Flu season is upon us and being sick is no way to ring in the new year. I didn’t get my flu shot this year – because I’m invincible (hah!) – so I’m doing all I can to boost my immune system. Want to join me? Incorporate some of the foods below into your daily routine. Got some immune boosting recipes of your own? Share them in a comment!
- Fermented Foods establish beneficial gut bacteria which help fight off the bad bugs. Try eating/drinking at least one of these a day: yogurt, kefir, tempeh, sauerkraut or other fermented veggies, and Kombucha.
- Green Tea: One study found that catechins, the polyphenol compounds in green tea, may destroy the influenza A virus. Drink up! For best results, use just below-boiling water and steep no more than 2 minutes to prevent bitterness. Adding a little lemon and honey can mask the bitterness as well. Avoid using milk in your tea as the milk proteins will bind the polyphenols and prevent your body from using them.
- Zinc helps the immune system work properly; zinc deficient people have an increased susceptibility to a variety of pathogens. Zinc is found predominately in seafood, nuts and seeds, beef and lamb.
- Mushrooms contain an antioxidant called ergothionene which has great cell protection properties. These properties are so great that there is discussion of deeming this nutrient an essential vitamin. Ergothionene is highest in oyster and shitake mushrooms, and lowest in white button and cremini. They also contain beta-glucans, carbohydrates that stimulate macrophages, lymphocytes, T-cells and natural killer (NK) cells, important immune responders. Throw some mushrooms in your soup, stir fry or rice dishes.
- Garlic and Ginger contain anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. Use them to flavor any and everything you cook!
I found this beautiful soup on 101 Cookbooks. This is a new website for me and I absolutely love it. The photos elicit a calm feeling from me and I adore the rustic touch of it all. When I saw this soup, I knew right away I had to try it. I made a couple changes, like adding a bit of chicken base, a bit of jalapeno, and leaving off the pea shoots because I didn’t have any. But the white pepper broth is so unique and delicately delicious I urge you not to leave this ingredient out. You must simply just make a quick trip to the store for some white pepper. I also added a bit of cous cous (so nice they named it twice) to make a bit more substantial for my honey; he’s a runner and puts in a lot of miles each week, so it would be quite inconsiderate of me to provide him with a carb-free meal.
1 TBS coconut oil
3 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBS fresh ginger, grated
1/2 jalapeno, chopped
10 cups water
1-2 TBS chicken base (optional)
1.5 cups mixed oyster + cremini mushrooms
8 oz firm organic tofu, cut into thin slabs
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp finely ground white pepper
To serve: lots of chopped scallion and thinly sliced radish. Cous cous, if using.
Heat the oil in a large stock pot and stir in the carrot, onion, celery, garlic and ginger. Cook until soft but careful not to brown too much. Stir in the pepper, chicken base and the water. Bring the pot to a simmer and let it go for about 15 minutes. Add the mushrooms, tofu and salt and gently simmer for another 5-10 minutes. Taste and adjust as needed. Place 1/4 cup uncooked cous cous in the bottom of each bowl and ladle soup atop. Allow to sit for 3-5 minutes. Top with scallion and radish when ready to enjoy.