In the face of the perennial danger posed by Covid variants, the question of how to fortify one’s immune system as the next flu season approaches is of paramount importance.
Your diet is a great place to begin. The millions of bacteria that call our intestinal tract home (our “gut microbiome”) have been related to immune function.
Here are four nutritious meals that have been approved by nutritionists to help you stay healthy during winter:
1. Haitian soup joumou
Eat the rainbow; it’s a true proverb. Recent research has shown that phytonutrients, found primarily in whole, minimally processed plant meals that tend to be rich in colour, can help maintain a healthy immune system.
Soup joumou is a favourite of Maya Feller, a registered dietitian and author of the upcoming book “Eating From Our Roots.” A staple of traditional Haitian cuisine, this dish typically features squash, meat, and a variety of veggies.
“Not only is it emblematic of my culture and heritage, but it’s also high in phytonutrients and fibre,” adds Feller, whose approach to nutrition is to make food more inclusive and reflective of the diverse world we live in.
For the soup:
- One pound of boneless beef chuck, diced into one-inch chunks
- Seasoning for Epis, half a cup
- Lime Juice, Three-Quart
- To about a third of a cup of olive oil
- The equivalent of one small onion, chopped
- Three minced garlic cloves
- 3-rib celery, chopped
- 2. diced scallions
- The equivalent of 1 bunch of chopped parsley
- 1 chopped shallot
- Chopped 2 tomatoes
- Eight cups of chicken broth, preferably low in sodium
- Cube a winter squash (one) into 3-inch pieces after peeling.
- 5 medium potatoes, chopped roughly
- Roughly cut 5 carrots
- a single habanero
For the dumplings:
- One and a half cups of Einkorn flour
- Just a pinch of baking powder
- One Tablespoon of Pure, Unrefined Olive Oil
- Speck of brittle salt
- Fresh black pepper, 1/8 teaspoon
- Ripe avocado, used as a condiment
- Overnight, beef should be marinated in a mixture of seasonings and lime juice.
- In a large saucepan, mix together the chopped onions, garlic, celery, scallion, parsley, and shallots. Five to seven minutes in olive oil over medium heat should be sufficient to soften most vegetables.
- Throw in the meat that has been marinating, along with the tomatoes, broth, squash, potatoes, carrots, habanero, and beef. Cook, covered, for 60–90 minutes in a medium oven.
- In the meantime, in a medium bowl, add the dumpling ingredients and mix well. Water can be added as needed, two teaspoons at a time.
- Roll a golf-ball-sized piece of dough out into a long, thin log.
- The dough balls should be dropped into the broth one by one. Add another 15–20 minutes of cooking time.
- Put a big helping into a bowl and sprinkle some avocado on top to serve.
2. Vietnamese slow-cooked pho
Tessa Nguyen, a nutritionist and chef, draws inspiration for her meals from flavours and spices that “have been fixtures around the table in many cultures and for many centuries,” such as star anise, cloves, Sichuan pepper, and ginger.
To boost her immune system, she makes a pot of pho and lets it simmer for many hours. It has all the good stuff that the body needs, especially in the winter, but it’s good for you year-round.
Nguyen’s meal is loaded with fresh herbs, vegetables, and animal protein, all of which are good for your immune system.
For the broth:
- 2.14 kg of meat
- One and a half teaspoons of five spice
- Approximately 1 Tablespoon of Fish Sauce (substitute with soy sauce if you have a fish allergy)
- Salt, 1/2 teaspoon
- 1 small bunch of green onions, chopped
- As much water as will fill your slow cooker once the aforementioned ingredients have been added.
For the noodles and toppings:
- Noodles, 1 Cup Rice
- Steak strips cooked in pho soup
- Bean sprouts, sliced jalapeos, sriracha, hoisin sauce, lime wedges, cilantro, Thai basil leaves, green onions, white onions, and chopped cilantro and green onions.
- Put everything for the broth into a slow cooker and turn on the heat to low. Nguyen suggests cooking for a full 24 hours, but claims it’s delicious even after only 8.
- Put some rice noodles in a bowl and top it off with the broth.
- Just pile on the condiments.
3. Fragrant cauliflower, turmeric and ginger soup
Nutritionist and author of The Food Medic Hazel Wallace advocates eating anti-inflammatory foods such as chickpeas, lentils, nuts, seeds, olive oil, seafood, and herbs and spices to maintain a healthy balance of nutrients in the diet.
There is turmeric and ginger in her cauliflower soup recipe, both of which are known for their ability to reduce inflammation. She adds that it is “very comforting and nutritious” for the fall or if you are feeling under the weather.
- Ingredients: 2 Tablespoons of Virgin Olive Oil
- florets from 1 big (or 2 small) heads of cauliflower
- one white onion, chopped
- one teaspoon of grated or chopped fresh ginger
- Approximately 2 tablespoons of ground turmeric
- Put in 3 cloves of garlic.
- Nine hundred millilitres of vegetable stock
- two tablespoons of soy sauce
- Salt, 1/2 teaspoon
- A single, thick slice of yesterday’s bread
- Coconut cream (or yoghurt) – 3 tablespoons for garnish
- Garnish with chilli flakes
- Authentically garnished with a handful of fresh coriander
- Set oven temperature to 356 degrees F. Place the florets of cauliflower in an even layer on a sheet tray. Roast in the oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, basting occasionally with the oil.
- Meanwhile, heat a half tablespoon of olive oil in a big skillet before adding the white onions. To achieve translucency, cook for a full five minutes.
- Put the onions in a blender with the turmeric, ginger, garlic, vegetable stock, soy sauce, and salt. Blend in the roasted cauliflower until it’s completely smooth.
- For about 10 minutes, cook the soup over low heat, stirring occasionally.
- While that’s happening, rip the bread into huge pieces.
- In a large bowl, mix together the remaining 1/2 tbsp of olive oil and the tablespoon of soy sauce. Throw in some bread crumbs. Put them on a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for eight minutes.
- Top the soup with the chunky croutons, fresh coriander, and chilli flakes, and serve with a drizzle of coconut cream.
4. A bright and vibrant defense smoothie
Bee pollen, which is packed with B vitamins, amino acids, and antioxidants, is a key ingredient in Simone Wilson’s recipe for a defence smoothie.
Even in the cooler months, a break from hot dishes is welcome.
Simone Wilson, a nutritionist, swears by a healthy smoothie made with banana, mango, hemp seeds, bee pollen, kale, orange juice, yoghurt, and kale.
She explains that the vitamin C and vitamin A in this easy dish assist the body fight off free radicals and strengthen the immune system.
- Any ripe fruit, whether fresh or frozen, in the proportion of half a banana
- Mango chunks, 1/2 cup (fresh or frozen)
- 1 glass of orange juice.
- One-half cup of plain Greek (or cashew yogurt)
- Hemp seeds, 3 tablespoons
- Measurement: 1 tsp. bee pollen
- Instances: 1 bunch of spinach (or kale)
- Ice: four cubes (leave this out if you are using all frozen fruit)
- Put everything in a blender and whir it up on high until it’s completely smooth. If the consistency is too thick, add more liquid, and if it’s too thin, add more ice.
- The food should be served right away.
READ ALSO: Best Non Toxic Plates For Toddlers