Your Homemade Immunity Boosting Tool
We find ourselves in panicky times, and can do very little to change the situation. If you find yourself worrying about you and your loved ones staying healthy, one really positive thing you can do is cook with health-supporting foods. Take some deep breaths, center yourself, and head to the kitchen to take full advantage of Nature’s medicine cabinet. This soup is made from some of the superstars of the immunity boosting pantry, so you can feel good about adding each ingredient, and breathe a little easier as you slurp the delicious results.
Improve Your Immune System with Food
To start, we’re going to make a vegetable stock, making the most of the trimmings that result from chopping the veg to go in the soup. That saves money, makes the most of precious food, and coaxes out some minerals and vitamins from stuff you would otherwise get rid of. The stock will also be infused with dried shiitakes, which are immunity-boosters. They are rich in B-vitamins and also polysaccharides, which help your system fight cancer, boost gut immunity, and reduce inflammation. If you have the option to use dried maitakes or other exotic dried mushrooms, all impart unique flavors and are great for nourishing your immune system.
More Garlic= Immunity Boosting
The stock is also infused with a handful of garlic cloves, sliced in half or quarters lengthwise, to let all the garlicky goodness out. Garlic is an ancient remedy, used to prevent infection and ward off illness. Much of its potency comes from the many sulfur compounds in the fragrant cloves, which are most potent raw. You’ll be adding a bunch of crushed raw garlic to this soup at the end, as well as the cloves that infuse the stock.
Fresh Ginger is also simmered in the stock, where it delivers not just flavor, but antibacterial qualities. It’s so good for you, you might want to just grate some extra into the soup, too.
Onions are also Immune boosters, thanks to all the sulfur compounds, as well as selenium, Vitamin C, and a potent antioxidant called quercetin. Selenium triggers an immune response, and quercetin fights viruses, so eat plenty of onions.
Pack in Immunity Boosting Vegetables
Sweet Potatoes or Squash go into the soup, whatever you have on hand. Both are immunity boosters, with immunity-strengthening Vitamin A. Carrots also add valuable vitamins and minerals. Tofu adds vital protein and also Zinc, which is crucial to a healthy immune system.
Once the soup is cooked, you’ll stir in a generous jolt of tangy lime or lemon juice, for Vitamin C, and a few spoonfuls of Miso. Miso is an immune-boosting superfood, and the live bacteria in miso help keep your gut healthy. Turmeric and black pepper combine yet again to reduce inflammation and protect you at a cellular level. Fresh spinach always makes the lists of immunity boosting foods, and it adds a nice, fresh taste at the end of cooking.
A final touch is a healthy scoop of chilis adds even more immune-boosting heat. The heat is from a compound called capsaicin, which is a potent antioxidant, and kills some bacteria and microbes in lab tests. Nori is a sea vegetable, also known for its benefits to the immune system
In these scary times, you can find some support right here at home. Feed yourself well, manage your stress, get some exercise, and you are doing everything right.
Immunity Boosting Soup with Tofu
- 8 cups water
- 2 inches sliced fresh ginger
- 6 cloves garlic sliced, plus more for serving soup
- 5 large dried shiitake mushrooms or maitake
- 1 large onion coarsely sliced, with skin
- trims from carrot and squash or sweet potato
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large carrot chopped
- 2 cups chopped sweet potato or squash
- 12 ounces extra firm tofu drained
- 1/4 cup fresh lime or lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons raw honey you can skip it if you don't eat honey
- 2 tablespoons white miso
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 large serrano or jalapeno, or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 4 cups fresh spinach chopped
- 4 scallions chopped
- crushed garlic
- nori, cut in strips
- Make the stock: Pour the water into a 4 quart pot and add the ginger, garlic, mushrooms, onion, trimmings and salt. Over high heat, bring to a boil,then reduce to a gentle simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 45 minutes to an hour. Don't boil or it will be bitter. Strain the stock and discard the vegetables.
- Bring the stock to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer. Add the carrots, sweet potato or squash and tofu and cook for about 5 minutes, until the carrots are tender.
- In a cup, stir the lime or lemon juice, honey, pepper, turmeric, and cayenne, if using. Stir the lime mixture into the soup, then add the spinach. Stir for just a couple of minutes to wilt the spinach.
- Serve in bowls, with crushed garlic stirred in at the table, extra chilis, and nori and scallions floating on top.