Seasons are changing and the weather is cooling, which means autumn has arrived! With winter just around the corner, cold and flu season creeps upon us. This part of the season is quite stressful and exhausting especially with the pandemic still going on. But the good news? You can support and boost your immune system with these plant- based foods to keep you going during the season.
- Fruits: Vitamin C is good for our immune systems and the antioxidants inside fruit help support us! Instead of reaching for that OJ, aim for fresh, whole fruits. Fall fruits include: Apples, pomegranate, oranges, persimmons, and kiwis.
- Vegetables: Other vegetables contain essential vitamins and minerals we need for our daily consumption which will also help combat flu season. Kale contains high levels of vitamin C for immune support, so get those greens in! In addition, beets have amazing health benefits, in particular for healthy gut support. Because of the rich fiber in beets, not only do they promote gut health, but it feeds good bacteria in the stomach to support our immune systems. Other fall vegetables: broccoli, carrots, pumpkin, cabbage, potatoes.
- Oatmeal: A swimmer staple, which is packed with fiber and zinc which are essential for a healthy gut and immune system. Zinc increases the number of T-Cells in our body to help combat sickness.
- Mushrooms: Mushrooms are the star of the show because of their high Vitamin D content which activates the immune system. Mushrooms also contain beta-glucans which have been shown to activate killer cell functions to fight off sickness.
- Spices: Turmeric, ginger, and garlic: Curcumin, the compound in turmeric that makes your curry yellow, has been found to activate T cells and other pathogen-fighting cells in the body, which helps you fend off illness easier. Garlic is known to be one of the most popular ingredients in home remedies. Garlic contains compounds called allicin, which is shown to boost immunity and reduce inflammation.
Roasted Butternut squash soup to warm you up
- 1 large butternut squash
- 2 cups veg stock
- 3-4 cloves of garlic
- 2-3 shallots
- Olive oil
- Turmeric powder
- Salt & pepper
- Non dairy creamer or coconut milk
- Toppings: parsley, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds
- Peel and dice the butternut squash into small pieces
- Put squash onto a baking tray and lightly coat with olive oil, salt, and pepper
- Roast the squash for 40-45 min at 450 Fahrenheit, or until soft to the touch
- Meanwhile, sautee garlic and shallots in a pan with oil, stirring often until fragrant.
- To a blender add your roasted squash, sauteed garlic and shallots, veg broth, turmeric, and salt&pepper (optional).
- Blend until smooth and serve hot. Adjust flavours with salt and pepper if needed. If the soup has chilled, put it back into a pot and heat it up.
- Add non-dairy creamer or coconut milk and top with parsley for colour and seeds for extra texture.
While eating a diet full of variety and nutrient-packed foods, it is also important to take into account these other ways to a healthy immune system for flu season:
- Getting enough sleep
- Minimizing stress
- Practicing correct hand-washing and oral hygiene
Happy eating and fast swimming!
Follow @goodfood.happymood for more inspiration for your next plant-based meal.