I hope this post finds you well. In times like these, I find the best way to deal with my worries about a seemingly out-of-control situation is to think about the ways we can control our own health and safety. Of course, one of the ways we know best is choosing what we’re going to eat, particularly the immune boosting recipes in our repertoire!
The Importance of a Nutritious Diet
Besides staying at home to keep ourselves and others safe, getting enough rest, and trying to reduce stress as much as possible, we should be thinking more about what we’re eating!
Now, I’m not a doctor or nutritionist, and I also know there’s no magic food guaranteed to boost your immune system or protect you against illness. But I do know that a diet rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits can give your body the nutrients it needs to function optimally.
Eating a nutritious diet is one of the best ways to stay healthy. While you’re stocking up on rice, beans, and other pantry staples, don’t forget about fresh vegetables, and the fact that you can freeze vegetables for use in cooked recipes.
Here are some recipes to get you started!
20 Healthy Immune Boosting Recipes
1. Japanese Sweet Potatoes
Japanese sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber, providing the nutrition your body needs to work optimally! They’re also delicious when roasted. Serve them as a side, or load them up with broccoli, a little bacon, green onion, and maybe a dollop of plain greek yogurt!
2. Stir-fried Yam Leaves
Yam leaves may not be the easiest produce to find, but if it’s available at your local Asian grocery store, snap it up! Yam leaves contain vitamin B, iron, zinc, antioxidants, and calcium, and they’ve become one of our favorite nutrient dense dark leafy greens.
3. Garlicky Broccoli
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that offers 51 mg of Vitamin C per half cup serving (57% of the recommended daily value). It’s also generally widely available, and available frozen! This simple garlicky broccoli is one of our favorite ways to eat it, and it’s the perfect side dish for almost any meal!
4. Chicken & Broccoli
Chicken and Broccoli is another tasty broccoli recipe that’s also a full meal in and of itself! Serve with steamed brown rice, quinoa, or even cauliflower rice for an extra dose of Vitamin C and fiber!
5. Ginger Chicken
Ginger offers both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This ginger chicken uses a lot of it! If you’re in the mood for a chicken dinner, give this one a try. Don’t forget to serve it with a side dish of stir-fried leafy greens like bok choy for fiber, additional vitamins, and minerals!
6. Poached Chicken with Scallion Ginger Sauce
Poached chicken with scallion ginger sauce is another one of our favorite recipes featuring both chicken and ginger. It’s been a total hit ever since we published it, with many readers discovering the tasty combination of ginger and scallions!
7. Scallion Ginger Salmon
Our scallion ginger salmon packs the same ginger-y potency of the last two recipes, with the added benefit of the salmon, which is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin D, a key nutrient supporting immune health. With all of us going outside less, we need to get our Vitamin D from sources other than the sun!
8. Salmon Bibimbap
Salmon Bibimbap combines healthy salmon with loads of vegetables like watercress, carrots, and beansprouts, as well as kimchi (some say fermented foods support immune health!) and protein rich eggs.
9. Stir-fried Clams in Black Bean Sauce
Shellfish, like the clams in this dish of stir-fried clams in black bean sauce, are high in Vitamin B12, Iron, and Selenium. Clams also contain a surprising amount of Vitamin C. Vitamin B12 in particular plays a strong role in white blood cell production! Just make sure you’re buying fresh clams from a sustainable source!
10. Seafood Congee
Our seafood congee recipe contains both crab and shrimp. Crab offers Omega-3s, protein, zinc, Vitamin A, and Vitamin B12. Shrimp also contains Vitamin B12 (a 3 ounce serving contains 21% of your daily recommended intake). Just make sure you’re buying seafood from sustainable sources, and don’t overdo it!
11. Braised Chinese Mushrooms with Bok Choy
Braised Chinese Mushrooms with Bok Choy is a delicious side dish filled with umami, as well as fiber! Bok choy boasts vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene, nutrients with powerful antioxidant properties that protect cells against damage. Dried shiitake mushrooms also contain zinc, manganese, B-vitamins, and Vitamin D.
12. Enoki Mushrooms with Garlic Scallion Sauce
While you may be seeing staple vegetables disappearing from shelves in your local grocery stores, you may still find odd or unusual vegetables that aren’t as common or in high demand. Our local stores have begun stocking enoki mushrooms. Also called golden needle mushrooms, they contain antioxidants and other compounds that may support immune health. Our Enoki Mushrooms with Garlic Scallion Sauce are a delicious introduction to this tasty mushroom!
13. Chinese Chicken & Mushroom Soup
I originally posted my Chinese Chicken & Mushroom Soup Recipe as a kind of Chinese “tonic,” with antioxidant-rich goji berries and red dates, ginger, and shiitake mushrooms.
14. Steamed Chicken & Mushrooms with Dried Lily Flowers
Steamed Chicken & Mushrooms with Dried Lily Flowers is a tasty, comforting dish to serve over rice. Dried mushrooms are a good source of Vitamin D, fiber, antioxidants, and prebiotics, which promote gut health and by extension enhance immune health.
15. Curried Squash Soup
Butternut squash is a good source of Vitamin A, potassium, and Vitamin C. This curried butternut squash soup is also super flavorful and comforting!
16. Roasted Root Vegetables with Miso Glaze
Our Miso-Glazed Roasted Root Vegetables can be made with whatever you have on hand, including carrots, beets, parsnips, sweet potatoes, turnips, radishes, and onions. These vegetables are rich in fiber and essential nutrients, like Vitamin C and Vitamin A.
17. Superfood Miso Soup
Our superfood miso soup contains spinach, rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin A-producing carotenoids. It also contains kelp, which is a nutrient powerhouse! Kelp contains Vitamin K, Vitamin A, calcium, iron, magnesium, and iodine.
18. Stir-fried Chinese Mustard Greens
Stir-fried Chinese Mustard Greens are packed with Vitamin C (1 cup of raw mustard greens contains 44% of DV) and Vitamin K. 1 cup cooked mustard greens contains 96% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin A! You can find fresh mustard greens in Chinese grocery stores.
19. Asian Vegetable Stock
Sarah’s Asian Vegetable Stock is full of nutrient dense vegetables, including daikon radish, carrots, napa cabbage, ginger, dried mushrooms, dried kelp, scallions, and onions! It’s hydrating, nourishing, and can be used in your favorite soups or noodle soups.
20. Boiled Daikon Radish
My boiled daikon radish is incredibly simple to make, and one of our favorite ways to prepare it. Daikon is loaded with antioxidants, which decrease inflammation and immune cell damage. It also contains Vitamin C!
Bottom line, a diet rich in plant foods will give your body what it needs to function optimally. This can help keep your immune system strong!
In addition to cooking up some of these immune boosting recipes, don’t forget to drink enough water, get enough sleep, and try to reduce stress as much as possible. Stay safe and healthy, everyone!