Most of us have heard that old saying, “a stitch in time saves nine.” I believe the same applies to wellness. The more tools we have in our daily arsenal of immune system defense, the less likely we’ll be taken down by the ubiquitous colds and flus of the season (and if we do get sick, we can recover faster). Here are 5 ways to boost your recipes with preventative immune support:
That Bit Spice is Nice | Hot peppers, such as cayenne or jalapeno, contain a healing substance called capsaicin, the same substance that makes them spicy. In addition to warming the body, capsaicin is very effective in promoting blood circulation – basically helping to keep your inner traffic clear so your delivery cells can effectively distribute nutrients and clear waste. Capsaicin also helps to break up mucus, encouraging a shorter duration of sickness if you do get under the weather. Though some spices contain small amounts of capsaicin, like oregano and cinnamon, hot peppers will be your most effective food tools.
Stir in the Spirulina | I consider eating spirulina to be the superfood version of “an apple a day…” – except much, much more powerful! Spirulina is an impressive immune system booster for many reasons: first, due to copious amounts of essential micronutrients (especially immune-imperative beta carotene!), which help promote a holistically healthy body that’s routinely firing on all cylinders. But there’s more to spirulina than just that. Spirulina is also an excellent source of polysaccrides, which help to improve the body’s resistance to infection, enhance immune response, and encourage recovery. Pure Hawaiian Spirulina has shown to have the highest level of these polysacchrides over all other varieties of spirulina, which is my personal brand of choice.
Bring on the Extra C | Vitamin C is one of those powerhouse nutrients that’s an incredible multi-tasker when it comes to benefits (joint health, beauty booster, cardiovascular protection, to name a few). But perhaps its vitamin C’s role in offering immune support that is its biggest claim to fame. An anti-inflammatory vitamin with antioxidant properties, vitamin C helps to fight viruses and soothe inflamed tissue. Getting vitamin C from food is drastically more absorbable than from an isolated supplement, so bring on the citrus, berries (especially camu berry!) and vegetables like bell peppers and parsley.
Utilize Fermented Foods | It may not sound sexy, but the “friendly” bacteria that fermented foods offer is of great benefit to anyone looking to bolster their immune system. This form of bacteria promotes balance within the body pH and gut microflora, which in turn allows for optimum levels of disease-fighting activity to occur within your genes! Many experts compare the effects of fermented foods to that of some conventional medicines, thanks to their ability to turn the body’s fighting power “on.” Great fermented foods include cultured vegetables such as sauerkraut; fermented grains or cream products (I’m mildly obsessed with coconut yogurt made from coconut milk); as well as probiotics.
Go for Garlic | Garlic is a well-studied natural antibiotic and immunity enhancer. It’s most effective raw, so look for ways to incorporate it into dips and raw blends whenever possible. If you can’t stomach the potency of raw garlic, you can also take capsules. My body doesn’t digest garlic well, so this is one ingredient I sadly leave out of my personal regimen, but I know there’s a vast amount of people that do wonderfully with it!
Ready to get your immune system happy? Here’s a excitingly fast raw soup you can make to incorporate ALL of these fantastic immune system boosting foods! During the more sickness-exposed times of the year, I have a cup of this soup pretty much daily.
Creamy Cleansing Soup
You can make this raw soup in the blender in just a few minutes! Every ingredient within has a medicinal, health-boosting purpose. It has a delicately creamy texture and intriguing medley of spices, which take you on a flavor ride from earthy to fresh to a gentle zing of spicy. Consume 1½ cups a day (or more) for best results.
Makes about 6½ cups (4 servings)
2/3 cup mashed avocado (about 1 large or 2 small)
1¼ cups chopped Persian cucumber
¼ cup unsweetened coconut yogurt (or unsweetened yogurt variety of choice)
½ cup (packed) fresh parsley leaves, chopped
¼ cup (packed) fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1 small clove garlic, chopped (optional)
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon Hawaiian Spirulina Powder
¾ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt, or sea salt
3 cups water
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
Blend all the ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Adjust spices if desired, and serve chilled. Refrigerated and covered, soup will last 3-4 days (stir before serving).
Thank you Nutrex Hawaii for sponsoring this post, and providing such top-notch spirulina for the world to enjoy! Use code SFJULIE at Nutrex-Hawaii.com to receive 20% off up to $75, 30% off up to $149.99 and 40% off above $150.