Chilly weather welcomes soup, fireplaces, sweaters and… the Cold & Flu Season. Luckily, there are a variety of foods to naturally boost our immune system! Try incorporating more of the following foods into your diet this season.
One of the best ways to naturally boost our immune system is with vitamin, mineral and anti-oxidant rich foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole-grains. While it may seem easier to reach for supplements to boost our vitamin intake, try consuming more real, whole, plant-based foods to boost your vitamin and mineral intakes. For example, to boost your vitamin C intake consume more orange, sweet bell peppers, sweet potatoes and broccoli.
Root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes and beets are the perfect hearty vegetables for fall that are also full of immune boosting nutrients. Carrots, for example, are high in vitamin C and beta-carotene, which has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. Parsnips, a pale cousin of the carrot, are also high in vitamin C as well as folate, choline, manganese, magnesium, and fiber. Just like carrots, parsnips can be enjoyed raw or cooked and are excellent in soups and stews. Another super-root that is often overshadowed is the onion. Onions are health warriors and have been shown to help fight colon cancer, ovarian cancer, and laryngeal cancer. Onions also contain one of the highest levels of polyphenols, a form of phytonutrients, on the planet.
Sugar can lower our immune system while spices such as garlic, cinnamon and turmeric (found most commonly in curry powder) are powerful immune boosters. Garlic and turmeric are both root vegetables that when dried are excellent immune boosting spices! Turmeric has been shown to help stop cancerous tumor growth and halt inflammation-related diseases as well as fight a myriad of other diseases. Garlic is another root with amazing immune boosting and overall health promoting properties. Garlic is a blood cleanser, antibacterial, and antioxidant food that seems almost designed for boosting the immune system. A few ideas for enjoying these immune boosting spices is to make a savory nut mix by roasting nuts in the oven with coconut oil and curry powder, or try a filling soup made of root vegetables and spices.
- 4 cups peeled and chopped carrots
- 2 cups peeled and chopped parsnips
- 1 small yellow onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- ½ cup coconut milk
- 2 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons ground turmeric
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- 3 slices whole-wheat multi-seed bread (a few days old is best)
- ½ tablespoon cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- *Choose organic ingredients when possible
- Set the oven on its lowest possible setting.
- Chop the bread and coat with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and the cinnamon.
- Spread bread evenly on a cookie sheet and place in the low oven for around 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Watch croutons to prevent from burning, remove from oven when nice and dry / crispy.
- Peel and chop the carrots and parsnips, peel and dice the yellow onion and garlic.
- Place your Le Crueset Soup Pot on the stove over medium heat.
- Add to your pot 1 tablespoon of coconut, when the oil is hot but not smoking add the yellow onion diced.
- Cook the onions for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Once the onion starts to turn translucent add the diced garlic, turmeric and a pinch of salt.
- After cooking for another 2 minutes add the carrots, parsnips, vegetable broth, coconut milk and sriracha.
- Bring soup pot to a boil and then lower to a medium-low heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Once the carrots and parsnips are very tender your soup is ready to blend.
- Use an immersion blender, or in a blender carefully blend soup until smooth.
- Serve soup topped with cinnamon croutons and enjoy!