Immune Supporting Foods
Your immune system is your first defense to fight off viruses and bacteria. When it's strong, healthy and supported it will perform its best (just like the rest of us). Getting good sleep, exercising daily (even a 20 minute walk), managing stress and eating healthy with plenty of nourishing vitamins and nutrients all create a healthy, strong immune system.
Although there's no one food that magically "boosts" it, there are a few key nutrients that help support it - including vitamins A and C, zinc, allicin, antioxidants and probiotics. Here are a few foods you probably already have in your kitchen with high amounts of those nutrients and how to easily enjoy more of them everyday...
- rich in zinc to help regulate your immune system and heal wounds
- sprinkle them on your oatmeal, salad, avocado toast, in your hummus
- add a tablespoon in your smoothie
SWEET POTATOES & CARROTS
- high in vitamin A
- roast or steam them and add to your power bowl
- make a baked sweet potato topped with black beans, avocado and nutritional yeast
- dip raw carrots in hummus
- spiralize them into "noodles"
- rich in vitamin C
- chop them into salads, bowls or soups
- cut in half and stuff with quinoa, black beans and other veggies
- cut them up raw and dip into hummus (ideally sprinkled with pumpkin seeds ;-)
- rich in vitamin C
- enjoy as a snack or with breakfast
- slice it up into salad
- add it to your smoothie
- high in allicin (a compound that can help fight infection and bacteria)
- add to soups, salad dressings, sauces
- anti-inflammatory (chronic inflammation can weaken and disrupt the function of your immune system)
- add 1/4 tsp to your smoothie
- add a dash to tomato sauces and soups
- make turmeric milk or turmeric tea
- high in antioxidants & anti-inflammatory
- enjoy anytime - great as an after lunch energizing drink
- add 1/2 teaspoon of matcha green tea powder to your smoothie
DAIRY FREE & UNSWEETENED YOGURT
- full of probiotics for healthy gut bacteria
- enjoy as a snack or breakfast with seeds & berries
- add to sauces to make them creamy
- mix it with fresh or dried herbs and enjoy it as a dip with fresh veggies
DARK LEAFY GREENS
- high in ALL the vitamins!
- support your lungs, circulation, naturally detoxes your digestive tract
- add a handful to your smoothie, power bowl, soup or sauces
- make a salad
- sauté or steam
- make pesto
Being mindful of adding these foods into your day and taking great care of yourself with good sleep, lots of water and managing your stress (yoga, meditation, walks, baths) will keep your immune system strong and supported so you can feel your best.
IMMUNE SUPPORTING RECIPES:
Immune Boost Smoothie
Although there's no one thing that magically "boosts" your immune system, eating healthy (lots of fresh veggies and fruit), staying hydrated, getting good sleep, reducing stress and moving your body everyday are all essential to keeping it strong and healthy.
This smoothie is a delicious, creamy drink that's full of super power ingredients that both support and strengthen your immune system.
Ginger - antiviral, antibacterial & anti-parasitic
Coconut Yogurt - gut healthy probiotics
Pumpkin Seeds - full of immune boosting zinc, healthy fats & clean protein
Raw Honey - naturally antibacterial and adaptogenic
Turmeric - inflammation & disease fighter
Cinnamon - so many antioxidants, so little time
Mango - rich in vitamins C & A
Plant Based Milk - because dairy = inflammation and acidity (which can weaken your immune system)
makes 1 smoothie
- 1 cup unsweetened plant based milk
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut yogurt (I like the Silk brand - you can use almond or cashew yogurt if you prefer)
- 1" piece of fresh ginger (or 1/4 tsp ground)
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp raw honey
- 2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 1 1/4 cup frozen mango
TIPS & NUTRITION
You can add a scoop of your favourite plant based protein powder or 2 tablespoons of rolled oats for more protein.
Feel free to use any plant based milk (Oat, Almond, Cashew, Coconut, etc.) or yogurt you have on hand or enjoy. Try to always use unsweetened to avoid unnecessary sugars.
Always use raw honey as it still has all its healthy properties. Most conventional honey has been processed and heated and many of its health benefits have been stripped away.
Place all ingredients in the order they're listed in a high speed blender and blend until creamy and smooth.
Healing Lentil Soup
This soup is full of all our favourite words...
- antioxidant rich
- immune boosting
- skin beautifying
Plus its full of clean iron and protein for energy and fibre for natural detox, healthy digestion and weight management. Probably could have named it super-woman soup ;-)
This basic soup is quick to make, hearty and filling and so delish. Really perfect on a chilly winter night. Make a big pot and keep the leftovers in the fridge or freezer in single serving containers to make busy nights, or to go lunches a breeze.
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into thin rounds
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 sweet potato, scrubbed and cut into bite size pieces
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- fresh ground sea salt and pepper
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed and drained
- 4 - 6 large kale leaves, torn
TIPS & NUTRITION
I used red lentils because they cook quick so this soup can be done within about 30 minutes. If you would like to use a different lentil you will need to simmer it longer until they are tender.
Feel free to add more or less kale or even sub in with chard, baby kale or spinach.
The turmeric, garlic and onion are all anti-inflammatory, the greens are full of antioxidants, the carrots and sweet potato have tons of vitamin A for gorgeous skin and an immune boost and the lentils are a great source of iron, protein and fibre. Yum!
In a large soup pot sauté the onion, garlic and carrots in the olive oil on medium heat until tender. Add in the chopped sweet potato and season with oregano and fresh ground sea salt and pepper.
Add in the vegetable broth, bay leaf, turmeric and rinsed lentils. Bring to a boil. stir, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove the bay leaf, add in the kale and simmer for another few minutes until the kale is just wilted.
Kim Ruzycki is a plant based health coach working with clients to help them transition to and thrive on a healthy plant based lifestyle through real food nutrition, physical activity, mindfulness, self care and daily healthy habits. Get more info on her programs, how you can work with her and find delicious, easy plant based recipes on her website: pickydiet.com