Recipes to Boost the Immune System

Oatmeal cereal with milk and berries top view

Following on from the last post about immune boosting nutrients, here are some healthy recipes containing some of the foods and nutrients that were highlighted to boost the immune system.

Brazil Nut & Berry Breakfast

Brazil nuts are by far the best dietary source of selenium, containing about 2,500 times more selenium than other nuts and providing your recommended daily allowance in just a couple of nuts. Oats provide a special type of soluble fibre called beta-glucans, which helps protect us against bacterial and viral infections. The live yoghurt in this recipe provides probiotics and the berries are an excellent source of vitamin C.

Ingredients, 2 Servings

  • 6 Brazil nuts, chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp raisins or sultanas
  • 100g porridge oats
  • 250g live, organic yoghurt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 apple
  • Berries

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients apart from the apple and berries thoroughly in a bowl, refrigerate overnight
  2. The next morning, grate the apple and stir through the mixture
  3. Divide between two bowls and top with berries and another dusting of cinnamon if liked
  4. You could also substitute the berries for beta-carotene rich fruits like mango, apricots or papaya
Cooking ingredients. Mushrooms, quinoa, vegetables and spices. On a blue background, top view. Cooking vegetarian food

Super Mushroom ‘Quinotto’

Mushrooms contain selenium, beta-glucans and zinc, which all help support immune system function. Certain ‘medicinal’ mushrooms, such as the shiitake used here, are also renowned for having further immune boosting and health-giving powers. Rice is replaced with quinoa in this recipe, to increase the protein and nutrient content of the dish even further.

Ingredients, 4 Servings

  • 200g quinoa
  • 2 tsp vegetable bouillon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 150g Portobello or chestnut mushrooms
  • 150g shiitake mushrooms
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 100ml white wine
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parmesan to serve (optional)

Method

  1. Cook the quinoa, according to instructions with 2 tsp vegetable bouillon in the water to flavour it, set aside
  2. Heat the oil in a pan, add the garlic, onion, mushrooms and thyme and sauté for 5-7 minutes
  3. Add the white wine, if using and reduce by half, then add the cooked quinoa, cook for a further 5 minutes, season to taste
  4. You can stir some baby spinach leaves into the risotto at the end of cooking if liked.
  5. Serve with grated Parmesan
Indian Style Butternut Squash Curry

Broccoli & Butternut Curry  

Butternut squash is a top dietary source of immune system ‘hero’ beta-carotene. This nutrient has double immune-enhancing actions, both as beta-carotene itself and vitamin A, into which it is converted in the body. The squash, broccoli and tomatoes all contain vitamin C and broccoli contains sulforaphane, a compound that fights toxins and helps protect your gut from unfriendly bacteria.

Ingredients, 4 Servings

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 6cm piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 3 tomatoes, quartered
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 300ml vegetable stock
  • 1 bunch of coriander

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a pan, add the onion, garlic, ginger and spices and sauté gently for about 5 minutes
  2. Add the squash and toss in the onion and spice mixture for a few minutes
  3. Pour over the stock and coconut milk, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the squash is tender
  4. Add the broccoli and cook uncovered for a further 5-10 minutes, then add the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes more, until they are cooked but still firm
  5. Serve with brown basmati rice and sprinkled with the coriander

Garlic Sauerkraut 

Sauerkraut is a top source of natural probiotics to support healthy digestive and immune systems. The beneficial bacteria in sauerkraut help keep the lining the digestive tract strong and healthy, which in turn reduces the chances of harmful substances entering the body. The good bacteria also support various other aspects of immune function including antibody function. Adding garlic here, which has antiviral, antibacterial and antiseptic properties, gives even more immune boosting benefits.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium head of green cabbage
  • 2 tbsp course sea salt
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp caraway seeds (optional)
  • 2 litre Mason or canning jar or 2 x 1 litres

Method

  1. Firstly ensure that your hands and all your equipment are thoroughly clean – this is to limit the numbers of bacteria present, which will give the ‘good bacteria’ more chance of thriving.
  2. Shred the cabbage very thinly, using the slicing function of a food processor or with a sharp knife
  3. In a large, clean bowl massage the salt into the cabbage using your hands for 5-10 minutes until the cabbage becomes watery and limp and has released a good quantity of liquid (enough to completely cover the cabbage).
  4. Add the garlic cloves to the mixture
  5. Now transfer the mixture and liquid into the jar(s), packing it down as much as you possibly can. Ensure the cabbage is completely submerged in liquid and then cover with an airtight lid
  6. Leave to ferment for at least 5 days, or anything up to 2-6 weeks for the maximum flavour

Keep at room temperature, away from direct sunlight and open

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