Winter is approaching, and I am looking forward to making cozy fires and cooking, nourishing warming meals, unfortunately we can all also assume that our immunity will be challenged and tested in the next few months. Here are my top cold & flu fighting foods to strengthen your immune system.
Foods Rich in Vitamin A: Vitamin A protects our body against infections, and keeps our skin healthy, you may not think of your skin being part of your immune system. But this crucial organ, covering an impressive 16 square feet, serves as a first-line of defense against bacteria and viruses. To stay strong and healthy, your skin needs vitamin A.
Foods abundant in Vitamin A are orange fleshed sweet potatoes (the Jewel variety), carrots, watercress, mangoes, pumpkins/ squash, cabbage, tomatoes and broccoli
Zinc is essential for good immune health; it helps fight infections and is important for many other functions in the body as well as keeping cold sores at bay. Foods rich in Zinc, dry split peas, non GMO peanuts, almonds, are Oysters,
Mushrooms, especially Shiitake & Reishi mushrooms has powerful anti-viral and anti-fungal properties that can help prevent and treat the common cold and candida infections.
Broccoli and Spinach are powerhouses of vitamin A, C and E, the trick is to cook both as little as possible, lightly steam or stir-fry it, add it too soups or stew right at the end, or eat it raw in salads.
Foods rich in Vitamin C – no surprises here, we all know how important Vitamin C is for our immune health, Red Pepper is exceptionally high in vitamin C, and a great immune boosting snack idea is to eat an especially garlicky homemade hummus paired with organic carrot & red pepper ‘sticks’. Citrus is also an excellent source of vitamin C, start your day with the juice of 1 lemon into a large glass of boiled, then cooled water, not only will this add a healthy dose of vitamin C into your body, but it’s also an effective way to assist in creating a more alkaline environment.
Chicken blocks the migration of inflammatory white cells—an important finding, because cold symptoms are a response to the cells’ accumulation in the bronchial tubes. The amino acid cysteine, released from chicken during cooking, chemically resembles the bronchitis drug acetylcysteine, which may explain the results. The soup’s salty broth keeps mucus thin the same way cough medicines do. Added spices, such as garlic and onions, can increase soup’s immune-boosting power.
Garlic: This potent onion relative contains the active ingredient allicin, which fights infection and bacteria. British researchers gave 146 people either a placebo or a garlic extract for 12 weeks; the garlic takers were two-thirds less likely to catch a cold.
Barley & Oats: These grains contain beta-glucan, a type of fibre with antimicrobial and antioxidant capabilities reported to be more potent than Echinacea. Beta -glucan boosts immunity, and speeds wound healing.
Why not create some recipes that include as many of the above immune boosting foods as possible, below is my version of an immune boosting chicken soup that will also be an excellent cold & flu remedy meal for those who have succumbed to the sniffles.
Immune Boosting Chicken Soup with Sweet Potato, Barley & Garlic
Serves 4 – 6 portions
- 2 brown onions, finely chopped
- 5 cloves of fresh garlic, finely grated or crushed
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 6 skinless chicken thighs (only choose birds free from growth hormones and antibiotic treatment)
- 5 liters of filtered water
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups of finely shredded baby spinach
- 2 medium jewel sweet potatoes, peeled and then grated
- ½ cup of dry pearled barley
- A dash of cream or coconut cream (approx. 50 ml)
- Pink salt to taste
- Saute the onion in some coconut oil or grass fed butter until translucent, then add the chicken pieces and brown them evenly, seasoning them with salt.
- Once the chicken pieces are browned, add the turmeric, garlic, bay leaves & thyme.
- Next add the liquid; seasoning with some more salt and cover with the lid of the pot, then turn the heat down to a slow simmer for approximately 1 hour.
- When the soup has been cooking for an hour, remove the chicken pieces, de-boning them, putting the meat aside, and adding the larger bones back to the pot, then add the barley, sweet potato and cook for another 45 minutes on low heat.
- When the soup has cooked for another 45 minutes, remove the bones, add the spinach and chicken pieces (you can chop it it into smaller pieces before adding them back to the pot). Let it all simmer together for another 15 minutes and then serve with a drizzle of olive oil.
To download my ’14 Day Immune Booster Plan’ click on the link below:
In dedication to your radiant health,