There are some bad bugs going around right now, folks. A few weeks ago, Washington state health officials declared that we’ve reached “epidemic” flu levels, and in King County the number of ER flu cases is the highest it’s been in five years.
Ugh, not good. Let’s all make a promise to each other to cover our coughs and wash our hands please. 😉
Besides getting adequate sleep and reducing stress to help keep our immune systems up, focusing on nutrition is key to preventing illness and/or helping our bodies to fight it.
So, today I’m rounding up my top 20 recipes to ward off illness and boost immunity! All of these recipes focus on eating fresh food (of course), with a particular focus on ingredients that provide crucial vitamins and phytonutrients (such as vitamin C, beta carotene and zinc).
Ah, a good homemade chicken soup. When you’re feeling under the weather, is there anything better than chicken soup?
If you’re new to making soup at home, start with this tutorial on how to make chicken soup from scratch. For an extra nutritional boost, try adding some greens like this Chicken and Kale Soup. Want to spice things up? This Jalapeno Chicken Soup is one of my favorites and it’s also a great way to help open any blocked sinuses.
Craving classic chicken noodle soup? This rosemary and butternut squash chicken noodle soup is a grain-free and paleo twist that replaces white pasta with spiralized butternut squash “noodles”.
And finally, we can’t talk about chicken soups without sharing one of my favorite recipes for a (healthier!) remake of Vietnamese pho. This Easy Paleo Pho swaps out rice noodles for zucchini noodles in a flavorful broth.
Vegetarian and Vegan Soups
Soups are one of my favorite recipes to ward off illness and any quality soup starts with a good stock. This tutorial will show you how to make perfect vegetable stock for cheap using kitchen scraps!
Once you’ve made your stock, then your options are endless! Some of my favorite plant-based soups include this black-eyed pea and collard greens soup (definitely good for boosting immunity!) and this spicy roasted carrot and jalapeno soup (think: spicy carrots pureed into a creamy soup!)
I also love this Vietnamese tofu pho (you can swap out the rice noodles for zucchini noodles if desired) and this hearty Thai Tom Kha soup loaded with ingredients like coconut milk, chilis, ginger, lime, and veggies to help you ward off any cold.
Now it’s time to talk about beverages since hydration is key – especially when you’re sick.
When I’m trying to ward off illness and boost immunity, I have some trusted favorites, including this Cucumber, Fennel, and Ginger juice (you can’t go wrong with a classic green juice!), this Ginger, Carrot, Turmeric, and Grapefruit juice (full of vitamin C!), this Digestive Aid Juice (perfect for an upset stomach!), and this Carrot, Ginger and Lime Juice. All of these juices are delicious and great for those new to juicing, in addition to boosting immunity.
However, when it’s time to get serious, then we need to pull out the fire cider… (ominous music begins)
Have you heard of fire cider before? Fire cider is a traditional folk remedy made by infusing vinegar with powerful ingredients like garlic, onions, ginger, pepper, and horseradish. This stuff seriously saved me all last winter and helped me ward off a stomach bug earlier this week. (note: just make sure to dilute it properly)
For those intimidated by the fire cider, or perhaps needing a quicker remedy that doesn’t have to sit and ferment for a whole month (I totally get it), we turn to the Flu Buster Juice. I won’t lie: this juice is intense. This juice is a powerful punch of lemon juice, garlic, ginger, and cayenne pepper to top it off. It’s powerful enough that just two ounces will do the trick!
When you’re sick or simply trying to prevent getting sick, we definitely need to add turmeric to our diets. One of the best ways to fight inflammation in our bodies (therefore, boosting immunity) is have turmeric daily. I occasionally use a turmeric supplement, but typically I try to find ways to add more turmeric to my diet. This anti-inflammatory turmeric tonic is an easy way to consume more turmeric by juicing fresh turmeric root.
Or, if you’re looking for a hot option, this detox tonic is downright delicious and combines dried turmeric with honey, lemon, ginger, and cayenne pepper to help your body get back on track!
My other favorite hot beverage for soothing a sore throat is this simple lemon ginger tonic, (Note: if you’re in a pinch and don’t have fresh lemon and ginger handy, you can also try hot herbal tea with honey as honey is the key ingredient in this recipe.)
And, if all else fails, then perhaps it’s time for this lemon and honey tonic with bourbon… 😉
What are your favorite recipes to ward off illness and boost immunity? Leave a comment below!
Wishing you health and wellness!