We’re all looking for little ways to give our immune system a boost as we head into winter and the flu-fighting season. Your best bet for supporting and nourishing your immune system is to consume a varied diet made up of fresh, whole foods. However, if you’re looking for an extra helping hand consider increasing your intake of these key nutrients that are known immunity boosters.
Get behind garlic, ginger & turmeric
Garlic, ginger & turmeric are a must for every winter shopping list – not only do these pungent foods add a big boost of flavour to your dishes, but they also deliver a ton of immune-boosting benefits. Antiviral and antibacterial, the medicinal properties of garlic and ginger have been used for years so up your intake as you head into the cooler months.
Start with Toum, a traditional Lebanese dip made from garlic cloves. Serve this garlicky dip with grilled chicken, beef or vegetables.
400 g grapeseed oil
40 g lemon juice
3 – 4 garlic cloves (approx. 25 grams)
1 tsp salt
3 egg whites, room temperature
80 – 100 g boiling water
- Place oil and lemon juice into mixing bowl and emulsify 1 min/speed 4. Transfer into a jug and set aside.
- Place garlic and salt into mixing bowl and chop 3 sec/speed 7.
- Insert butterfly whisk. Add egg whites and beat 2 min/37°C/speed 4.
- Scrape down sides and bottom of mixing bowl with spatula and mix 4-5 min/speed 3.5, while very slowly pouring reserved oil emulsion onto mixing bowl lid, letting it drizzle into mixing bowl.
- Add water (see Tips) and mix 40 sec/speed 3.5, until smooth and thick. Remove butterfly whisk.Serve as desired or transfer into a sealable container and place into refrigerator until ready to serve. Add enough boiling water so that the toum is firm enough to hold its shape, but not so thick that a spoon will stand up in it.
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Vitamin C packed citrus fruits
It’s no coincidence that citrus fruits such as lemons, limes and oranges come into season during the colder months. They’re packed full of the powerhouse Vitamin C which is a vital nutrient for a healthy immune system. Vitamin C is rapidly used by your body during periods of stress or infection, so you’ll want to boost your intake if you’re feeling run down. Other foods that are high in vitamin C include red capsicum, strawberries and pineapple.
Have you tried juicing in your Thermomix? Give this Orange Juice a try and enjoy Add a glass of freshly made Orange Juice to your breakfast every day.
100 g ice cubes
3 – 4 navel oranges, peeled, cut into quarters, pips removed
1 tsp ginger powder (optional)
1 tsp raw honey (optional)
300 – 400 g water, to taste
- Place ice cubes, oranges, ginger and honey (if using) into mixing bowl and chop 20 sec/speed 9.
- Add water and mix 1 min/speed 8, or until desired consistency is achieved. Serve immediately.
Or give your immune system a pick-me-up with one of these other tonics.
If you’re looking for an excuse to indulge in a half-dozen of freshly shucked oysters then zinc may be the answer. Zinc is a useful mineral to assist the body when fighting off viral infections. But don’t worry if oysters aren’t your thing as other good source of zinc include pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, egg yolks, seafood and beef. Sprinkle muesli, soups or salads with pumpkin seeds or try these recipes below.
Make friends with friendly bacteria
A healthy gut function forms a protective barrier against disease-causing germs. To help support your gut function, consume regular amounts of fermented foods such as yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi and miso. At the same time try to boost your intake of high-fibre prebiotic foods that feed the friendly bacteria in your gut. These include garlic, onion, leek, asparagus, oats, flaxseed and pulses such as lentils and beans. Your gut will be feeling the love in no time!
A ‘Hug in a Mug’ Chicken Soup
Chicken soup is good for more than just the soul – studies have shown that chicken soup may ease the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections. And let’s be honest, when you’re feeling under the weather, a nourishing bowl of soup is like a hug in a mug! Load up your soup with ingredients like garlic, onion, leeks, chilli, ginger & turmeric for extra nutritional punch. Want more inspo? Click here to check out our blog.
There’s much to love about mushrooms, not least the fact they are very powerful immunity boosters. Choose shitake mushrooms, which are prized for their rich, savory taste along with their immune boosting prowess. This Mushroom Stroganoff is a delicious way to enjoy them!
Also try: Beef and Coconut Soup
And lastly remember, individual food groups are great for keeping your immune system healthy. However, your best option for optimal health for the whole body is to a varied and colourful diet made up of whole foods. Happy cooking!