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Healthy Recipes to Boost Immune System

I noticed something as I walked through the grocery store yesterday, wearing a mask and gloves like some post-apocalyptic character in a cheap novel. And it’s been bugging me every time I’ve taken my life in my hands over the past couple weeks to restock my pantry. I walk the aisles and I see the chips and processed snacks picked over, and most of the ice cream gone. Meanwhile, I walk through the produce section and I see piles of oranges untouched, packages of spinach for the taking, and beautiful organic apples on sale and uneaten. This is insane and speaks to the larger problem of this country neglecting nutrition, to our extreme detriment. At the height of a global pandemic seems to be the moment you might want to have a strong immune system, and eating cookies, ice cream, and processed chips are not ideal for your immune system.

I want to be very clear, I’m not some woo-peddler saying I have a magic cure for COVID-19. There are very healthy people who are sadly passing away from this scourge. We actually don’t know why some people get the disease and are asymptomatic, while others require hospitalization. Unfortunately, I don’t have the magical elixir or panacea that will save us. But what I am suggesting is some good-old-fashioned common sense, and when the world starts going crazy it’s never a bad idea to fall back on that. Eating healthy will boost your immune system. It’s that simple. If god forbid you contract this disease, having the best immune system possible can’t hurt your chances. The worst case is it will motivate you to eat healthy for a few weeks. So I’d like to put forward four very simple recipes that are easy to make and filled with ingredients that are proven to boost your body’s defenses. Right now it’s hard to grab certain ingredients so I tried to make these recipes as simple as possible and provide easy substitutions.   


Israeli Salad 

  • Makes 6 portions
  • 2 Cucumbers
  • 2 Tomatoes 
  • 1 small Red Onion  
  • ½ Tspn. Salt
  • ½ Tspn. Pepper 
  • 1 Tblspn Olive Oil 
  • Juice of half a Lemon 
  • 1Tlbspn Balsamic vinegar. 

Israeli SaladDirections: 

With a sharp knife cut the cucumber and dice into very small pieces. Cut the tomatoes and red onion into similar sized pieces and place all the veggies in a bowl.  In a separate bowl mix together with a fork the Olive Oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. There it’s done. 

Why this recipe rocks: 

It’s about as simple as a salad can get, but it’s healthy, versatile, and delicious. Cucumber is rich in vitamins A, B, C, and K. Red onions are rich in both vitamins and minerals and have proven to help lower blood sugar. Lemons are one of those special citric fruits rich in vitamin C. If you don’t like onions, skip and replace them with cut up red pepper. If you like spice, throw in some crushed red pepper in the salad dressing; you can also add feta and olives to make it a greek salad. Or you can add an avocado for a creamier consistency and chop up fresh herbs. Add chicken steak or salmon for a boost with protein.

 

Baked Sweet Potatoes

Sweet PotatoeMakes 4 portions

  • 4 Sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes 
  • ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil 
  • ¼  cup of honey
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions: 

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into 1-inch cubes. Place in a baking sheet. Whisk together the honey, cinnamon, and olive oil and drizzle over the sweet potatoes. Cook in a preheated at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30. 

Why this recipe rocks: 

This is an actually healthy version of comfort food packed with antioxidants that is delicious. Sweet potatoes are also rich in vitamin A, C, B6 and Magnesium. The honey provides some sweetness and sweet potatoes work great as a snack or side. 

 

Yogurt with Berries and Oats 

  • 1 cup of non-fat Greek yogurt 
  • ½ cup of fresh or frozen berries 
  • ¼ cup oats 

Why this recipe rocks: 

Look I’m not a famous chef inventing never before imagined dishes, but sometimes there’s a reason things are classics. Yogurt is a great source of probiotics which helps with gut health and turbo charges your immune system. The berries will provide vitamin C and yogurt is also a great source of protein. If you have a sweet tooth drizzle some honey on top but try to avoid processed sugar, it can weaken your immune system.

Yogurt

 

Chicken Noodle Soup 

Makes 6-8 portions 

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Kosher salt freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 1/2 pounds bone-in, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 1/2 cups wide egg noodles
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Heat the butter over medium heat in a stockpot or dutch oven. Throw in the carrots and celery and until they’re tender, about 4-5 minutes and then add the garlic and let that cook down for 60 seconds. Add the chicken stock and bay leaves along with salt and pepper to taste and bring to a boil. Then add the chicken, bring to a boil and reduce the heat and simmer for 40 minutes. Take the chicken out and shred and discard the bone.  Add back in the chicken and pasta and cook for another 7-8 minutes until the pasta is tender. Add in the dill and parsley taste to see if it needs more salt and pepper. Serve immediately. 

Why this recipe rocks: 

If there is an elixir that cures modern disease it would have to be chicken soup. Your grandma was probably on to something. Make sure you always cook chicken soup with the bones, as the marrow is rich in zinc, magnesium, vitamins A & K, and iron.  This version is simple and quick and will keep your immune system in fighting shape. If you want some kick to clear your sinuses add some diced jalapeno at the end.
 

Article written by Peter Gietl with Treeline Content, LLC.  Please reach out to Treeline for any writing or video help.

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