Eating to boost immunity.

I have run into a number of people with colds recently, I am feeling a little under myself, and I made my first batch of bone broth this weekend. Thus, I thought it would be a good time to share a few thoughts about choices to stay healthy during cold season.

Eat vegetables. Lots of them. In fact, eat mostly vegetables with each meal. In a variety of forms and colors. This is general, everyday eating advice, however it is particularly important when you want your immune system to be super-strong. I know that at least for me personally, I often gravitate towards some non-veggie-comfort-foods when I am not feeling well that can result in getting fewer vegetables than normal rather than more.

To get more specific about particular foods that will help strengthen your immune system, focus on some of these:

Vitamin C – red pepper, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, jicama, onion, potatoes, kiwi, citrus fruits, strawberries, cranberries, blueberries, pineapple

Vitamin E – avocado, spinach, peanuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, wheat germ

Other immunity boosting foods: apple cider vinegar, other nuts, carrots, cayenne, celery, cilantro, coconut (including oil), diakon radish, garlic, ginger, goji berries, mint leaves, some mushrooms, sauerkraut, bone broth

A few ideas incorporating some of these immune boosting ingredients: 

  • Nearly all of the items listed above can be enjoyed on their own and/or with a little prep. Or simply added to other items.
  • Stir fry. Choose some vegetables on the list above, and in particular include lots of garlic and ginger. Add any other vegetables you enjoy and may have on hand. Cook in coconut oil, or another high-heat oil at a medium-high heat. Add vegetables to the pan as you are chopping, starting with those that will take longest to cook. (Not sure what those are? Don’t worry, it really doesn’t matter too much. Experiment and you will learn. As a general rule of thumb, start with the vegetables that are firmer, such as carrots. Add greens such as spinach at the the very end). Add spices you enjoy, but avoid sugary sauces. You can serve with brown rice if you wish, or just plan. You can also add meat, tofu, and legumes for protein to make a full meal. Add some eggs the next morning for a good, healthy breakfast.
  • Curry. Start with a stir fry (see above). Add curry powder or a curry paste along with some coconut milk. Add meat or tofu if you wish. Serve plain or over brown rice. Sprinkle coconut and peanuts on top.
  • Smoothie with 4 strawberries, 1 kiwi, 1 slice pineapple, 1 Tbsp. almond butter, two to three handfuls spinach, 1 cup almond or coconut milk (or more as needed), ice if desired.
  • Soup. There are endless varieties of soups to choose from. You may have heard the buzz about bone broth and that’s what I will cover here, though I sip bone broth alone rather than using it as a broth for a soup. I enjoy it first thing in the morning if I am not feeling well. Bone broth is popular on the market these days which can be handy, but is often very expensive, and it is quite easy to make your own. Here is the recipe I just made: fill a crock pot with chicken bones. I had two chickens worth. I recommend organic chickens and vegetables to make the broth. Add 1-2 yellow onions, quartered and not peeled, 3 carrots cut in thirds (with skin on), 5 sticks of celery cut in thirds – you can leave the leaves on if it has leaves, 1-2 bay leaves, 7 pepper corns. Fill with water, covering all of the bones and vegetables. I simmered on the low setting for 25 hours. Drain the liquid through a think colander, reserving all liquid and discarding all bones and vegetables. Let cool in the refrigerator so that you can remove the fat from the top. Enjoy. Possibly freeze some for later. You can use a bigger pot if you wish and simmer on the stove so that you can make a bigger batch. You can add different nutritious vegetables such as beets or sweet potatoes, and garlic with the skin left on.

Cheers to a healthy cold season!!

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