Hope you are faring OK in the COVID-19 environment.
Preparing healthy meals for the family is challenging – especially now with half-empty shelves and produce aisles which have been totally picked over in the supermarket.
And, particularly when you are stressed and trying to reorganise life with so many changes which are necessary, but still impacts the control we have over providing for our family.
I’ve found seven recipes where pantry ingredients are the star ingredient.
You may need to become creative with substituting ingredients if something is not available.
Hoping that these recipes help spark some ideas on how to go “shopping in your pantry” or navigating the shelves at the supermarket with confidence.
But first, let's have a frank conversation about refined carbohydrates and the immune system.
I get that refined carbohydrate foods - like pasta, flour and rice are easy. They are cheap, filling, easy to cook, delicious, versatile, have a long shelf life – and evidently are easy to stockpile should you need to stay at home for a couple of weeks.
But, these foods are also refined carbohydrates, and our bodies convert them into simple sugars during the digestive process. Studies have shown that spikes in sugar – even spikes resulting from eating a big bowl of pasta - suppresses your immune system.
That’s right. Sugar suppresses your immune system. And when your immune system is compromised, you are more likely to get sick. Eating lots of foods high in sugar or refined carbohydrates reduces your body’s ability to ward of disease.
And, the versions of these foods that we eat today are often stripped of nutrients during processing. (That’s why flour then has to be fortified with synthetic versions of the vitamins and minerals lost during the milling process, so that the population does not develop deficiency-related disease.)
So, let’s bring back soup…
Homemade soup is:
You can make up big batches of your favourite soups, and store in the freezer.
Include shitake mushrooms, garlic, onion, leek, ginger, chili or herbs for additional immune-supporting nutrients.
Stock up on veges, legumes meat, (including bones) at the green grocer and the butcher, and you will also be supporting a local small business and farmers.
To get you started, here are 7 nutritious soup recipes for you.
Arm yourself and your family with the tools to build strong immune defences. If you do get sick, a strong immune system will also reduce the severity of your cold and flu symptoms, and help to speed your recovery.
Natural Medicines to Prevent and Treat Symptoms
There are many Natural Medicines that are beneficial in preventing, treating and shortening the duration of colds and flus. These agents can boost your immune system as well as provide the necessary tools to help you fight against infection. Look out for these immune boosters:
• Zinc: Optimal levels of zinc in the body have been found to inhibit the common cold and influenza viruses.
• Vitamin C: Vitamin C supports healthy immune function by enhancing the activity of your immune defence army of white blood cells; also reducing severity and duration of symptoms.
• Probiotics: These friendly bacteria live in your digestive system and enhance health, and even immunity. Probiotic strains, Lactobacillus acidophilus (NCFM), Bifidobacterium lactis (HN019) and Lactobacillus rhamnosus (HN001), have been scientifically proven to enhance immune responses. By providing healthy gut immunity, you are providing the best defence against inhaled and ingested pathogens.
• Andrographis: This powerful herb stimulates the body’s natural immune response, and significantly reduces the duration of colds. You or your loved ones can take this herb as a preventative to keep your immunity strong; it can also be used acutely as soon as you get cold symptoms.
Lifestyle and Dietary Recommendations
Incorporate these handy tips into your life to improve your resistance and support recovery from colds and flus:
• Rest! Give your body a chance to gather strength and make sure you get a good night’s sleep.
• Eat warm, nourishing foods. Homemade chicken and vegetable soup can help break down mucus that often comes with colds and flus. If you don’t have an appetite, the broth alone will provide minerals and vitamins to give you strength.
• Eat foods such as garlic, ginger, onion and chilli to help fight off illness, warm you up and reduce inflammation.
• Drink plenty of water to keep yourself well hydrated.
Prevention is better than cure! Have all the essential immune nutrients on hand, and start taking vitamin C and zinc daily as we head into Autumn and Winter. You may want to include zinc, vitamin C, strain specific probiotics and andrographis in your immune first aid kit, to keep you and your family well this winter. Everyone will want to know your secret of how you keep well.
Feel free to book an acute consultation if you would like to talk to me about individualised patient formulations.
Naturopath, Nutritionist and Herbalist