With colder months and holidays approaching, immunity is getting a great deal of attention again. Whether you’re stocking your pantry with healthy foods or buying extra supplements, chances are you’re looking for ways to boost your immunity during the upcoming cold and flu season.
According to Toby Amidor, registered dietitian and nutrition expert, “a healthy immune system is essential for good health because it helps keep any foreign invaders at bay; if your immunity is strong, it’s easier to fight viruses, bacteria or anything else trying to make you sick”.
And even though finding ways to boost your immunity may seem overwhelming at first, it all starts with what you eat.
That’s why we’ve made a list of 5 delicious, healthy recipes that can help boost your immunity this season. Get ready to be inspired!
1. Potato and Kale Soup
Cook Time: 45 min
This wintry soup is just begging for a nice fireplace to sit by with your nourishing bowl of chicken breast, veggies, and more. Also, kale is more than a leafy vegetable; it’s actually one of the greatest foods to eat to boost your immunity, so enjoy it in a warm potato and kale soup.
- 12 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 4 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 4 cups chopped kale
- 6-8 potatoes, peeled and diced
- 7 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ cup chopped onion
- 2 tsp. Italian seasoning (optional)
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. ground pepper
- Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces, and season with the Italian seasoning. In a small skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium heat. Cook the chicken until slightly golden.
- In a medium-large skillet, heat the remaining olive oil. Add carrots, onion, and garlic.
- Sauté kale into the mixture.
- Add water to a medium-sized pot and cook potatoes until soft. Meanwhile, add the chicken broth to the kale mixture.
- Once potatoes and chicken are finished cooking, add them to the chicken broth and kale mixture.
- Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes, stirring periodically. Add salt and pepper as needed. Enjoy!
2. Hearty Lentil & Tomato Soup
Cook Time: 1 h 10 min
There is nothing better than having a bowl of soup on a cold day, and this one is packed with ingredients that are known to boost your immunity: tomatoes, turmeric, ground ginger, and garlic.
- 1 cup dried red lentils
- 1 cup water
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 3 cups tomato purée
- ⅛ tsp hot pepper flakes
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ½ ground turmeric
- 2 medium carrots, shredded
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 stalks of celery, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp salt % ½ tsp black pepper
- Set a large pot over medium heat; add the olive oil. When it is shimmering, add the chopped onion and cook for about 3 minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic and continue cooking for another 30 seconds. Add the carrots and celery and continue cooking for about 3 minutes or until softened.
- Add the hot pepper flakes, cumin, ginger, and turmeric to the pot, and stir for 1 minute.
- Add the chicken or vegetable broth, tomato purée, lentils, and water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, for about 40 minutes, or until flavors combine and lentils are soft. Make sure to stir occasionally. Stir in the black pepper and salt.
- Ladle the soup into soup bowls. Serve warm. Enjoy!
3. Immune-Boosting Wellness Smoothie
Cook Time: 5 min
This smoothie is packed with foods that are known to boost immunity: fresh ginger, spinach, turmeric root, pineapple, raw or manuka honey, banana, and black pepper. Not only will it boost your immunity, but it will also promote digestion while boasting anti-inflammatory properties. But that’s not all: it tastes delicious!
- 1 cup frozen pineapple
- 2 cups organic spinach
- 1 frozen ripe banana
- 2-inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled
- 2-inch turmeric root, peeled
- ⅛ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- ½ Tbsp. raw or manuka honey
- ½ coconut milk or almond milk
- Add all the ingredients to a large high-powered blender and blend on high for about 2 minutes or until all ingredients are completely combined. Add in more coconut milk or almond milk to thin the smoothie, if necessary. That’s all you need to do for a homemade immunity shot!
4. Salmon en Papillote
Cook Time: 25 min
Enhance your immunity with the help of fish. Not only does this salmon dish provide benefits for your immune system, but it also boasts high amounts of protein. Oh, and let’s not forget about the omega-3s. These healthy fatty acids found in fish like sardines, salmon, and halibut are known to boost immunity by fighting inflammation and defending your body against invading antigens.
- 1 zucchini, sliced into medium-sized rounds
- 14 grape tomatoes, quartered or halved
- ½ yellow onion or 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 salmon fillets, each about 1 ½ inch thick and 5 oz.
- ½ Tbsp. olive oil
- ½ Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375˚F.
- In a medium-sized bowl, toss grape tomatoes, zucchini, and shallot with vinegar, olive oil, and pepper.
- Prepare 2 half-sheets of parchment paper, 12×16 inches each. In the center of each sheet, place ½ of the vegetable mix and top with a salmon fillet. Season the fish with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with 1 tsp of olive oil.
- Bring together the parchment paper’s long ends to create a ½-inch fold. Repeat this step until you create a tight seal, then twist the packet’s ends to close completely. Lay the packets on a sheet pan.
- Bake the fish for about 20 minutes,
- Remove the packets from the oven, and cut off the top or unwrap. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
5. Stuffed Peppers With Cauliflower Rice
Cook Time: 1 h
According to nutritionists, one medium red bell pepper boasts twice the amount of vitamin C found in an orange. Here are some numbers: the pepper provides 150 mg of vitamin C, while an orange contains 63 mg.
Vitamin C is great at stimulating the cells that fight off viruses and bacteria, and may also help increase levels of antibodies. In other words, this vitamin boosts immunity and defends your body against infections.
- 2 bell peppers
- 6 ounces lean ground turkey
- 3⁄4 cup Better Than Rice, drained (or any other substitutes such as cauliflower rice or shirataki rice)
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1⁄4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded (for topping)
- 1⁄4 salt
- 1⁄4 black pepper
- nonstick cooking spray
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
- Use a knife to remove the top of each pepper. Cut membranes and remove seeds; rinse peppers. Pour water into a large pot and heat to boiling; add peppers making sure the liquid covers them. Cook for about 2 minutes, then drain. Put the peppers in an oven-safe casserole dish.
- Take Better Than Rice out of its package and use a colander to rinse it with cold water. In a medium nonstick skillet, dry-fry the rice over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Make sure to mix constantly. Remove the rice from the heat.
- Place the rice into a medium bowl and set aside. Spray the same skillet used before with nonstick cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add the turkey and cook until done. Keep mixing until you break up the turkey. Add salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
- Combine rice, ½ cup mozzarella cheese, turkey, and tomato sauce in a medium bowl. Mix to combine all the ingredients. Spoon half of the mixture into each pepper.
- Cover peppers with foil and bake for about 10 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove them from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Return peppers to the oven and allow the cheese to melt. Enjoy!
Here’s another article that may also help you boost your immunity: 10 Superfoods Every Senior Should Eat to Stay Healthy.