A nourishing and immune supportive soup
In Autumn I find that at least one member of the family is invariably fighting off one bug or another, so it’s important to me to feed us all with a regular supply of nourishing, immune supportive foods. This Autumn soup is based on seasonal ingredients – apples, pumpkins, onions and sage, all of which have properties that help to support the immune system. A tin of beans is added for protein, fibre and to thicken the soup. All these ingredients have the added bonus that they’re cheap.
You could use any pumpkin or squash for this – the vibrant orange colour indicates that it is packed with beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A in our body. Vitamin A is a really important nutrient for the immune system, and plays a large role in keeping our mucous membranes healthy, so that viruses find it harder to enter the body.
I usually scoop the seeds out of the pumpkin, give them a quick wash and dry on kitchen towel before mixing with a little olive oil and sea salt. They’re a plant source of anti-inflammatory Omega 3 fats, but also rich in zinc, which also really supports the immune system. Roast them for around 15-20 minutes at 160 degrees C and you’ll have a delicious crunchy snack to enjoy while you’re waiting for your soup. I like to serve the soup scattered with a few roasted pumpkin seeds too.
Onion and sage both have antimicrobial properties, and although you wouldn’t necessarily equate apples with immune support, the old adage ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ does have a little truth in it. Apples, particularly the skin, are a great source of the antioxidant quercetin, which isn’t found in large quantities in many other foods. They’re also gentle on the digestive system, so help this soup to slip down easily if you’re feeling a little under the weather.
If you have your own homemade chicken stock to use, then you’ll be nourishing your immune system even more!
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