For anyone currently living in the northern hemisphere you are dealing with some wild winter weather. In Toronto we have record snow fall amounts and in parts of the USA they are warning residents to stay inside due to the risk of frost bite after only 5 minutes. So I am going to presume a lot of you, like me are either dealing with or trying to avoid the onset of a cold. I have a soup that may help. Many people turn to chicken noodle soup when they are feeling ill but I call this the "Better than Chicken Noodle Soup" Soup as it contains more immune boosters and cold fighting nutrients than Chicken Noodle Soup (especially the canned processed kind, I'm looking at you Campbell's). When boosting the immune system to avoid getting sick you want to focus on consuming foods high in antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin A, that are antibacterial and reduce inflammation throughout the body; as well as foods that support healthy digestion. Here are some of the reasons the ingredients in my soup are not only tasty but can help you feel better faster.
Carrots are an excellent source of beta carotene (which gives them their bright orange colour). Beta carotene supports the body's mucus membranes which line both the respiratory system and intestinal tract. Healthy mucus membranes make it harder for bacteria to enter the bloodstream and make you sick
Kale is an immune system boosting food and contains high levels of vitamin C which is not only an antioxidant itself, but also helps to fight off infections and regenerate other antioxidants in the body including vitamin E.
The Journal of Chemistry Central describes mung beans as having "biological activities including antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, antihypertensive, lipid metabolism accommodation, antihypertensive and anti-tumor effects.”
Mung beans are a real superfood. They aren't very popular in North America but have been consumed in Asia for thousands of years and are an important food in Ayurveda. I used sprouted mung beans in this recipe which are more easily digested, have more fee amino acids and antioxidants then the unsprouted kind.
Potatoes seem to have a bad reputation for no good reason, well maybe it has to do with french fries or chips? But potatoes, when not deep fried covered in hydrogenated oil or highly processed, are actually good for you. One potato contains nearly half of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C and has more potassium then a banana. Potatoes are a good source of fiber and contain a form of resistant starch which will help you feel fuller longer.
Thyme is supportive of the lungs and is both expectorant and antimicrobial
Leeks are a member of the allium family. They are known for containing a wide variety of sulfur containing compounds which give them their characteristic tear-inducing effect and bold pungent flavour. These sulfur compounds are also the reason for their many health benefits including cardiovascular protection, anti-cancer activity, lowering of both blood cholesterol and blood pressure, provide anti-clotting benefit and anti-inflammatory effect. Alliums also contain polyphenols which further have an anti-inflammatory effect.
Also a member of the allium family garlic has all of the health benefits of leeks and more. Garlic is anti-bacterial and has been clinically proven to minimize the effect of getting sick and shorten the durations of colds when you do become sick.
The medicinal benefits of turmeric have now become popularized in the west thanks in large part to turmeric lattes or golden milk. But turmeric like mung beans have been consumed for thousands of years and its medicinal effects have been well documented in Ayurveda. Curcumin the main active ingredient in turmeric is powerful anti-inflammatory and a very strong antioxidant. It is not easily absorbed however consuming turmeric with black pepper (which contains piperine) increases its absorption by a whopping 2,000%
The "Better than Chicken Noodle Soup" Soup
1 cup sprouted mung beans
1 leek chopped (white part and a bit of green only)
4 large carrots chopped
5 stalks of celery chopped
3 large potatoes chopped
1 small bunch of kale chopped (about 2 large handfuls)
1 L vegetable stock
1 cup water
2 large cloves of garlic minces
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil
in a large pot on medium high heat add olive oil then add leeks, celery, carrots and garlic. Stir and cook until fragrant and leeks are soft about 5 minutes (you do not want them to brown so turn down heat if you need to)
add potatoes, turmeric, thyme, salt and pepper. stir until everything is coated cook for another 2 minutes
add vegetable stock and water bring to a boil then add mung beans
turn down heat and cook until potatoes become soft. Then add kale and cook for another 5 minutes until soft
enjoy hot and stay warm