Diet and Weight Loss

4 Healing Soups To Boost Your Immune System

Use these soups to banish cold and flu.

It cannot have escaped your attention that we are firmly in the grips of flu season, just leaving the house means you have to navigate a barrage of people coughing and sneezing their germs near you.

Colds and flu are a fact of life, and they cannot be dodged forever, however there are a few select ways in which you can protect your body to give it the best possible chance of deflecting the virus, and a quicker recovery time if you are unlucky enough to catch one.

Food is the best medicine that we have available to us, and many foods are much better for our immune systems than any over the counter medicine.

The following recipes are for soups that have been specifically chosen for their immune system boosting powers. They are all inspired by Eastern food and medicine, which have an incredibly strong bond in parts of China and the East. These healing soups are the go-to medicines for many Chinese people, and they really do work.

Nomi Gallo of the Ayurvedic Institute in Santa Fe, NM says:

“Soup is a good way to deliver herbs,” “The warmth increases absorption, the liquid increases the digestible surface area of the ingredients, and the slow cooking method pre-digests the foods.”

1. Wenshan Steampot Chicken Broth

Yields about 1½ quarts (serves 4-6)

Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken (about 3 pounds), cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 4 long pieces dried Chinese yam slices (also known as dioscorea, shan yao, or huai shan), broken in half
  • 2 tablespoons dried goji berries
  • 4 teaspoons dried ginseng (whole pieces or slices)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste

1. In a 5- to 6-quart pot over medium-high heat, add the chicken, yam, goji berries, ginseng and 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a bare simmer and cook for 2 hours.

2. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt until completely dissolved. Taste the broth, and add more salt, if necessary. Strain the soup through a cheese cloth-lined strainer and serve just the broth with some of the goji berries, yam slices, and ginseng floating in it. For a heartier soup, shred some of the chicken into the broth.

2. Tibetan Bone Broth

Yields about 1 gallon (serves 16)

Total Time: 4 hours 45 mins (minimum)

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds beef marrow bones, cut into 2-inch lengths (they can have some meat and fat clinging to them)
  • 1½ tablespoons Kosher salt, more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 black cardamom pod (optional)

1. Heat an oven to 450 degrees. Rinse the bones briefly in cold water and spread them out on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast the bones until beginning to brown and sizzling, about 20 minutes.

2. Put the roasted bones in a large pot with about 1½ gallons water, 1½ tablespoons salt, the pepper, and cardamom if using. Cover the pot, bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer the soup until rich and beefy, 4-6 hours, skimming off any scum that forms on top (but not the dense fat from the bone marrow). Season to taste with more salt, if necessary.

3. Ayurvedic Daal

 Yields 5 cups (serves 4)Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (13 ounces) masoor dal or red lentils, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • Kosher salt
  • Lime wedges
  • Cilantro (for garnish)

1. In a medium pot, combine the lentils and 5 cups water and bring them to a boil, skimming off any foam that forms on top of the water. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Meanwhile heat the ghee or oil in a pan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring, the onion, garlic, and cumin until the cumin begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the fenugreek and cook 1 minute. Stir in the turmeric and cook for another minute.

2. Pour the onion and spice mix into the pot with the lentils and stir to combine. Cook, covered, until the lentils are tender and the soup is thick, about 45 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup, or in batches in a regular blender, and season to taste with salt. Serve with lime wedges and cilantro to garnish.

4. Oaxacan Garlic and Chicken Soup

Yields 10 cups (serves 6 to 8)

Total time: About 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 heads garlic, cloves separated, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 16 fresh squash flowers, cleaned, stems, and pistils removed, or 2 small zucchinis, thinly sliced into half moons
  • 2 leaves hierba santa, ribs removed and cut into strips, or ½ cup thinly sliced fennel
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 dried chile de árbol or chile japonés
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Gouda cheese, cut into ½-inch chunks, for garnish
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish

1. In a large saucepan over low, heat the olive oil and garlic. Cook, stirring so it does not brown, until soft and translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the squash flowers or zucchini and hierba santa or fennel and cook, stirring and taking care not to break up the squash flowers, until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the stock, chile, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are completely tender, about 45 minutes

2. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add the parsley. To serve, place cubes of gouda in the bottom of each soup bowl, ladle the soup over the cheese, and sprinkle with parmesan.

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