Tag: minerals

Immune-Boosting Recipes

Staying healthy is more important now than ever as we learn to navigate through our new reality. Nourishing our bodies with healthy food not only helps us fight infection, but it also helps us: manage our weight, prevent disease, gain energy, and promote longevity. 

I am so excited to share these five healthy recipes with you. Not only are they delicious, but the ingredients and spices were carefully and purposefully selected for their containment of specific nutrients that help support a healthy immune system. Every dish hits the 7 major immune boosting nutrients: Vitamins A, C, D, E, probiotics, zinc. Not to mention spices, such as garlic and turmeric, are utilized for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

The main dish includes: Salmon & Vegetable Skewers with a Nonfat Greek Yogurt Tzatziki Sauce. Side dishes include: Quinoa & Spinach, Cucumber, Tomato, & Avocado Salad with a Garlic, Lemon, & Olive Oil Dressing. For dessert, you have an antioxidant packed fruit salad.

This meal is not full of immune boosting nutrients, but it is perfectly balanced as it includes foods from all five food groups. If you are vegetarian, you can always substitute tofu for salmon. If you are vegan, you can substitute the nonfat Greek yogurt with a non-dairy yogurt substitute.

I recommend batch cooking the salad, quinoa, and fruit salad to save yourself time later on in the week with meal prep.

I would love to hear your comments if you try any of the recipes. Happy cooking!

Salmon & Vegetable Skewers with Nonfat Yogurt Tzatziki Sauce

 

 

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 10-15 minutes

Serves: 4 people

 

Ingredients:

  • Wooden skewers (any length)
  • 1 pound of fresh salmon (remove the skin and bones)
  • 1 medium zucchini or squash
  • 2 bell peppers (choose a variety)
  • 4 Tablespoons olive or grapeseed oil
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Pepper to taste (optional)
  • 8 oz. nonfat, plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ medium cucumber
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 10 mint leaves
  • Food safe gloves

Preparation:

  1. Submerge the wooden skewers in ice cold water. Set a timer for 30 minutes
  2. Pour 8 oz of nonfat Greek yogurt into a bowl.
  3. Peel ½ a medium cucumber. Grate it using the largest-sized blades. Then squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can until the pieces feel dry. Set it aside.
  4. Chiffonade 10 mint leaves by stacking them on top of each other, rolling them up, then making small cuts with a knife.
  5. Combine the cucumber, mint, 2 tsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice, ½ tsp minced fresh garlic, and ¼ tsp kosher salt in the yogurt. Mix well until the contents are evenly distributed. Store in the refrigerator until use.
  6. Remove the skin and bones from the salmon using deboning tweezers. Carefully cut the salmon into 1” in cubes. The pieces need to be large enough to put through the wooden skewer. 1 pound of salmon yields roughly 25-30 1” pieces.
  7. Chop the zucchini and bell peppers into 1” pieces and place them into a bowl.
  8. Combine 4 Tbsp of olive or grapeseed oil, ¼ tsp turmeric, ¼ tsp cumin, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp paprika, and ½ tsp Kosher salt into a bowl and mix with a spoon.
  9. Put on food safe gloves to avoid staining your hands, clothes, linens, and surfaces.
  10. Pour the marinade over the zucchini and bell peppers and using your hands, ensure it evenly coats all of the contents in the bowl. Next, carefully add your salmon into the bowl and coat each piece with the marinade.
  11. Remove wooden skewers from ice cold water.
  12. Assemble your skewers as desired.
  13. Turn the stove top on medium heat. Place the assembled skewers on the grill pan. Grill each side of the salmon for 1-2 min/side or until fully cooked. There are a total of 4 sides. The salmon should be a bright pink color when fully cooked. Let the pieces cool before serving.

Tips: 

  • Substitute salmon for extra-firm tofu or skinless, boneless chicken breast.
  • If you are vegan, lactose intolerant, or allergic to dairy, you can substitute the nonfat Greek yogurt for a non-dairy yogurt.
  • You can cook the skewers in the oven instead of grill them. Set the oven at 350 degrees and cook for 15 minutes, making sure to rotate them so that all sides of the salmon are cooked.
  • You can also BBQ them.
  • Use any extra mint leaves to make spa water.

Spinach, Avocado, Tomato, & Cucumber Salad with a Garlic, Lemon, & Olive Oil Dressing

Prep time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4 people

 

 Ingredients:

  • 8 cups of baby spinach
  • 1 cup of cherry tomatoes (about 16 pieces) (halved)
  • 1 medium avocado
  • ½ medium cucumber
  • Mason jar
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt

Preparation:

  1. In a mason jar, combine ¾ cup olive oil with ¼ cup lemon juice. Add 2 garlic cloves, ¼ tsp pepper, and 1 tsp salt. Shake everything together and store it in the refrigerator.
  2. Place 8 cups of spinach in a bowl.
  3. Cut the 1 cup of tomatoes in half, chop ½ of a cucumber, and cut up 1 medium avocado. Add the tomato, cucumber, and avocado in the bowl. Set aside.

Tips: 

  • Double up on the recipe to sneak in more vegetables or to have as leftovers.
  • You can substitute baby spinach for kale, baby spring mix, or chopped romaine.
  • If you suffer from kidney stones, substitute the spinach for one of the options above
  • To cut the avocado, hold each end with your hands. Slide the knife directly in the center and rotate the avocado until your knife has made its way around the entire thing. Use your hands to rotate it open and remove the pit.
  • You can add any extra herbs or spices to the dressing (rosemary, thyme, oregano) for added flavor

Quinoa

 

Cook time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4 people

 

 Ingredients:

  • ⅔ cup of dry quinoa (any color)
  • 1 ⅓ cups of water

 Preparation:

  1. Optional: pour ⅔ cup of dry quinoa into a fine mesh colander and rinse under running water for at least 30 seconds and drain well. This step helps remove any bitterness 
  2. Combine ⅔ cup quinoa and 1 ⅓ cup of water in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat for 10-20 minutes, then decrease the heat to maintain a gentle simmer.
  3. Remove the quinoa from the heat. Let it steam on the stovetop for an additional 5 minutes keeping the lid on. This step gives the quinoa time to pop open, so it’s nice and fluffy. 

Tips: 

  • You can substitute the quinoa with a whole-grain option such as: brown rice, buckwheat, farro, amaranth, etc.

Fruit Salad

 

Prep time: 5 minutes

Serves: 4 people

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cartons of raspberries
  • 1 carton of blueberries
  • 1 carton of blackberries
  • 4 cuties

Preparation:

  1. Rinse and dry all of the berries. Combine them in a large bowl.
  2. Peel the cuties, ensuring you remove any fibrous pieces.
  3. Add cuties to your bowl and mix the fruit together.

Tips: 

  • You can substitute any of the berries for a different berry of your choice.
  • Cuties can be substituted for oranges or grapefruit slices

These recipes were developed and are owned by Melody Sayers, MS, RDN, NASM-CPT. They cannot be published or adapted without permission from the owner. Reposting or sharing must include an acknowledgement of the original recipe owner @elevateyourplate. Please contact elevateyourplatenutrition@gmail.com to be granted permission access for republishing or adaptation.

Nutrition for Immunity Support

As people around the world cope with the coronavirus pandemic, we find ourselves asking whether there are any particular foods we can eat to boost our body’s natural defense system. While regular hand washing and self-isolating have now become part of our daily routines, there are several key nutrients we can focus on, which support a strong and healthy immune system.

Protein 

  • Immunity Functions:
    • Amino acids (the building block of protein), play an important role in immune response by activating the “killer” cells that destroy bacteria and harmful cells
    • Amino acids regulate the production of antibodies, which are proteins in the blood that bind to specific invaders, such as germs, viruses, or tumor cells. Without antibodies, bacteria and viruses would be free to multiply in the body
  • Recommended Daily Amount (RDA):
    • Adults 18+ years: 0.8 grams/kg body weight
    • More is needed during pregnancy, lactation, illness, sports, and advanced age
  • Dietary Sources of Protein:
    • Animal (contain all 9 essential amino acids): meat, chicken, fish, eggs, milk
    • Plant-based (contain all 9 essential amino acids): tofu, tempeh, edamame, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, hemp seeds
    • Plant-based (missing 1 or more essential amino acid): Nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, lentils
  • Supplemental Facts:
    • Protein supplements are generally not needed because most Americans consume more than the RDA
    • Ensure you eat a variety of protein sources from the options listed above

Vitamin C

  • Immunity Functions:
    • Our bodies cannot make the vitamin; therefore, we must obtain it from food
    • Serves as an antioxidant that fights against free radicals in the body
    • Stimulates white blood cells at the site of infection and enhances microbial killing
    • Helps prevent or delay certain cancers and heart disease, promote healthy aging, and prevent and treat respiratory and full-body infections
    • Vitamin C intake cannot prevent a common cold; however, some evidence shows that doses of >200 mg/day may decrease the length or severity of symptoms by >1 day. Taking Vitamin C after symptoms begin does not appear to be beneficial
  • Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA):
    • Men 19+ years of age: 90 milligrams
    • Women 19+ years of age: 75 milligrams
  • Dietary Sources of Vitamin C:
    • Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit and tangerines, red/yellow bell peppers, papaya, strawberries, berries, cantaloupe, tomatoes, broccoli, cherries, guavas, spinach, kale, kiwis
  • Supplemental Facts:
    • Make sure to look at the labels of Vitamin C boosting products such as: Emergen-C, Ester-C, and Airborne. They often contain syrups, added sugar, dyes, and other additives
    • Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning the body does not store it. This is particularly important for those who overload on supplements, for the body will just excrete any excess via the urine
    • Always ensure you obtain Vitamin C through food sources first, before resorting to a supplement

Probiotics 

  • Immunity Functions:
    • Live microorganisms or “good” bacteria that support a healthy microbiome
    • Inhibit the growth of harmful microorganisms in the GI tract, neutralize toxins, produce cytokines (messenger molecules that help immune cells work together against an infection)
    • A 2015 evaluation of 12 studies with 3,720 total participants found that people taking probiotics may have fewer and shorter upper respiratory infections. However, the quality of evidence was low. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium have the strongest antiviral activity against respiratory viruses, particularly influenza virus type A
  • Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA):
    • More research is needed on the recommended dosage, however 1 – 10 billion colony-forming units (CFU)— the amount contained in a capsule or two — can be safely taken several days per week
  • Dietary Sources of Probiotics:
    • Cultured dairy products such as yogurt and fermented foods such as: kimchi, kombucha (a fermented tea), sauerkraut (fermented cabbage), miso (a fermented soybean-based paste), and raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • Supplemental Facts:
    • Always ensure you obtain probiotics through food sources first, before resorting to a supplement
    • Supplements can be found in different forms. Ensure the supplement has a variety of bacterial strains and does not include any additives

Vitamin A

  • Immunity Functions:
    • A fat-soluble vitamin that helps protect against infections by keeping skin and tissues in the mouth, stomach, intestines, and respiratory system healthy
    • Beta-carotene is an antioxidant which protects cells from free radical damage
    • Involved in the production and function of white blood cells, which help capture and clear bacteria and other pathogens from your bloodstream
  • Recommended Daily Amount (RDA):
    • Men 18+ years of age: 900 micrograms
    • Women 18+ years of age: 700 micrograms
  • Dietary Sources of Vitamin A:
    • Sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, spinach, red bell peppers, squash, pumpkin, cantaloupe, apricots, mangoes
    • Dairy/meat: beef liver, eggs, salmon, tuna, fortified milks, yogurt, cheese
  • Supplemental Facts:
    • Always ensure you obtain Vitamin A through food sources first, before resorting to a supplement

Vitamin E 

  • Immunity Functions:
    • A fat-soluble vitamin that increase the body’s immune response and function by acting as a powerful antioxidant against free radicals
  • Recommended Daily Amount (RDA):
    • Men and women 14+ years of age: 15 milligrams
  • Dietary Sources of Vitamin E:
    • Fortified cereals, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, almonds, vegetable oils (such as sunflower or safflower oil), hazelnuts, peanut butter, peanuts, broccoli, spinach
  • Supplemental Facts:
    • Always ensure you obtain Vitamin E through food sources first, before resorting to a supplement

Vitamin D

  • Immunity Functions:
    • A fat-soluble vitamin naturally produced in the body via sun exposure
    • Can help reduce the risk of acute respiratory infections, including colds and flu, particularly among people who are severely deficient or those with little exposure to sunlight
    • Immune cells (B and T cells) from multiple autoimmune diseases appear to respond well to Vitamin D
  • Recommended Daily Amount (RDA):
    • Adults 19-70 years of age: 600 IU
    • Adults 71+ years of age: 800 IU
    • Upper limit: 4,000 IU/day
  • Dietary Sources of Vitamin D: there are very limited food sources of Vitamin D, so it is important to incorporate them as frequently as possible
    • Fatty fish such as: salmon, tuna, mackerel, swordfish, cod liver oil, dairy (choose non-fat options): milk, yogurt, cheese, beef liver, mushrooms exposed to UV light for at least 10 minutes, and fortified non-dairy milks and 100% orange juice
  • Supplemental Facts:
    • Vitamin D is made from cholesterol when your skin is exposed to the sun’s UVB rays. Spend 10-30 minutes in the sun daily without sunscreen, then immediately apply sunscreen. The best time of day to get sun is midday 10AM-3PM
    • At nutritional doses Vitamins D2 and D3 are equivalent, but at higher doses Vitamin D2 is less potent. If you need purchase a supplement, choose Vitamin D3
    • Always ensure you obtain Vitamin D through food sources first, before resorting to a supplement

Zinc 

  • Immunity Functions:
    • A mineral that helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses
    • There is no evidence that zinc doses >100 mg/day leads to better treatment of the cold. However, taking zinc at the beginning of a cold may shorten its duration
  • Recommended Daily Amount (RDA):
    • Men 19+ years of age: 11 mg
    • Women 19+ years of age: 8 mg
  • Dietary Sources of Zinc:
    • Oysters, beef, crab, lobster, beans, chicken, pumpkin seeds, cashews, chickpeas, whole-grains
    • Zinc is best absorbed from animal sources. Foods such as whole-grains and legumes have phytates, which bind to zinc and inhibit its absorption
  • Supplemental Facts:
    • Aside from vegetarians and vegans, most Americans get enough zinc in their diet
    • Supplements may interfere with certain medications and could cause side effects such as loss of taste
    • Long-term zinc consumption over 40 mg/day for adults can result in copper deficiency
    • Always ensure you obtain zinc through food sources first, before resorting to a supplement

Other nutrients that support a healthy immune response include: Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, copper, folate, selenium, and iron. Several herbs have also been linked to an increased immune response including: ginger, ginseng, elderberry, turmeric, and garlic. In addition to eating a diet rich in the immune-supporting nutrients listed above, ensure you sleep 7-9 hours a night and keep your stress levels to a minimum. By following these recommendations, you can help reinforce your body’s fight against infection and foreign invaders.

 

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17403271

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