One of the best ways to avoid getting sick is preventing your immune system from becoming depressed so it can do its job efficiently. And this chicken soup recipe is exactly what the doctor ordered! Plus! Get 5 bonus immunity boosting tips to read while the chicken soup is simmering.
Guest post by our good friend Kathy Vetos: Immunity Boosting Coconut Chicken Soup.
This immunity boosting chicken soup is a variation on the popular Thai soup, Tom Ka Gai.
Why I love this soup: Half the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut milk are composed of lauric acid, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. It can also help control candida (yeast) overgrowth which can be a very important part of healing your digestive system if you’ve already been on antibiotics.
This recipe is filled with other antimicrobial foods including lemongrass, garlic, ginger, lime juice, chilis, shitake mushrooms, and basil. It is also full of antioxidant rich vitamins and minerals which boost immunity. Top antioxidants for boosting immunity include vitamin C, E, beta-carotene and zinc.
Yield: Serves 6
- 2 14-ounce cans organic coconut milk*
- 3 cups organic low sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups thinly sliced shitake mushrooms
- 6 tablespoons finely chopped lemongrass*
- 1/4 cup fish sauce (nam pla)*
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
- 1 serrano chili, sliced into rounds (or to spice tolerance)
- 2 teaspoons thai chili-garlic sauce* (or to spice tolerance)
- 1 thinly sliced medium sized carrot
- 4 skinless boneless chicken thighs, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced basil
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
* You can currently find all of these Asian ingredients at Sunflower Market
Combine first 9 ingredients in large saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 10 minutes to blend flavors. Add chicken; simmer until cooked through, about 5-10 minutes. Mix in green onions, basil and lime juice and serve.
Other Immunity Boosting Tips:
- Limit sugar consumption to less that 50 grams per day including natural fruit sugars (1 medium apple has about 18.9 g). One estimate for average sugar intake per day per person in the US is 150 grams. To calculate teaspoons divide by 4 for a whopping 37.5 teaspoons of sugar per day. One study mentioned in Dr. Michael Murray’s Encyclopedia of Healing Foods found that 100 grams of sugar significantly reduce the ability of white blood cells (neutrophils) to engulf and destroy bacteria. These effects start within 30 minutes of ingestion and can last up to five hours. The conclusion is many of us are walking around with chronically depressed immune systems from sugar consumption alone.
- Eat a whole foods based diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables and adequate protein. Nutrient deficiencies is one of the number one reasons for a depressed immune system and while most of us get plenty of calories, we are often lacking adequate nutrition.
- Get Plenty of Sleep. Most of us need at least 7 hours per night for healthy immune function.
- Reduce Stress. Stress increases levels of adrenal gland hormones adrenaline and corticosteroids which in excess inhibit white blood cell formation. Try different stress reducing techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or our Sunday morning yoga class.
- Exercise! Getting your heart rate up for 20 minutes just three times a week is associated with increased immune function. Regular exercise increases the level of leukocytes, an immune system cell that fights infection. Exercise also is associated with increased release of endorphins, natural hormones that pump up your sense of well being and improve sleep quality, both of which have positive effects on your immune system (from WebMD).