By Sarah Axtell, ND • December 26, 2011
After a lot of traveling and the usual hustle-and-bustle of the holidays, my family is feeling a bit under the weather. My 3-year-old daughter and husband have a cough and a cold, and I am feeling a tickle in my throat on the verge of acquiring the virus they likely have. Luckily, Louisa, my 3 month old, is happy and healthy thanks to trusty mama’s milk.
I have long-lived by the philosophy, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” While herbal tinctures and nutritional supplements are effective, I prefer to start with food as medicine at the beginning of an illness and then add in appropriate natural therapies if needed.
The Health Benefits of this Soup
This soup is full of vital nutrients that support a healthy immune system. The lemon juice provides vitamin C and aids in the absorption of iron from the green leafy vegetable, kale. Ginger, garlic, and onion are all anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory, which will help fight off the pathogen and decrease the resulting inflammation. I add the garlic at the end (as opposed to sauteing it in the beginning with the onion) because its anti-microbial effects are most potent when raw. In addition to ginger, garlic, and onions, turmeric is also a potent anti-inflammatory herb. Mushrooms, specifically shitake, have many medicinal properties such as modulating the immune system. The coconut oil contains lauric acid, which is then converted to monolaurin in the human body. Monolaurin has the ability to destroy lipid-coated viruses, such as the flu virus. Miso is a fermented soybean paste that is rich in probiotics, or the “good” bacteria that will help fight infection. It is added at the end to prevent the beneficial bacteria from dying off in the high heat of the soup.
So here is my immune-strengthening soup recipe that is on the menu for tonight. It’s easy and very nourishing!
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- 10 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 bunch of kale, chopped
- 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
- 2 tsps of turmeric (dried or fresh)
- 1 can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup shitake mushrooms
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/4 cup brown rice miso paste
- 1/4 cup water
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. In a large soup pot, saute the onion in the coconut oil on medium heat for approx. 3-5 minutes.
2. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the garlic and miso, and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 20 minutes.
3. Add the minced garlic and simmer on low heat for 5-10 minutes.
4. Whisk the miso paste, lemon juice and the water together in a separate bowl. Add to soup pot. Season with salt and pepper.
Enjoy and Be Well!
Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.