I feel like my immune system has taken a battering of late; over the last few weeks, there have been birthdays, weekend trips away and lots of eating out. Whilst this has been so much fun, it has left me feeling not 100% healthy - like I could succumb to a cold or virus at any moment! So I’ve decided that for the next few weeks, I’m going to base my meals around foods that contain lots of immune-boosting nutrients, essential for the optimum functioning of my immune system and hopefully giving my body the best chance of warding of a cold or influenza virus!
The first dish I’ve decided to make is this amazing immune-boosting super greens soup. It is packed with so much goodness - quinoa, broccoli, garlic, ginger, peas and spinach, and is so quick and easy to make! I have flavoured the veg with a spicy chilli and lemongrass broth, giving the vegetables a flavoursome punch!
So a little more information on the nutrients and goodness:
Garlic - I’ve used crushed garlic to flavour this soup because these little cloves contain the phytonutrient allicin, iron and zinc, giving it significant antiviral and antibacterial properties. In fact research has shown, that garlic is effective in fighting parainfluenza type 3, herpes simplex type 1 and influenza B viruses.
Ginger - this is such an amazing root, containing at least 14 phytochemicals, many of which have impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. I love ginger because it gives me a wonderful, warming feeling when I eat it, and it can be used to treat a range of digestive issues such as indigestion and bloating!
Spinach and broccoli - both these vegetables contain so much vitamin C. This vitamin is so beneficial for us because it helps to protect the cells that make up our immune system, and also helps white blood cells to fend of bacteria and viruses.
Quinoa - this grain is probably my favourite and quite often my go-to. It is a complete protein, which means that it contains all the essential amino acids - which helps your body to grow and repair tissue. One of the most important nutrients that quinoa contains, to help with immunity, is zinc. This is because zinc is crucial to the normal development and functioning of the cells that are associated with our immune system.
Now that you know WHY this soup is so good for you, here is how you can make it:
1 bunch, spring onions, chopped (including green bits)
1 stalk lemongrass, woody outer leaves removed, finely chopped
Large piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into very thin matchsticks
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large red chilli, finely chopped
3 tbsp quinoa, washed
1 litre organic vegetable stock
150g broccoli, chopped into small pieces
100g frozen peas, defrosted
1 tsp chilli flakes
Handful of coriander, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Grab a large pan and head a large glug (1.5tbsp) rapeseed oil.
When the oil is hot, add the spring onions, lemongrass, ginger, garlic and chilli and then cook for 4 minutes until softened.
Add the quinoa and vegetable stock, bring to the boil, and then simmer for 10-15 minutes until the quinoa is tender.
Add the broccoli and peas, and cook for 3 minutes.
Then stir in the spinach and chilli flakes, and cook for another 2 minutes.
Check for seasoning and then stir in the coriander and lime juice to serve.