By Jamie Geller
Tamar Genger, registered dietitian and director of the Fresh Families meal plan, shares her tips for preventing the flu.
Eating immunity-boosting foods helps keep your body in better shape to deal with ailments that may come its way. As we are in the midst of flu season, we compiled our favorite recipes highlighting immunity-boosting ingredients from yogurt to sweet potatoes and barley.
Citrus Fruit. Citrus fruits are full of vitamin C, which has been found to help our bodies fight infections. They work best to reduce the severity and duration of the common cold. Visit JamieGeller.com for a Winter Citrus Salad recipe.
Yogurt. Yogurt with live, active cultures is an excellent source of probiotics. Probiotics are best known for improving gut health. By reducing inflammation in the gut, probiotics allow the body to focus on boosting immune function.
Yogurt is also a good source of vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, which most people need especially in the winter. Vitamin D helps your body fight off many infections.
Make sure to purchase plain, preferably Greek yogurt, and add your own sweeteners. Add fresh or dried fruit, natural sweeteners like maple or date syrup, and toasted nuts or granola.
Visit JamieGeller.com for directions on How to Serve a Yogurt Bar.
Turmeric. Turmeric has been used for hundreds of years as a natural medicine, but is most notably used as an anti-inflammatory, which will boost your immunity.
Warm up on a cool fall evening with a cup of Turmeric-Ginger Tea. This beverage has all the great flavors of a spiced tea but is caffeine free and will help reduce inflammation with the ginger-turmeric duo.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Duration: 20 minutes
- 2 cups almond milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, or favorite non-dairy milk
- 2-inch piece of ginger, unpeeled and sliced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1-inch piece of turmeric, not peeled but grated, or 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1 whole clove, or pinch of ground cloves
- Several whole black peppercorns
- 1 wide strip of orange peel
- 1 tablespoon honey
- In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, simmer almond or other non-dairy milk, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, clove, peppercorns, orange peel, and honey for 10 minutes.
- Steep for 5 minutes. Strain and serve in a teacup or mug.
Fatty Fish. Fatty fish like salmon, anchovies, sardines, and tuna are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids. It is an essential fat, because our bodies cannot make it on their own. Omega-3 fats have been shown to help achieve optimal immune health, reduce inflammation and even help reduce body fat.
Roasting salmon in a low-heat oven is the best way for the natural fat to melt into the fish, and makes it rich, evenly textured, and not dry. Start the rice right as you put the salmon in the oven, so the complete dish is ready to serve within 30 to 40 minutes.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 43 minutes
Duration: 58 minutes
- 2 garlic cloves
- 6 scallions, white parts only
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 2 roasted red peppers
- Zest and juice of 2 limes
- 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons coconut vinegar, or unseasoned rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 (15-ounce) can coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 6 (6-ounces each) salmon fillets, boned and skinned
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Garnishes: ¼ cup cilantro leaves, 1 lime, sliced thinly, and ⅓ cup toasted coconut
- 1½ cups Jasmine, or Basmati rice
- 1 cup canned coconut milk
- 1½ cups water
- Kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 cup desiccated coconut (dried and unsweetened coconut)
- Preheat oven to 300°F. Lightly oil a large casserole dish.
- Blend garlic, scallions, curry, red peppers, lime zest and juice, ginger, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, coconut milk, salt, and pepper in a blender or food processor until it has a thick, sauce-like consistency.
- Arrange fish fillets in prepared pan, and season fish with salt and pepper. Generously spoon sauce over fish, reserving some sauce for passing at the table.
- Bake in a 300°F oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
- Garnish with cilantro, sliced lime rounds, and toasted coconut. Serve with coconut rice.
- Simmer rice, coconut milk, water, salt, and pepper in a covered saucepan over medium-low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the level of the liquid is even with the rice. Turn off and allow the steam to finish cooking the rice for 10 minutes more, or until rice is fluffy and dry.
- In a small pan, toast coconut over medium heat 1 to 3 minutes, occasionally stirring, until medium brown. Coconut browns quickly, so keep watch over the pan.
- Transfer cooked rice to a serving platter and sprinkle with toasted coconut. Arrange fish on top of rice, and add garnishes.
Chicken Soup. There is a reason chicken soup is called Jewish penicillin, the original bone broth. The broth provides calcium and minerals in an easily digestible form. A good chicken soup will live up to its reputation by helping support immunity and resistance to colds and flu.
Try One-Pot Chicken Soup with Seasonal Vegetables at JamieGeller.com.
Green Tea. Green tea is full of poly-phenols (plant antioxidants) that may help kill flu viruses. Iced or hot, with lemon and/or ginger, green tea can be a part of your daily routine.
Reap the many healthy benefits of drinking green tea and try Jamie’s Iced Green Tea or one of the recipe variations at JamieGeller.com.
Sweet Potatoes. Sweet potatoes have 377% daily value of Vitamin A in the form of beta carotene proven to help boost the immune system and lower the risk for various diseases.
If cooked and eaten with the skin, sweet potatoes also are a good source of vitamin C.
Sweet Potato And Coconut Soup With Za’atar
This soup will cook much faster if you cut your vegetables small, but if you have the time feel free to leave them large as you will be pureeing it anyway.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Duration: 45 minutes
Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (about 2½ pounds)
- 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks (about 1 pound)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- 1 (1-quart) container vegetable broth
- 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
Za’atar Gluten Free Cracker Croutons
- 16 gluten-free crackers
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 1 teaspoon za’atar
Sweet Potato And Coconut Soup
- Heat olive oil in a medium stockpot over medium-high heat.
- Sauté onions until translucent, about 10 minutes, stirring often.
- Add sweet potatoes, carrots, cumin, salt, and pepper and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low for 30 to 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
- Remove from heat and using an immersion or standing blender carefully puree soup until smooth and creamy or to desired consistency.
- Mix in coconut milk and return to heat to heat through.
- Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.
- Serve warm with Za’atar Gluten-Free Cracker Croutons.
Za’atar Gluten-Free Cracker Croutons
- Place crackers in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Spray with olive oil and sprinkle with za’atar.
- Broil on low for about 90 seconds.
Mushrooms and Barley. Studies have shown that barley (and oats) contains immune boosting properties. They are loaded with fiber including a special compound that has powerful antioxidant properties.
Mushrooms are high in vitamin D and have been used for centuries to fight off disease. Mushroom barley soup is a delicious way to maintain good health.
Visit JamieGeller.com to find a hearty Beefy Mushroom Barley Soup recipe. v
Jamie Geller is the only best-selling cookbook author who wants to get you out of the kitchen—not because she doesn’t love food—but because she has tons to do. As “The Bride Who Knew Nothing”, Jamie found her niche specializing in fast, fresh, family recipes. Now the “Queen of Kosher” (CBS) and the “Jewish Rachael Ray” (New York Times), she’s the creative force behind JamieGeller.com. Jamie and her hubby live in Israel with their six super kids who give her plenty of reasons to get out of the kitchen—quickly. Check out her new book, JOY of KOSHER Fast, Fresh Family Recipes and her new family meal plan “Fresh Families” at FreshFamilies.us.