Follow Me on Twitter

Follow VPorterMD on Twitter

Monday, December 1, 2008

Better Than Chicken Soup

Greg and I tried this Immune-boosting soup recipe from Whole Foods when he had a cold and I was fighting one...seems to have worked and it was tasty too!

1 small yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, slices
1 TBsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp ground turmeric
4-8 fresh shitake mushrooms, sliced
4 cups mushroom, vegetable or chicken broth
1-1/2 cups julienned fresh kale (or chard)
1 cup butternut squash, cut into 1/4" cubes
2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
5-6 thin slices astragalus root (optional)
juice of 1 fresh lemon
1 tsp miso paste

In a sauce pot over medium-high heat, saute onion and garlic in oil 3 minutes.  Add turmeric and mushrooms.  Saute 2 minutes.  Add broth, kale, squash, ginger, cayenne and astragalus. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool sightly, add lemon juice and miso.  Cover and let sit 5 minutes before serving.  Serves 4-6 (although Greg and I split the whole thing!)

So, what do all these ingredients do?
Garlic - particularly the compound allicin, helps optimize the body's immune system and has been shown to decrease the number of people who got a cold and its duration.
Medicinal mushrooms (shitake, reishi, maitake, cordyceps)  - contain polysaccharide compounds that stimulate the body's immune system.
Spices (turmeric, cayenne, allspice) - support the immune system and spicy foods such as cayenne or horseradish may help clear the sinuses.
Dark leafy green (kale, chard) - immune-boosting carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene)
Butternut squash - abundant vitamin A, which is an essential component for the production and activity of certain white blood cells.
Ginger - immune-system support
Lemon Juice - vitamin C is important in white blood cell production and healthy inflammatory response.  Taken preventively, it can decrease severity and duration of the common cold.
Miso and other fermented foods (yogurt, kefir, kombucha) contain probiotics which help the body maintain healthy levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut and intestines which is important in immune system function.

Thanks to Whole Foods Guide: Cold & Flu from which I took this recipe and information.