We are going through a time where supporting immune health is critical.. Viruses are everywhere, and outbreaks happen for multiple reasons. I learnt the hard way that each individual body terrain matters. Why is one person more or less susceptible to pathogens than the other? Why do some people become easy prey to virus? If there are specific challenges such as autoimmunity or if you are immune compromised due to specific medication, you could be more susceptible than others, but this does not mean that you cannot try to change your body’s terrain to reduce that susceptibility.
Your immune requires specific nutrients to be at it’s optimal best. One of the ways that you can boost immune function is to bring in foods that are rich in Vitamin A. A diet deficient in Vitamin A can decrease mobilization of white blood cells, and put you at risk for any infection.
Vitamin A is required to produce these protective warriors of your body. Recurrent infections and breakdown of your immune system could be a deficiency. Vitamin A is required for the health of your spleen and thymus gland, vital parts of your lymphatic system. Deficiency can lead to thymus atrophy and strain your immune system. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to a decrease in T cells and their ability to respond to pathogens, making you susceptible to attack. Foods that are rich in Vitamin A are yellow or dark green coloured vegetables like carrots and pumpkin. These foods contain betacarotene, which should convert to retinol or the active form of Vitamin A in your body. In some bodies, this conversion might be challenging, in which case, adding some salmon to this meal could complete it. In fact, if you are not plant based, I suggest you combine this with some fish to really boost the immune support.
As you keep seeing all my recipes, I have three stars of the show, in this case, it’s carrots, pumpkin and oregano. Remember my mantra, which is enjoy food from concept to creation to consumption! You really want to bring your awareness. Intention matters. If you think that your immune system needs a boost, try this simple recipe, loaded with brilliant ingredients.
Let’s breakdown the ingredients of this recipe before going into it.
- Carrots– More than anything, carrots are crunchy, nutritious and yummy! There are a ton of vitamins and minerals in carrots including betacarotene, fibre, vitamins A, B vitamins, potassium and phytonutrients. Cooking carrots make the nutrients more bioavailable. For more information on vitamins and minerals, read my e-book!
- Pumpkin–Yellow pumpkins are loaded in betacarotene, vitamin A, B, C, E, potassium and Iron. Vitamin C is a superstar of your immune system and helps your immune system work efficiently. They are low in carbohydrates and make a wonderful replacement to a grain, if you need to be grain free for some reason.
- Oregano–Oregano is used all over the functional medicine world as a poten antimicrobial, especially for gut infections. While it is used therapeutically for these reasons, just adding this fresh herb, which is available through the year, is deeply beneficial in protecting you from pathogens. They also add a punch of flavour to the most simple vegetables, transforming them into a cuisine which feels like a work of art!
Always remind yourself that food is medicine! You can use this as an accompaniment to salmon or beef. If you are a vegan, you can combine this with some lentil patties. You can also blend this into a soup, but if so, leave out the oregano and add it fresh after blending your soup. That keeps your soup looking bright and orange. You could also use this blended with chickpeas or white beans to make a vegan protein hummus. I also leave out the spices and salt while roasting in the oven, and blend it with protein powder, almond milk, wild honey and cardamom to make a great smoothie! Let me know if you have other innovative ways to use this! Another way is to blend it with manuka honey and coconut cream to make a popsicle. It’s a super healthy snack for your kids! If you try this out and love it as much as I do, share a picture on instagram and tag me @phytothrivefunctionalnutrition!
My recipes are all super simple, but all of them have an intention towards a system in the body. My intention is that you learn to use food as medicine, but in the simplest way possible.
Immune Boosting Ingredients to Support your body during the time of outbreaks
- 10 Baby Carrots
- 1 small Yellow Pumpkin
- 1 sprig Fresh Oregano
- 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 tsp Chilly Flakes
- 3 pods Garlic chopped fine
- 1 tsp Brown Sugar optional
- 1 piece Ginger One inch size, grated fine
- 1 tsp Cumin Powder
- 1 tsp Coriander Powder
Wash the baby carrots well. Do not remove the skin. Just make sure that you have rinsed them well in clean water and set aside. You can keep the stalk if they are there.
Slice the yellow pumpkin into seni circles. Cut a small one in half and then slice them to form semi circles. I like to keep the skin on as well, but I know that many people do not like that. If you would prefer to remove the skin, please go ahead and do so.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. If you do not have an over, you can just make this in a pan as well. There are days when I do not want to bother with the oven and I just roast them on a pan. If so, make sure that you prepare them fresh and serve them as soon as they are ready. Combine the spice powders, grated ginger, chopped garlic, oregano, salt and olive oil. Rub the carrots and pumpkin with them and cook them on an over tray or a pan. If you are cooking in the oven, check them after 15 minutes and turn them around and cook again if necessary. Serve them fresh with your choice of protein, blend them into a soup or use them as a base for carrot hummus!