Dr. Lani Nykilchuk
Naturopathic Family Physician
" Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food" - Hippocrates
Food can be our number one immune system protector. By choosing foods that are immune boosting, rather than immune depressing you will have one up on both preventing and fighting infections this season.
Let’s take a quick look at the main foods that weaken our immune system:
• Sugar and refined carbohydrate
• Unhealthy fats, including trans fats and excess saturated fats
• Processed foods (or ‘fake foods’ as I like to call them)
• Pesticide laden foods
• Food sensitivities and allergies, which are unique to each of us.
Now, let’s take a look at foods that support the immune system:
• Warming foods such as ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, garlic, and onion.
• Eat all colours of the rainbow! What I mean by this is to eat a variety of fruits and veg to get all the nutrients you need.
• Focus on fermented foods: including yogurt,kefir, miso, kimshi, sauerkraut and kombucha- these foods contain beneficial bacteria that strengthen the immune system.
To get you started, I’ve included an immune-boosting soup recipe. Carrot ginger soup is a warm, rich and creamy meal that nourish the body and soul. Carrots and parsnips are packed with nutrients, which become easy to digest and absorb when made into a soup. Ginger warms you up from head to toe while supporting your ability to fight infections.
Carrot, Parsnip & Ginger Soup
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp coconut oil
4 tbsp minced/grated fresh ginger
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
a pinch of cayenne
8 large carrots, chopped
1 large parsnip, chopped
8 cups homemade stock or water
1/2 cup tahini-optional
1/3 organic lemon, juice and zest
1 tsp liquid soy
optional garnish- drizzle yogurt, top with pea shoots and fresh cracked pepper.
In a large pot, on medium heat, add coconut oil, onion, garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric and cayenne and sauté until onions are soft (~10-15 minutes).
Add the carrots and parsnips and cook another 10 minutes, until carrots are slightly soft.
Add the stock or water, cover and allow to simmer for 30 minutes, or until carrots are soft.
Remove from heat and use hand –blender or transfer to blender and blend till smooth.
Add in tahini and lemon and liquid soy and mix well.
Serve with green garnish (such as pea shoots) and drizzle with yogurt for an extra creamy texture if desired.
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