It’s germ season! Ah, that time we have all grown to love. Did you know that the average adult gets one to three respiratory illnesses each year, and women, especially if they’re moms, tend to catch even more! Yikes! So how can you avoid getting sick? You already know you need to eat right, exercise and get enough sleep. But what does it mean to eat right for a healthy for the immune system?
Here’s some food for thought:
- Eat good sources of fiber. Fiber helps eliminate toxins from the body. Fruit and vegetables are great sources of fiber. These include: leafy green vegetables, legumes and beans and whole grains.
- Eat foods rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps stimulate the immune system. Foods rich in vitamin C include: citrus fruit, broccoli, red and green peppers, Brussels sprouts, dark leafy green vegetables.
- Eat fermented foods. These have a lot of beneficial probiotics to support your immune system. 80% of your immune system is in your gut! Good sources of fermented foods are sauerkraut, kimchi, and yogurt. Aim for 3x a week.
- Eat lots of garlic and onions, both of which have antimicrobial and antibacterial elements which help fight off infection.
- Limit the dairy products, such as milk and cheese. Dairy products tend to create a lot mucus and worsen inflammatory conditions so it is best to minimize these, especially when one has a cold.
If you happen to come down with a cold, have a plan and a good soup. One that has been around for ages is the chicken soup.
The saying about chicken soup healing colds and souls is true. Chicken soup heals the nerves, improves digestion, reduces allergies, relaxes and gives strength.” (Ageless Remedies from Mother’s Kitchen, Kroeger)
Research has shown that the ingredients in chicken soup stop the movement of white blood cells called neutrophils that get released when you have an infection or a cold. Neutrophils stimulate the release of mucous, so slowing down the movement of neutrophils will reduce many cold symptoms. Taking the time to sit and enjoy a warm bowl of chicken soup made with care is healing for the soul too. During this time of colds and holiday stress, make sure to enjoy a bowl of chicken soup every now and again.
“And Tom brought him chicken soup until he wanted to kill him. The lore has not died out of the world, and you will still find people who believe that soup will cure any hurt or illness and is not a bad thing to have for the funeral either.” — JOHN STEINBECK, EAST OF EDEN
Recipe for Chicken Soup
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 free-range whole organic chicken
Lots of veggies chopped: parsnips, potatoes, turnips or other root vegetables, Brussels sprouts (go with what you like)
1 bunch of parsley, chopped
1 tsp thyme
- Sauté onions in olive oil or butter until golden. Add carrots and celery and sauté until they have some color.
- Add other vegetables, if using.
- Add whole chicken, parsley and thyme sprigs, and cover the chicken with water.
- Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until chicken is fully cooked. Take chicken out, remove bones and return meat to pot. Season with salt and pepper.
- If desired, add noodles or rice to the bowls, pour soup on top.
- Freeze any left-overs, in other words- don’t eat the chicken soup for a week straight.