I tend to think this is the main cause for my weakened immune system. With rest I mean resting from running. Allowing oneself enough time to recover. The running season in Dubai lasts from October until March/April. It’s just coming to an end. During that time I ran one full marathon, 3 half marathons, two 10k races (with 2 more lined up in the next two weeks), one 8k race and one 5k race. It is a lot, I agree. And that’s just the races. Now add the training for it on top, and I suddenly realize that I am simply exhausted. Depleted even. No energy reserves of whatever sort left to fight a little cold bug.
A few restful months after the last two races will be needed to recharge my batteries. Running will still be a crucial part in it. But not as manic. I look forward to leisurely slow running around the neighborhood. Just for the fun of it.

Back to my nasty cold. I tried everything to speed up recovery: vitamins by the bucket in the form of fresh fruit and vegetables. Turmeric wherever I could add it to a dish. Parsley in huge amounts. Less wine. Less running. More rest. And ginger lemon tea. I don’t think anything actually helped. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the ginger lemon tea.
The health benefits of ginger are well-known. Its anti-inflammatory properties may prevent certain cancers,  help with gastro-intestinal issues. Ginger has immune-boosting properties and is known to fight of flus and colds. Lemons are similarly good when a cold is coming on: it’s known for it’s anti-bacterial, anti-viral and immune-boosting powers.
The ginger is very dominant in this tea. The spiciness made me believe that it is fighting anything in my body that doesn’t belong there. A little touch of lemon flavor comes through the ginger spiciness and adds freshness to the tea. One can surely experiment with the proportions of ginger and lemon in this tea. Stay healthy!

Print Recipe

1 cup/250g fresh ginger, sliced
1 lemon, sliced

1 litre/1 quart/4 cups water

Serves 4
In a medium pot, bring sliced ginger and water to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Add lemon slices and cook for another 5 minutes. Take off the heat, and squeeze the lemon slices with a fork to extract some more juices. Strain and transfer to jug or tea pot. Enjoy as is or sweeten with some honey. If the tea is too strong, add some hot water.


  1. I love strong ginger tea when I have a cold! Unfortunately lemons are hard to come by in my corner of the world.

  2. You know you are probably right about overstressing your body with all the training and marathons. I was reading the other day where a heart surgeon wouldn’t do a particular heart operation on an athlete because athletes’ hearts have been so stressed through their lives and that he mightn’t be able to take the operation. As I have mentioned before, my husband is a competing mountain biker, ex-marathon runner and I worry about how he stresses his body. I think there is a balance somewhere between an athlete and a couch potato that is healthy. The people who live very long lives are active but seldom strain themselves excessively.
    I think you are probably very in tune with your body and know what is right and wrong for it and it is saying to rest for a bit.

  3. I hope you’re fully cured soon. Ginger lemon tea is something I always reach for when I’m feeling under the weather. Thanks for sharing:)

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