It’s getting to that time of year when you can swap horror stories between your friends about the cold you have, or the bug you caught and it’s beyond tempting to wrap yourself in cotton wool and hide away for the winter and avoid all germs! Well, that’s not realistic or desirable so instead, the best we can do is try and boost our immune systems and say “Bring on the snot!” (Sorry!)
- A cup of pumpkin contains almost twice the amount of vitamin A that you need. Vitamin A is not only good for your eye health it is also needed for repair of the skin, bones, and teeth. One cup also contains 20% of your daily vitamin C which will really help boost that immune system and help you heal from colds as quickly as possible. Pumpkin is also loaded with beta-carotene which is a powerful antioxidant.
- Peppers are extremely high in vitamin c which is the bodies powerhouse when fighting off colds. They too contain the antioxidant beta-carotene. On top of all that they contain lycopene which is great for helping to guard your cells against harm from oxidative stress.
- Coconut oil contains Laurie acid which can kill harmful pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
- Garlic really is your best friend when it comes to killing off the nasties in your body. It is such a powerful antioxidant that it can even help eliminate heavy metals from your body! Garlic has been proven in many studies to not only reduce your risk of getting a cold but to shorten the length of your cold if you happen to have one.
- Shallots may be small but they really are mighty and they are thought to contain more flavonoid and phenol antioxidants than onions! This makes them a great anti-inflammatory food.
- Ginger is one of the healthiest foods going. The active ingredient in ginger can help lower your risk of infections. It can inhibit the growth of many types of bacteria and prevent respiratory infections. It’s also great for reducing muscle inflammation and menstrual pain.
- Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. Their antioxidant activity is comparable to vitamin C and E.
- Coconut milk is loaded with vitamins and minerals to help keep your body working in top condition. Coconuts are rich in fibre, vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6 and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. And it tastes awesome too!
- Chillies can help open the nasal passage and clear congestion. Great when you are suffering from a blocked nose. Similar to the other vegetables in this recipe they contain beta-carotene and vitamin C to help reduce inflammation and detox the body.
- Pumpkin seeds are a fantastic source of zinc which is also readily absorbed by the body. (Some sources of plant-based zinc aren’t well absorbed.) Zinc acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.
Immune boosting pumpkin soup
Today I bring you a warming and comforting, immune boosting soup that is cleverly parcelled up as a food treat! Yum!
- 1 small pumpkin or squash
- 1 orange pepper
- 1 tbs coconut oil or oil of choice
- 3 cloves garlic5 shallots
- Thumb size piece of fresh ginger
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 400 ml tin coconut milk
- 500 ml vegetable stock
- 1 red chilli for topping optional
- Pumpkin seeds for topping optional
- Seasoning to taste
Take the top off your pumpkin and pepper and remove the insides. (Save the pumpkin seeds for topping later, method below.)
Pop the pumpkin, pepper, and half of the coconut oil into a roasting tray and roast them until soft. (This will vary depending on your pumpkin size. Ours took around 40 minutes.)
Chop your garlic, onion, and ginger and fry in the remaining coconut oil until soft. (Do this in a large pan as this will be what you make your soup in.)
When your pumpkin is cooked and cooled a little, scoop the soft flesh out and add to your soup pan
Rip the pepper up a little and add it in too
Blend with a hand blender and season to taste
If you want to use the pumpkin seeds to top your soup then follow this method for preparation:
After taking the seeds out of the pumpkin pop them in a colander and rinse and separate the strings from the seeds. Then leave them to soak in a bowl of water overnight
Throw away the soaking water and dry the seeds with a paper towel. Then lie them on a baking sheet and spray with coconut oil and sprinkle with salt
Bake in the on Gas mark 3 / 325f for around 20-30 minutes. (It will depend on seed size) They should be golden brown. If the seeds are small then the shells should be nice and crunchy and fine to eat but the bigger seeds may be a little tougher so, for these I would remove the shells once cooled
Top your soup with the salty, toasted seeds and chopped red chilli for a complete meal in a bowl.
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