Optimise Your Immunity

Optimise Your Immunity

This year has been both a learning curve and an inflection point for many.

Concerns about health amplified during the pandemic will not ebb after it is over. Rather, health will dominate. Since many find themselves slowing down, breaking patterns and having some free time, priorities have zeroed in on wellbeing – starting by giving your immune system the upper hand.

As health trends are known to morph constantly, let’s step aside from the noise and return to the basics of transforming your bodies into an ASSET instead of a liability with immune-boosting foods.

Here is what we know now, there is evidence that nutrition and other lifestyle measures influence immune strength and susceptibility to infectious diseases.

And there is every reason to put what we do know about foods and immunity to use.

Let’s get right into the gist of it along with some delicious IMMUNE-BOOSTING plant-powered recipes!

Why Plant-Based Foods for Immunity?

As a post-pandemic future begins to come into focus, it seems to have ushered in a new normal with veganism hitting mainstream interest at twice the rate. Whether you’re in it for health, animal welfare or environmental reasons, consumers are more aware of how food affects their immunity.

Plant-based foods benefit your immune system as it is high in antioxidants and fibres; improving your gut microbiome and helping to control digestion. While meat, eggs and dairy are acidic, alkaline foods are plant-based such as fruits, nuts, legumes, and vegetables. A plant-based diet decreases inflammation, balances your PH, and strengthens your immune system!

Did you know?

A whole foods, plant-based diet contains 64-times the amount of immunity-boosting antioxidants compared to a diet that includes meat and dairy!

How To Optimise Your Body’s Immunity Naturally?

In addition to micronutrients, antioxidants are key for our body’s natural defences. These compounds are mostly found in plant foods and help fight inflammation. Cut out the antioxidant-depleted animal foods and incorporate these antioxidant-rich immune-boosting ingredients into your diet.

Super Immune-Boosting Ingredients

  • Ginger: Active components such as gingerol, shogaol, zingiberene can be used as antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-cancer.
  • Garlic: Contains allicin, which has anti-microbial, anti-fungal and anti-tumour properties, in addition to improving cardiovascular health
  • Berries: Rich in a powerful antioxidant called Anthocyanins, a substance responsible for giving foods their strong blue, purple and red hues.
  • Fermented foods such as miso, sauerkraut, kefir, and kombucha.
  • Citrus fruits: Vitamin C and antioxidant bomb, rich in flavonoids to improve cardiovascular and metabolic health.

Did you know?

Fermented foods are rich in probiotic bacteria and enzymes that are beneficial for your overall intestinal flora. Increasing your gut microbiome health will reinforce your digestive system and enhance your immune system.

As promised, here are a couple of quick but powerful immune booster recipes for you to start with!

Blueberry & Acai Smoothie

Blueberry & Acai Smoothie
(Makes for a 300 ml smoothie)

Blueberries – 100g
Banana – 100g
Orange – 1 – freshly squeezed
Lime – 1/2 freshly squeezed
Acai berry powder – 5g
Coconut water or almond milk – 100ml
A small scoop of ice

How to make?
1) Add everything to a blender and blitz for 20 seconds
2) Pour into a glass and serve

Spice Carrot Cake

Spiced Carrot Soup

Spiced Carrot Soup
Makes 4 portions)

Coconut oil – 50g
Onions (diced) – 100g
Carrots (sliced thin) – 500g
Ginger root (peeled and finely diced) – 20g
Garlic cloves – 5g
Cumin – seeds – 2g
Turmeric powder – 2g
Water – 400ml
Pink salt (Himalayan) – 5g (to taste)

How to make?
1) Assemble all ingredients.
2) Wash, peel, chop and weigh all ingredients.
3) Melt the coconut oil, add the onions and sauté without colour for 5 minutes.
4) Add the ginger, garlic and spices, cook for 3 minutes.
5) Add the carrots, cook for another 5 minutes.
6) Add the water, cover with a lid and cook on a gentle heat for about 10-12 minutes, or until carrots are cooked
7) Allow to cool slightly.
8) Transfer to blender and blitz until smooth (about 45 seconds)
9) Check and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and lime juice.
10) Serve

Spice Carrot Cake

For more immune-boosting plant-based recipes, stay tuned to “Cook Well with Jamie” on our Facebook page for online cooking classes and interactive workshops from our very own Chef Jamie