It's inevitable that as the weather gets cooler, flus and colds become more prevalent. And while they can feel hard to avoid, there are things we can do to help keep seasonal illnesses at bay, or at least to recover from them more quickly. Getting plenty of sleep, managing stress and focussing on a healthy, nutrient-rich diet are all great strategies that can really help.
In summer it's simple to incorporate lots of fresh produce into our diets, with easy, colourful salads often leading the way. In winter however, cold salads don't usually appeal. We lean towards warm and comforting foods like soup, which fortunately, when made with plenty of nutrient-rich vegetables, is an incredible vehicle for improving our chances against winter illness. This Immunity Boosting Chicken and Vegetable Soup is full of flavour, so you'll truly enjoy eating it, and, it also contains several powerhouse ingredients that deserve serious props for their immunity boosting benefits:
- leafy greens kale and bok choy (both very nutrient-rich vegetables)
- shitake mushrooms (traditionally used to boost the immune system, and are a source of vitamin D)
- sweet potato (an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium)
- turmeric (an anti-inflammatory super-power)
- garlic (may work as an antimicrobial, helping to fights off bacteria that can make you sick) and,
- ginger (known to stimulate the immune system to protect against colds and flu, and also supports digestion.)
Find the recipe below, and, if you are looking for more ways to boost your immune system this cold and flu season, check out our post here. Best of luck fighting off those colds and flus. Eat soup! Makes: 6-8 bowls of soup
IMMUNITY BOOSTING CHICKEN AND VEGETABLE SOUP RECIPE
PREP TIME: 20 min / COOK TIME: 35 min / TOTAL TIME: 55 min
- 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
- 4 boneless skinless organic chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 lb shitake mushrooms, diced (about 20-24 mushrooms)
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 6 large cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 sticks of celery, diced
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 ½ teaspoon sea salt (or more to taste)
- 1 teaspoon, fresh grated turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 small sweet potato, diced
- 4 heads baby bok choy, trimmed and chopped
- 1/2 large head of kale, stems removed, and chopped
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon or lime juice
- Pour 1 tablespoon of the oil into a large pot over medium heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the chicken.
- Sauté the chicken, stirring occasionally, until it is browned and just cooked through. Transfer to a dish and set aside.
- Keeping the pan over medium heat, pour in ¼ cup of water. This will bubble away, loosening the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Use your spoon to scrape up any brown drippings that are still clinging on and mix them in with the water.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil, and then the mushrooms. Cook for approximately 5 minutes, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom of the pan again. This step will add a great deal of flavour so don’t skip it. If the bottom of the pan is browning too much, add a bit of water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Add the onion, garlic, celery, ginger, turmeric and salt and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently. Don’t let it burn or it will ruin the flavour.
- Increase the heat to high, and pour in 7 ¾ cups water, and bring to a boil.
- Add the sweet potato, and then the chicken back to the pot, and turn down the heat to a medium boil and let it bubble away for 20 minutes so, uncovered.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the bok choy, kale, parsley and lemon juice. If using, add the toasted sesame oil. Taste and add a bit more salt if needed.
- Enjoy straight away and freeze any leftovers in an airtight container for up to three months.