Boosting a healthy immune system takes more than just vitamin C; it takes a combination of nutrients designed to bolster your defenses throughout the cold and flu season, and the whole year through. Eating for immunity is easy with these recipes… and delicious too!
“The immune system is the body’s incredible defense network against infections, viruses, and bacteria that enter the body. The stronger your immune system is, the less chance you have of getting sick and the faster you can recover if you do. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables containing immune-boosting antioxidants and vitamins will help you achieve a healthy immune system with all-natural, plant-powered ingredients,” advises Prevention Magazine.
“This easy soup is full of immunity-boosting foods: vitamin C–rich kale, vitamin D–enhanced mushrooms, zinc-containing chicken and chickpeas, and antioxidant-packed garlic. Plus, the hot, steamy broth and a hint of pepper heat get your nose running—great for flushing out sinuses and potentially staving off an infection. It’s a big pot of brothy soup that you can make ahead and enjoy for a couple of days; the flavor just gets better over time. You may be wary of the large amount of garlic, but keep in mind that it mellows considerably after being cooked. Though we love using bone-in chicken breasts here, you can also swap in 3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken breast in a pinch (be aware that it will add more sodium).”
“Mushrooms are full of beta glucan, which helps the body fight disease, plus essential minerals like folate, magnesium and zinc. This tasty recipe will even entice little mushroom-haters to eat these nutritional powerhouses.”
Maple Nut Granola
“We love the maple-nut flavor combination of this heart-healthy granola, but feel free to substitute your favorite nuts or dried fruit for your own custom blend.”
Purple Power Healer Smoothie
Boost your health with this healing elixir! Red cabbage (the purple kind) contains anthocyanins, which studies have shown help suppress inflammation. Elderberry extract is a natural cold and flu fighter, which is why it’s always in our fridge! It is also called Sambucus and is considered a natural alternative to synthetic cough-and-cold syrups.
Purple Power Healer
(Makes 2 servings)
2 c chopped red cabbage
1 c water
1 orange, peeled
1 c blackberries
1 tsp elderberry extract
1. BLEND the cabbage, water, and orange until smooth.
2. ADD the blackberries, banana, and elderberry extract and blend again.
Tip: Try red cabbage microgreens—studies show that they can have more vitamin C than full-grown cabbage.
Chicken and Spinach Soup with Fresh Pesto
“This fragrant, Italian-flavored soup takes advantage of quick-cooking ingredients–boneless, skinless chicken breast, bagged baby spinach and canned beans. It features a simple homemade basil pesto swirled in at the end to add a fresh herb flavor. If you are very pressed for time, you can substitute 3 to 4 tablespoons of a store-bought basil pesto.”
Salisbury Steak with Roasted-Garlic Mash
“Garlic is a natural antibiotic, so it’s an essential element in both keeping infections at bay and fighting them if your family does get sick. This comforting steak and mash dinner will deliver a delicious dose of the good stuff.”
Black Bean Quesadillas
“In a hurry? These satisfying quesadillas take just 15 minutes to make. We like them with black beans, but pinto beans work well too. If you like a little heat, be sure to use pepper Jack cheese in the filling. Serve with: A little sour cream and a mixed green salad.”
Kale, Carrot and Feta Super Toss
“Fight off sickness with this refreshing yet hearty meal, which is full of incredible carotenoid-rich kale and the vitamin-C-kick of carrots.”
Citrus Cold Recovery Smoothie
Catch a cold? Try this green smoothie to help nurse yourself back to health. Beets are loaded with antioxidants like vitamin C, which can help boost your immune system. Flaxseed oil contains both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids; having a proper balance of these fatty acids is important for brain function and heart health.
Citrus Cold Recovery
(Makes 2 servings)
2 c green cabbage
1 c water
2 oranges, peeled
2 c chopped pineapple
¼ c peeled and cubed raw golden beet
Juice of ½ lemon
2 Tbsp flaxseed oil
1. BLEND the cabbage, water, and oranges until smooth.
2. ADD the pineapple, beet, lemon juice, and flaxseed oil and blend again.
Shiitake Mushroom Bruschetta
“Cultivated for more than 1,000 years, these meaty, tender Chinese mushrooms have long served as both food and medicine. They owe their reputation as immunity boosters to a type of carbohydrate called beta-glucans. Unlike other immunity nutrients, beta-glucans don’t create or regulate cells within your immune system. Instead, they act as a kind of decoy, boosting your body’s immune response. When you eat shiitakes (or other beta-glucan-containing foods), your immune system reacts as if a harmful substance is present and kicks into high gear to protect you. In a 2004 animal study of swine influenza virus, the group given beta-glucans before infection developed a much milder case of the flu than those untreated. While the swine flu virus studied was not the same strain as the human H1N1 virus, the results show promise for beta-glucans’ ability to prevent and treat the flu.” (Whole Living)