NOURISHMENT

Orange Ginger Cayenne Kicker

By Elle Penner, RD MPH

Fresh OJ, a squeeze of lemon, freshly grated ginger, a dash of cayenne for a kick and a couple of drops of oil of oregano, this sweet but spicy elixir is the perfect, antioxidant-packed pick-me-up. And with cold season approaching, it’s my new favorite way to clear out my sinuses and give my immune system a boost. This spicy sip is chock-full of vitamins, antioxidants and good-for-you phytochemicals that are associated with lower rates of disease and greater overall health.

Orange and Lemon Juice

Oranges and lemons are an excellent source of vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that prevents cellular damage from free radicals. OJ is high in natural sugars, but sipping a small amount of it each day can do a body good. Research shows that orange juice offers more protective benefits than vitamin C supplements, which suggests the vitamin C in citrus is just part of a matrix of many beneficial phytochemicals, not just the vitamin itself.

Ginger Root

Spicy and poignant, freshly grated ginger gives this drink it’s kick along with a whole lot of health benefits. Ginger root has potent antioxidant properties and also can prevent and fight disease-causing inflammation.

Oil of Oregano

A potent antioxidant, the oils from oregano have also been shown to inhibit the growth and even kill several strains of bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus, which causes dangerous skin infections, and Giardia, a gut-wrenching intestinal infection. Just two to four drops of this special oil may help fight off certain bacterial infections.

Cayenne

Capsaicin, the active ingredient in cayenne peppers, has been associated with a slew of a health benefits, including increased metabolism and reduced hunger, and it may even help lower blood pressure.

Give it a try—but think twice if you don’t love spice because this drink packs some serious heat!

MAKES: 1 6-ounce drink

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup freshly squeezed (about 1½-2 oranges) or cold-pressed orange juice
  • 1 medium lemon, juiced (about ¼ cup lemon juice)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (from about 1-inch piece)
  • 2-4 drops oil of oregano
  • 2 dashes cayenne pepper

DIRECTIONS

Combine all ingredients in a glass. Stir well and enjoy.

Photo and video credit: Elle Penner, RD MPH

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Author

Elle Penner, MPH RD

Elle Penner is a registered dietitian and former lead dietitian at MyFitnessPal, turned full-time writer, recipe creator, photographer, blogger and mama. Her favorite things include her camera, carbs, sweaty workouts and her son.

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