Cozy up with us while we show you how to concoct your very own Immune Building Soup. It’s packed with nourishing ingredients like shiitake and maitake mushrooms, garlic, bok choy, lemon, ginger, and other nutrient-rich foods to bolster your health. In fact, you might just find yourself craving this soul-warming bowl of deliciousness all winter long.
The immune system is like our own personal bodyguard that works to keep us healthy and strong without us even knowing. And although wintertime tends to challenge our immune system with various illnesses, we can boost our natural resistance starting in our own kitchen.
Some of the most effective (and yummy!) ingredients include the following.
Effective Immune Building Ingredients
Shiitake and maitake mushrooms are a couple of our favorites for immune health. These medicinal mushrooms have long been used for healing in various cultures, and rightly so since studies show that they can increase the production and activity of white blood cells which aid in fighting infections. They also provide vitamin D, B vitamins, selenium, zinc, and an array of other vitamins and minerals.
Garlic comes with a long list of health benefits, with immune support near the top. It contains sulfur compounds, which experts believe are responsible for many of its benefits and packs a powerful antioxidant, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal punch. Did you know that you can boost one of the active compounds (called allicin) by letting garlic sit for 10 minutes after chopping it.
Bok choy, a Chinese cabbage, is another immune heavy hitter. Being high in fiber, it nourishes beneficial bacteria in your gut, where 70-80% of immune cells are located. And supporting our gut microbiome supports our immune system. It’s a win-win. Bok choy also has bioactive compounds such as glucosinolates that come with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, protecting ourselves from damage. Goodbye inflammation!
Lemon adds zest in addition to its phytonutrients, antioxidants, minerals, and Vitamin C. Vitamin C aids in building and maintaining healthy skin and tissue to resist entry of germs. Additionally, this citrus fruit also helps the digestion and absorption of other nutrients. How altruistic!
Ginger root needs no hype. This ancient rhizome has long been used for medicinal purposes, from soothing digestive discomfort to quenching inflammation, and now there’s research to back it up. Gingerol, a bioactive component of ginger, comes with powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties to keep you healthy.
Watch as our chef tops off this immune building soup with a poached egg to add protein, selenium, zinc, iron as well as vitamins A, B12, and D. While Vitamin D is hard to come by through diet alone, eggs and mushrooms can help you reach your daily intake. We’ll discuss the health benefits of these foods and their vital nutrients like vitamin D and more while we cook up this soup for you.
What Else can Build Your Immune Resilience?
Hydration helps immune cells flow throughout our bodies as well as maintain our mucous membranes, which help to trap microbes.
Mindful activities such as meditation can combat stress and help us feel less overwhelmed. Good news for our immune system.
Exercise stimulates the lymphatic system and mobilizes immune cells to detect an infection.
Restorative Sleep is a powerful ‘reset’ button and helps optimize the immune system as well as repair and regenerate.
Mushroom Garlic Soup with Poached Eggs
Makes 4 Servings
- 1 oz dried Maitake mushrooms
- 1 oz dried Shiitake mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- 3 cups stock of choice
- 2 teaspoons tamari or soy sauce
- 2 cups bok choy, chopped
- 4 eggs
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- Place mushrooms in a bowl and cover with hot water. Let soak for 30 minutes.
- Remove mushrooms from liquid and chop. Retain the liquid to use in your soup.
- In a medium saucepan, warm the oil over medium heat, add the mushrooms. Sautee for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and white pepper. Continue to sauté until the mushrooms begin to brown, 3-4 minutes.
- Add the stock, mushroom soaking liquid, and the tamari. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the bok choy.
- Crack one egg into a small bowl and carefully add it to the soup. Repeat with remaining eggs. Poach for about 3 minutes and carefully remove eggs.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Ladle soup into bowls and top with the reserved poached eggs. Garnish with a drizzle of sesame oil.
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