Health and wellness coach Neda Verbanova knows a thing or two about boosting the immune system, something we should all be making a top priority these days. Highly complex, your immune system is your body’s way of warding off germs and protecting you from bacteria, toxins and yep, viruses. Read: We’d be crazy to not be taking extra care of ours right about now.
Nedi, also known as @healthywithnedi, has given us a few tips for doing exactly that: Keep oregano oil (known for its extremely potent antimicrobial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties), super lysine (an essential amino acid that helps with calcium absorption) and high-factor maduka honey (a great antibacterial aid that works best in hot tea) in your pantry. Add lemon to anything and everything: “Just one lemon has 98% of your daily vitamin C requirement, which is essential for your immune system to function,” says Nedi. “Lemons are also incredibly alkaline, balancing your body’s pH to support optimal health.”
With that, here are three of her favorite simple recipes designed to superpower your system and ward off getting run down:
Nedi’s Super Immune-Boosting Soup
Packed with ingredients that your immune system loves, Nedi generally likes to make this silky puréed soup at the first sign of a cold, which means it’s equally beneficial any time. “This green soup is full of iron, vitamins C and B, copper and calcium,” says Nedi. “The garlic can reduce symptoms of a cold and ginger brings down inflammation in the body. This makes about six-to-eight servings, so half of it can easily be frozen in mason jars.”
-3 cups of bone broth (if you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can use vegetable broth)
-2 cups of water
-3 cups of broccoli florets
-3 cups of spinach
-1 cup of green beans
-1 zucchini, sliced
-1/2 onion, sliced in 4 pieces
-3 cloves of garlic
-2 inches worth of fresh ginger
-1 teaspoon of sea salt
-pepper to taste
-1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
-1/2 lemon’s worth of fresh lemon juice
-1/2 teaspoon of chili flakes
-1 teaspoon of Greek yogurt (optional)
1. Bring the vegetable broth and water to a boil.
2. Add all of the ingredients.
3. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.
4. In small batches, transfer the vegetables to a high-powered blender. Add broth as you go, depending on how thick or thin you want the soup to be. For thicker, add less broth, and for thinner add more broth. Blend until smooth.
5. Pour the soup back into the pot and add the lemon juice and olive oil. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.
6. Ladle soup into bowls and enjoy!
Spaghetti Squash in White Wine and Mushroom Sauce
“Mushrooms contain high levels of beta-glucans, which activate macrophages and other cells that defend your body against viruses,” says Nedi. “While all varieties are beneficial, shiitake and reishi varieties are the most effective.” This recipe, which serves four, has all the flavor of a decadent pasta dish, with none of the calories and carbs of real spaghetti.
-1 spaghetti squash
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-1/2 onion, chopped
-1 cup of mushrooms, sliced
-2 tablespoon of parsley, chopped
-2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
-1/2 cup of white wine
-salt & pepper to taste
-vegan cheese for topping (optional)
1. Cut the squash in half, length wise. I suggest asking someone at the grocery store to cut it for you, they will be happy to do it.
2. Scoop the seeds out with a spoon.
3. Place the squash on a baking sheet and bake on 400F for 45-60 minutes.
4. While the squash is cooking prepare the sauce in a pan.
5. First sauté the onion and garlic for a minute.
6. Add the mushrooms and white wine. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.
7. When the squash cools, scrape out with a fork and add to the sauce mixture. Sauté for 5 minutes and serve topped with shredded vegan cheese.
Greek Yogurt Bowl
When we think of fermented foods full of probiotics, kimchi, sauerkraut and tempeh tend to come to mind. While those are all great for you, Greek yogurt is also super-beneficial for gut health—and the gut is where 70% of your immune system thrives.
Here’s what makes this breakfast ideal, according to Nedi: “The yogurt provides you with clean protein, while the bran buds, muesli and raspberries pack in the fiber and antioxidants. Tahini is a great source of healthy fats and it is high in calcium, supporting healthy bones. The fiber gold syrup is a great substitute to honey or maple syrup. It is high in fiber and only contains 3g of net carbs per two tablespoons! Cinnamon is anti-inflammatory and boosts the immune system.”
-1 (5 oz) container of grass-fed Greek yogurt or unsweetened coconut yogurt
-1/3 cup of bran buds
-1/3 cup of Bob’s Red Mill paleo-style muesli
-1/2 cup of raspberries
-1 tablespoon of tahini
-1 teaspoon of Sukrin fiber gold syrup
-1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
In a bowl, combine the yogurt, bran buds, muesli, raspberries and tahini. Drizzle with syrup and sprinkle with cinnamon.