It’s nearly March, but for much of the country, winter is still going strong – and so are all the colds and flu. To avoid getting sick there are the obvious things like washing your hands and trying to limit your contact with sick individuals, but a major part of your ability to ward off illness comes from the food you eat. To be healthy, you have to eat healthy.
We searched the internet for some healthy recipes with nutritious, immune-boosting ingredients to help you make it through the last leg of winter. From soups to smoothies, we hope you’ll find something that fits your diet and lifestyle, and makes your mouth water.
1. Vitamin C Immunity Booster Green Smoothie
A nutrient-dense smoothies filled with healthy fruits and vegetables is an obvious – and very popular – way to fortify your immune system. There’s a million different combinations and it’s super simple to add your own personal touches. And they’re great for on the go. Every morning before work I throw my ingredients in the blender, pour the mixture into my blender bottle, and hit the road. Quick, nutritious, and portable.
Whether you’re a sommelier of smoothies or a newbie, Jadah and Jen of Simple Green Smoothies are sure to have something that piques your interest. For immunity, try they’re Vitamin C Immunity Booster Green Smoothie. (Click here to learn more about why vitamin C is so good for your immune system.) Spinach, fresh orange juice, carrots, strawberries, blueberries, and banana give you a powerful dose of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. For an extra boost, feel free to add supplements or extracts like some probiotics or elderberry syrup.
Get the recipe here.
2. Super Immune-Boosting Chicken Soup
When you’re under the weather, is there anything more wholesome than homemade chicken soup? I may have gone vegetarian a few years ago, but I’m not about to deny any poor sickie a nice hot bowl of comfort. This is your mother’s chicken soup, souped up! It might involve a little more work, but I think it’ll be worth it.
First of all, you make your own broth for this recipe. It’s got the obvious things like a chicken, onions, celery, and garlic, but it also has ginger, shiitake mushrooms, and astragalus. Not familiar with it? Astragalus is an herb (technically a type of legume) often used in Chinese medicine – and more recently in natural supplements – as an immune booster. For cooking, you can purchase slices of the dried root.
Check out the other goodies in this recipe here.
3. Spiced Cider Kefir Immune Booster
How about a nice cup of hot cider on a cold day? This recipe takes that tradition and turns it into a powerhouse of immune system support.
The key is the kefir water. Fermented and full of probiotics, kefir supports your gastrointestinal health, which is key for overall immunity. Learn more about the connection between your gut and your immune system here.
It also includes symptom-soothing, senses-invigorating spices like ginger, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. And lemon juice adds important vitamin C and beneficial enzymes.
Get the recipe here and check out other recipes featuring fermentation on the Fermentation Food Lab.
4. Vegetarian Pho
Looking a meatless soup option? This pho – or Vietnamese noodle soup – features fragrant ingredients with an sickness-beating punch. Garlic and cinnamon have natural antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties, and ginger is good for inflammation and stomach issues like nausea. Basil is an excellent source of vitamin K. A good helping of shiitake mushrooms adds antiviral and immune-boosting power, and bean sprouts add a wealth of nutrients.
Get the recipe from Vegetarian Times magazine here.
5. Oyster Stew
We’ve covered some good options for broth-based soups, so how about a little more variety? This creamy but light (it uses milk, not heavy cream) soup will amp up your immune system with oysters. What makes oysters so special is their zinc content. Amounts vary with the exact kind and preparation method, but it’s not hard to get over 100 percent of the recommended daily value of zinc by eating oysters. And zinc is an essential nutrient for healthy immune system function. In addition, oysters contain selenium, iron, and B12.
Add some sweet potatoes for vitamins A and C, and you’ve got a wholesome dish your immune system will love you for.
Get the recipe here.
6. Citrus Salad with Manuka Honey, Vanilla, and Pistachio
This recipe is a celebration of citrus, taking advantage of the great selection that fills the grocery store in winter. And with fresh oranges, grapefruits, limes, blood oranges, and mandarins, it also takes advantage of vitamin C’s great benefits for your immune system.
But this is no ordinary fruit salad. It has a secret ingredient – manuka honey. Manuka honey is sourced from New Zealand from bees that create honey from the pollen of the manuka tree. This special variety has far greater antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, and antioxidant properties than standard honey. (Learn more here.) Because of its value, impostors are common so be careful what you buy – you definitely get what you pay for. We carry pure manuka honey from various trusted brands in different sizes. Pure Synergy’s raw and organic manuka honey has received good reviews.
Try this healthy, elegant recipe as a side dish, for breakfast, or as a lush dessert. Get the recipe from the Healthy Chef here.
For making it through cold and flu season, be sure to keep these recipes on hand.