Staying well and healthy can get harder as our body, brain and cells age. Prescription pills and over the counter medicines may be effective for some ailments, but can have side effects and interfere with other vital medications. Store bought supplements can be a better, more natural option for keeping yourself healthy. But there are plenty of natural and homeopathic remedies for keeping you well in your golden years that you can create all on your own. The next time you’re starting to feel under the weather, fatigued, or in need of a natural boost, keep these 6 do-it-yourself healthy drinks in mind:
Kefir is an ancient probiotic dairy drink now widely available in supermarkets and specialty stores. You can buy it right next to the milk or yogurt in the dairy section. Or you can make your own by adding Kefir cultures (Kefir granules or grains) to unpasteurized raw cow’s or goat’s milk from a local, organic source. Do not use standard, pasteurized milk to make homemade Kefir. You need the natural enzymes and other compounds only found in raw milk to ensure the fermentation process goes correctly. Water Kefir granules can be used to make non-dairy Kefir drinks, including water, juice and coconut water.
Kvass is an old-world Eastern European health elixir originating in Russia. Traditionally made with grain, stale sourdough rye bread was often used as a starter culture. More modern beet kvass came by way of the Ukraine, and uses the sugar in the beets and natural salt to start the lacto-ferment process. The sugars and starch convert to lactic acid, preserving the kvass. If left long enough, the taste can become quite strong, and can be used in place of vinegar in salad dressing and other recipes.
If you’re not fond of “wild fermenting,” using just the natural sugars in the beets plus natural sea salt, you can also employ a safer, more predictable, and user friendly method by adding starter culture to the first batch in the form of sauerkraut or kimchi liquid; or water kefir granules. Similar to water kefir in fact, this abundant probiotic drink is a quick ferment, ready in just a few days to a week. The healthy beverage contains living enzymes and beneficial bacteria, aiding in good health and cellular repair while boosting immunity and healthy gut flora.
When you drink green tea, make sure it’s fermented! Kombucha is an ancient health elixir of unknown origin, but it’s said to do wonders for those who’ve tried it. A bit of an acquired taste, this fermented tea becomes something your body will crave. And soon you won’t be able to go a day without it; yearning for those B-vitamins, digestive enzymes, and living probiotics in your system. You’ll need to find a local brewer who has extra cultures packaged as starter kits on hand if you want to DIY this science experiment for cents on the dollar. Or you’ll spend upwards of $4 for a 16 oz bottle at the grocery store, if they even carry it. This is a longer ferment, around 30 days, so you might want to budget your time wisely as well, or you could run out before the next batch is ready.
Jun is the fancy cousin of Kombucha. But you’ll have to source this one, as it’s not readily available in most retail markets. More delicate and easier to mess up, you’ll need raw local honey to make this one work. No store-bought squeeze bottles here. The natural propolis, bee pollen and enzymes in raw honey are necessary to ferment Jun properly. But on the upside, the taste is milder and more complex for those refined, sensitive palates. If Kombucha is just too strong for you, Jun is the way to go.
Another do-it-yourself immune booster, this elixir will help ward off oncoming colds and flu if taken several times daily at the first sign of illness. To be used more in emergencies, the basic recipe for Master Tonic is simple: raw apple cider vinegar, fresh garlic, onion, ginger, horseradish and hot peppers. Mince the produce and add the vinegar, or blend all together. Take this tonic immediately at the onset of sickness; as soon as you feel that tickle in your throat or let out that first sneeze. You should also let it sit for 2 weeks, then use as needed. Feel free to strain off the solids if you prefer something more sippable. All of these ingredients boast antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, so there’s no need to refrigerate. And the longer you let it sit, the better it gets. But this one is hot, so be careful if you have ulcers or acid reflux.
Chicken soup is not only good for the soul, it’s amazing for the body. The next time you have poultry, beef, pork, lamb or fish bones on hand after a meaty recipe: add a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to a pot or slow cooker, add the bones and water, let it simmer at least 12 – 24 hours, strain and drink every day. The long, low cooking method and apple cider breaks down the bone exposing the marrow and other nutrients to the broth. The tendons and ligaments, which are not normally edible, release compounds like collagen, gelatin and glutamine and make them absorbable.
Bone broth is nutrient-rich and can address many ailments and issues related to age. Full of minerals like calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, and other healthful compounds like glucosamine and chondroitin, bone broth can also help reduce inflammation associated with arthritis and joint pain, cold and flu, and other respiratory issues.