Before we get to the recipes, it's important to know WHY you want to build up your immune system, and more importantly, WHAT does your immune system even do?
What is Immunity?
Our immunity is our bodies ability to fight off a foreign organism, like an infection or a virus. When your body senses a foreign substance, our immune response is to produce antibodies. Antibodies fight the germs, which we call antigens. When your immunity is at its strongest, you produce more antibodies, which means you have more good guys fighting on your side.
So if your “it’s just allergies” coworker takes a sip of your coffee, or that guy on the subway wasn’t covering his mouth while coughing, you have a lesser chance of their antigens taking over your body and getting you sick.
As you age, your immune response decreases. This is why it's especially important for the elderly to improve their immunity through diet because they are more susceptible to lasting damage and even fatality through common sicknesses like colds and the flu.
Which Diet Boost Immunity Best?
Ok, so if a strong immune system is the goal, how can you get there? Look to your plate!
You can boost your immunity naturally (AKA create more antibodies) by adding more fruits and veggies to your diet! Diets that promote 5-6 servings of fruits and veggies a day are proven to boost your immune response and antibody production.
While both fruits and veggies lessen your chances of getting sick, they work best when eaten in combination.
And when it comes to quantity, the more the better! The consumption of more than 6 servings of fruits and veggies was associated with an even higher immunity response (go figure)!
A whole food plant-based diet (healthy vegan diet) consistently contains the most servings of fruits and veggies of any diet and therefore is the best diet for immunity boosting.
4 Simple Plant-Based Recipes for Immunity-Boosting Soup
1. Lemon Lentil Soup
Refreshing, hearty, flavorful. This unique all season Lemon Lentil Soup is packed with healthy, healing ingredients like garlic, lemon and turmeric. Not to mention lentils are immunity-boosting superstars. Enjoy this anti-inflammatory recipe hot with crushed black pepper, or pour it over a baked sweet potato.
2. Creamy Golden Soup
This anti-inflammatory turmeric soup is loaded with immunity boosting goodness. It's creamy, it's flavorful, and it hit's the spot after a long day of chilly noses and wet toes.
3. Spicy Carrot Soup
Spicy, creamy, tangy, sweet, this whole food plant-based carrot soup has it all. Not only is it one of my favorite simple plant-based recipes, but it's beautiful and flavorful! Oh, and it’s and packed with important vitamins (and a completely oil-free recipe). Carrots are amazing for eye health, so make sure to load them into your diet so you can enjoy this beautiful world to the fullest.
4. Blender Soups
Looking for an easy way to stay on track with your whole food plant-based diet this cold and flu season? Keep it simple, sweetie...and make blender soups! These two simple plant-based recipes can be chilled or heated up for hearty, delicious, and so so easy meal.
No Time to Cook? Let MamaSezz Keep You Healthy and Full!
Really, any fruit or veggie will help to increase your immune response, but there are a few in particular that take the (carrot) cake...and spoiler: they're not all citrus! Want to load up on immunity-boosting superfoods this winter but stretched thin? Get ready-made and delicious soups delivered to your door by MamaSezz! Some of our immunity-boosting best-sellers...
1. Millie’s Chili
Tomatoes are an absolute superfood. Not only are they delicious, they also contain compounds that prevent sun damage, have been associated with a lower chance of cancer, and can reduce the risk of heart disease.
Tomatoes also have incredible immunity-boosting compounds. In one study, subjects stopped including fruits and veggies from their diet. No surprise: their immune response plummeted. But by adding just 1 ½ cups of tomato juice a day to their nutrient-deficient diet, they were able to stabilize their immunity to where they were before they took fruits and veggies out altogether.
While other vegetables did help increase immunity in this study, none had an effect as drastic as the tomatoes.
Sound good? Get your tomato on with our comforting and always plant-based Millie's Chili.
2. Hungarian Mushroom Soup
Mushrooms are a big time immunity-booster. They are able to increase antibody production while decreasing inflammation. One study demonstrates that with just one cup of white button mushrooms a day, the IGA antibody production in saliva doubles. Even crazier? It stays that way for two weeks after eating the mushrooms!
Get your fill with our creamy, dreamy, vegan take on Hungarian Mushroom Soup.
3. Creamy Broccoli Soup
Your mom was right: eat your broccoli! We know that not everyone is on the cruciferous veggie train, but if you hate them, it may be time to reconsider.
Cruciferous veggies — like broccoli, kale, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts — are some of the strongest immunity-boosting foods out there and are required for proper immune response. Yep, compounds found in these veggies are “essential for sustaining intestinal immune function.”
Use the code: CHEF to get 10% off your entire order of whole food plant-based meals, delivered.
Caroline is a plant-based chef, recipe designer, and whole food plant-based nutrition educator, with a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.