5 easy, healthy recipes to boost your immune system

'Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.' ―Hippocrates

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  • Your immune system does an incredible job at protecting you from all the pesky germs that want to invade your body. But sometimes, germs pass by it and you get sick.

  • Thankfully, it is possible to intervene and give the immune system a helping hand.

  • Here are a few easy recipes to boost immunity and help you fight those nasty germs and colds.

  • 1. Ginger-spiced banana smoothie

  • Ginger is a well-known antibacterial food that has anti-inflammatory properties, eases gut problems and even kills cancer cells. Boost its anti-inflammatory properties with a dash of cinnamon and a handful of spinach and you've got a new favorite breakfast.

  • To make this smoothie you need:

    • 3 bananas

    • 2 cups spinach

    • 2 cups unsweetened plant-based milk

    • 1 piece (½ inch) of ginger, peeled (and grated)

    • ½ tsp cinnamon

    • ½ tsp cardamom (optional)

  • Start by blending the spinach with milk until smooth. Then add the rest of the ingredients and blend again. It makes two servings.

  • If you are not used to spices, start with using just a bit of ginger and skipping the cardamom.

  • You can also swap 1 cup of milk with 1 cup of yogurt.

  • 2. Red cabbage healing smoothie

  • Freshly picked red cabbage has the highest concentration of flavonoids/antioxidants of all other cabbages. Add in blackberries, with their high vitamin C content and antioxidants, and you've got an excellent smoothie for when you are fighting a cold. Need more fighting power against the cold? Bring in the elderberry, which is also high in vitamin C.

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  • To make this smoothie, you need:

    • 2 cups red cabbage, chopped

    • 1 cup blackberries

    • 1 tsp elderberry extract (or ¼ cup elderberry fruit)

    • 1 medium orange

    • 1 banana

    • 1 cup water

  • Start by blending the red cabbage, water and orange until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend again.

  • 3. Pineapple parfait

  • Pineapples have a lot of health benefits. They help cure colds, improve digestion, reduce inflammation, protect against cancer and help keep your immune system in good shape. Add some yogurt into the mix, and you have a great breakfast or snack to keep you healthy.

  • To make the parfait, you need:

    • 1 cup pineapple chunks

    • ¾ cup yogurt

  • In a bowl (or large glass), add the yogurt and top with the pineapple chunks. Sprinkle with some seeds or berries of your choice, if desired.

  • You could also replace the yogurt with cottage cheese, and the pineapple with papaya, which is also known to help the immune system and prevent cancer.

  • 4. Bean soup

  • High in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, beans are a powerful tool to keep you healthy. They are also very affordable, and can be turned into delicious dishes. Add onions, which have powerful antioxidants and the ability to enhance your digestive system, and this soup should be one of your fail-proof recipes to live a healthier life.

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  • To make the bean soup, you need:

    • 1/3 cup each of black beans, kidney beans and great northern beans, dried

    • 1 large onion, diced

    • 1 stalk celery, diced

    • 1 large carrot, diced

    • 4 cups (homemade) vegetable broth

    • 1 tbsp olive oil

    • ½ tsp oregano

    • ½ cup barley

    • 1 tbsp chili powder

    • 1 tsp ground cumin

    • 9 cups water

    • salt to taste

  • Boil the water in a kettle. Start by heating the oil. Then add the onions, celery and carrot. Cook until smooth (about 5 minutes). Then add in all other ingredients. The cooking time depends on the beans, and may take up to 2½ hours if using dried beans. Be sure to add water as needed.

  • 5. Beet hummus

  • Beets are known to lower blood pressure, improve stamina, fight inflammation, protect against cancer, and are a good source of vitamin C — no wonder they are known as a healthy food you should eat regularly.

  • To make beet hummus, you need:

    • 1 medium beet (boiled or raw)

    • 1 small can chickpeas

    • 2 tbsp olive oil

    • juice of ½ lemon (or to taste)

    • 1 or 2 garlic cloves

    • 1 tbsp tahini (optional)

    • 1 tsp paprika (optional)

  • If you prefer to use boiled beets, boil them before you make the hummus. Once completely cooled, grate them or put in a food processor. Separately, put in a food processor the chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. Then add the tahini (and/or paprika). Now you are ready for the beets. Add them in and mix well.

  • If you don't have a food processor, you can use a vertical (immersion) blender to make the hummus. And then just add the grated beets.

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  • *Using raw beets creates a more earthy taste.

  • Give these recipes a try, and give your immune system the boost it needs!

  • Editor's note: This article was originally published on BookCulinaryVacations.com. It has been republished here with permission.

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