27 Oct These 5 Recipes Will Boost Your Immune System
With a pandemic raging and cases on the rise, it’s more important than ever to keep our bodies and minds in tip-top shape. A healthy immune system not only helps you stay on track with daily tasks, but it also helps you avoid colds, flu, and other illnesses when you’re out and about.
So, how can you begin to support your immune system with the foods you cook in your non-stick pan, skillet pan, saucepan, or whatever pot or pan you prefer?
It’s a widely held belief that eating more whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein is the most effective way to boost your immunity, while probiotic-rich foods (kimchi, yoghurt, tempeh, kombucha, sourdough – we’re looking at you!) help to improve your gut health.
Here’s a list of 5 delicious immune-boosting recipes to help you maintain a healthy immune system:
Image: Elise Bauer
Nothing beats a bowl of soup for comfort, and that’s especially true when you know it’s good for your immune system.
“The two main spices, turmeric and ginger, contain compounds that have been linked to immune health,” says recipe creator and Boston-based Sarah Gold Nutrition founder Sarah Gold Anzlovar, RDN.
For example, in October 2015, a study published in the journal Cell Division discovered that curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, may work with the immune system to potentially combat or prevent certain types of cancer.
Moreover, the other key ingredients in the recipe have an effect on the immune system. “Carrots contain vitamin A, which is important for immunity,” says Anzlovar, citing a study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine in September 2018.
And, according to Anzlovar, “the prebiotics found in onions play a role in keeping the gut healthy, which is the centre of the immune system,” which research published in Foods in March 2019 and information from Johns Hopkins University support.
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 1/2 pounds carrots (6 to 7 large carrots), peeled and sliced thin
- 2 cups chopped white or yellow onion
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
- 2 cups water
- 3 large strips of zest from an orange
- Chopped chives, parsley, dill or fennel for garnish
- Onions and carrots should be sautéed:
Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat and cook the onions and carrots, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften, about 5 to 8 minutes. Do not let the onions or carrots brown. Sprinkle a teaspoon of salt over the carrots and onions as they cook.
- Add stock and water, ginger, and strips of orange zest:
Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the carrots soften, about 20 minutes.
- Remove the strips of orange zest:
It’s easy to forget this step, and if you forget and purée the soup with the strips of zest still in it, the soup may be too bitter for your taste.
- Purée soup:
Purée the soup with a stick blender, or working in small batches, pour the soup into a blender and purée until completely smooth. Only fill the blender bowl a third full with the hot liquid and keep one hand pressing down on the cap of the blender to keep it from popping off.
Add more salt to taste. (You will need more salt if you are using homemade unsalted stock or unsalted butter.)
Garnish with chopped chives, parsley, or fennel fronds.
Cucumber Yogurt Soup
Image: Closet Cooking
Probiotics get a lot of attention for their gut-health benefits, but strains of probiotics or “good bacteria” found in some yoghurt may also have immune-supporting benefits, according to Harvard.
Garlic may aid in the prevention and treatment of cold and flu symptoms. Allicin, a compound found in garlic, is regarded as a nutrient that aids in immune system health.
- 2 large cucumbers (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
- 2 tablespoons chopped onion (white, red, or green)
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Pinch black pepper
- Prep the cucumbers, onion, and dill:
Peel, seed, and roughly chop the cucumbers. Chop the onion and dill.
Put all of the ingredients into a blender and pulse until completely smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
At this point you can make ahead and chill.
- Chill the soup:
Chill in a container in the refrigerator until cold.
Pour into bowls and garnish with a drizzle of olive oil and a feather of dill.
Healthy No-Mayo Broccoli Salad
Image: Kaleigh McMordie
Broccoli does not have to be monotonous. In fact, it can be quite effective in assisting your immune system to function optimally.
“Preliminary studies suggest that sulphurous vegetables like broccoli may increase the body’s levels of glutathione, an antioxidant produced in the body that helps it resist oxidative stress,” says recipe creator and LivelyTable.com founder Kaleigh McMordie, RDN.
Furthermore, this recipe uses Greek yoghurt rather than mayonnaise, which is another immune-boosting ingredient (more on that later).
- 1 small head broccoli, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- ⅓ cup red onion, diced
- 1 cup red grapes, halved
- ¼ cup raisins or dried cranberries
- ¼ cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped
- 2 pieces of cooked bacon, crumbled
- ½ cup Greek Yogurt Coleslaw Dressing (more or less to taste)
- In a large bowl, combine broccoli, onion, grapes, raisins, pecans, and bacon.
- In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Pour over broccoli mixture.
- Stir to coat evenly, adding more dressing as needed.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Sauce with Pan-Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic
Image: Rebecca Blackwell
This straightforward recipe combines two immune-boosting ingredients, tomato and garlic, to create a flavourful and nutrient-dense sauce for your favourite pasta.
The juicy and rich tomato is high in vitamin C, making it an excellent choice to eat when you’re sick with the flu. Garlic, on the other hand, contains two nutritious compounds, allicin and alliinase, which aid in immune system function.
- 3.6 kg ripe tomatoes
- 26 cloves of garlic – do NOT peel
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- salt and pepper
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Wash tomatoes and remove their stems. Cut each tomato in half and lay them cut side up on a large rimmed baking sheet. Scatter the garlic cloves over and around the tomatoes (do NOT peel the garlic).
- Drizzle the olive oil over the tomatoes and garlic. Sprinkle the thyme leaves, crushed red pepper, and sugar over the tomatoes and garlic, then sprinkle with a generous amount of salt and pepper.
- Roast in the oven for 60-90 minutes, until the tomatoes are beginning to caramelize on top. Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the pan.
- Working in batches, scoop the tomatoes into a food mill that’s been fitted with the large whole strainer plate and set over a large bowl. Strain the tomatoes through the food mill, allowing the sauce to accumulate in the bowl and the tomato skins and core to collect in the food mill. Discard the skins and core.
- Squeeze the garlic cloves into the sauce – the garlic will squeeze right out of the skins. Discard garlic skins. Use the back of a spoon to mash the garlic on the sides of the bowl and stir it into the sauce.
- Store tomato sauce in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. (Sauce can be frozen for up to 6 months)
Japanese Vegetable Curry
Image: Just One Cook Book
Who doesn’t like curry? This simple recipe contains a plethora of polyphenol-rich vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, onions, and ginger. Substitute spinach, broccoli, okra, or tomatoes for the listed vegetables for a less starchy curry.
- For the Curry
- 1 large onion, sliced into wedges (300 g)
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- 2 teaspoons ginger, grated
- ½ package mushrooms (150g)
- 1 carrot, cut into wedges (150g)
- 2–3 potatoes (250g)
- 3/4 cup soy curls (about 60g dry and 120g rehydrated)
- ½ small apple, grated (100g)
- 2 ½ cup water (625ml)
- ½ box curry roux cubes (120g // or about 240-270g homemade curry cubes)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Kakushi aji (hidden flavours)
- 1/4 cup caramelized onions (62 g)
- 1 tablespoon Japanese Worcester or Tonkatsu sauce (15 ml)
- 1 tablespoon ketchup (15 ml)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (15 ml / tamari for gluten free)
- 1 tablespoon sugar of choice (14 g)
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder (3 g)
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee (3 g)
- Over medium high heat, add onions and fry for 1 minute. Add in garlic and ginger and fry for another minute. Add in the mushrooms, carrots, potatoes and soy curls, and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add water and grated apple. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a low and simmer for 15 minutes or until you can pierce a toothpick through it.
- Turn off the heat. Chop up the roux into small pieces (makes it easier to dissolve). Add the chopped roux to a soup ladle and dissolve it well into the curry. Stir in kakushi aji mixture. Add any other kakushiaji.
- Turn heat to low and simmer to thicken, about 5 minutes.
- Serve over rice and enjoy!
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