The Best Immunity Soup To Keep You Healthy All Year Long
An immunity soup filled with nutrient dense herbs, spices, and veggies that are high in antimicrobial properties and immune supporting vitamins like vitamin C, making it the perfect soup to enjoy during cold and flu season.
You know the feeling — you start to feel a little under the weather and all of a sudden you are googling “how do I boost my immune system NOW”. But unfortunately this really shouldn’t be the way that we are thinking about our immune health. You see rather than waiting for your immune system to be under attack, why not just support it all year long with nutrient dense whole foods that are incredible at supporting a healthy immune system — sounds like a good idea right?
How Your Immune System Works
Your immune system is made up of a complex network of cells and organs that help protect your body from harmful infections. The lymphatic system, which is comprised of a network of lymph nodes, is a part of your immune system and releases white blood cells (lymphocytes) to fight infection. You most likely would have become aware of your immune system at work if you ever noticed that your lymph nodes around your neck, or other areas of your body, felt swollen or inflamed. This inflammation is a sign that your lymph nodes are fighting off an infection and your immune system is well at work.
But how can we support our immune system year round to ensure that we are always doing our best to protect our bodies and help our immune system do its job best.
The answer really lies in simple lifestyle behaviors that we all know we should be doing, but may not be consistently enough.
how to support your immune system
get enough sleep
Sleep is essential for supporting immune health as it is one of the few times throughout the day that your body is really in a deep state of rest and recovery. Your body has two different nervous systems, the parasympathetic and the sympathetic.
The parasympathetic is what we like to call our “rest and digest” mode. It is the state in which your body is able to fully relax, digest, and repair. It is also essential for bringing down our stress hormones and keeping our intricate body processes in sync with one another.
The sympathetic nervous system on the other hand is known as our “flight or fight” response. This is also an essential and protective body process, however the issue is that today we are staying in this sympathetic nervous system for far too long day after day. Overtime this can wreak havoc on our energy levels, immune system, and hormonal balance as this chronic state of stress becomes one of the main factors that your body is working to balance out.
All to say, this is why making sure you are getting enough sleep each night is one of the most important factors when protecting your body from unwanted illness and supporting your immune system.
consume nutrient dense foods (like this immunity soup)
This should come as no surprise, but your body needs nutrient dense foods to support its many complex functions, which also include the immune system. Nutrient dense vegetables, fruit, grains, and traditional foods like broth have an abundance of vitamins and minerals that can help the immune system work properly and influence its response.
For these reasons, I personally love making this immunity soup once the cold weather hits to ensure that I am fueling and protecting my body with the nutrients I need to stay healthy.
add immune supporting herbs
Adding immune supporting herbs is another way that you can support your immune system, and is one of the most cost effective ways in my opinion.
Garlic: Garlic is great to add to your food and consume on a daily basis, especially during cold and flu. Garlic is known for its antimicrobial properties and has been used for centuries to help the immune system fight off infection. Studies have shown that garlic can be helpful in reducing the occurrence of colds and their overall length. So load up on the garlic.
Fennel: Fennel (and fennel seeds) is most well known for its licorice like flavor, and is another food that is good for supporting the immune system. Fennel seeds in particular are rich in vitamin C and are known for helping support digestive health. Since 80% of our immune system is located in our gut it is essential that promoting good gut health be a part of supporting immune function.
Parsley: Parsley is one of my favorite herbs to include in food throughout the year because it is incredibly high in vitamin C and vitamin A both of which are critical for immune health.
The Best Immunity Soup To Keep You Healthy All Year Long
1 whole chicken
8 cups water
1 onion (quartered)
1 carrot (sliced in half)
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 leek sliced finely
1/2 fennel bulk sliced finely (core removed)
2 carrots (sliced)
3 garlic cloves (minced)
1 thumb size knob of ginger (minced)
2 tsp turmeric
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1/4 cup chopped parsley
In a large pot combine water, chicken, leek, onion, carrot, garlic, salt, and pepper.
Bring to boil over high heat and then reduce to simmer.
Allow the broth to simmer for 25 minutes, flipping the chicken half way, and remove from heat once chicken has cooked fully.
Next remove the chicken from the broth and place on a cutting board.
Then strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer, making sure to catch the broth in a separate bowl.
In the same large pot over medium heat combine olive oil, leek, fennel, garlic, ginger, turmeric, and fennel seeds.
Allow the spices and vegetables to cook until slightly softened, stirring consistently with a wooden spoon to keep from sticking to the pot.
Once vegetables have cooked slightly, add the broth back into the pot, bring to a boil and then add the rice.
Reduce the heat and bring the soup to a simmer over medium-low heat, and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes add the sliced carrots and continue to simmer.
While soup is simmering pull the chicken from the bone and shred using a fork.
Add the shredded chicken to the soup and continue simmering for an additional 5 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked in the soup.
Serve hot and sprinkle with parsley and additional salt and pepper to taste.