Growing up, no matter what your religion, you surely ate some “Jewish Penicillin”. And throughout the years, with all the different batches, the effects always seemed sure-fire in their impact….at least for me. Of course, “Jewish Penicillin”, or chicken soup, provides real nourishment when made from scratch. From the protein to the vegetables, this liquid meal was sure to help provide the energy needed to ward off illnesses. But there is something more to it. There’s got to be!
So with the pain in the ass “weather changing cold and flu” season kicking into full gear, it’s time to be pro-active. Because there is nothing worse than missing out on some of the amazing fall nights, when the sun still exists after work, because your head is murky, heavy, and full of crap…
So since Em and I have both been feeling the beginning stages of cold’s coming on, I was going to do my best to reinforce our immune systems using one of the most powerful meds out there: Soup! My homemade miso was packed with immune system boosters and comforting ingredients including aduki beans, dandelion greens, shitake mushrooms, ginger, garlic, and of course miso. And this mix goes well beyond the warming effects of soup. Look out “jewish penicillin”, you may have just been replaced!
Miso – This fermented soy bean product is an extremely potent source of vitamin B12 along with one of the most crucial minerals, zinc, for immune function. Along the same lines, our soy intake has gone through the rough as the health claims surrounding the beans have received a ton of press. But the real health benefits come form the fermentation process, so miso is a perfect addition!
Dandelion Greens – You would have had to be living under a rock to not have heard that dark greens are one of the best foods for you. Packed with antioxidants, greens like spinach, kale, and swiss chard have been touted as diet must-haves. And dandelion greens may pack even more. Despite their bitter taste, I love their addition as a flavor balancer and for the natural benefits in digestion!
Shitake Mushrooms – Shitakes are one of those less talked about health foods, but they are absolutely packed with the good stuff. A great source of one of the most powerful antioxidants and a healthy dosing of iron make these shrooms great for you. But the presence of lentinan, a polysaccharide, is where the health legend really gets its power. Shown to seriously boost the immune system, lentinan is reason enough to keep shitakes in your weekly routine. The added bonus: they taste amazing, and there is a ton of locally cultivated mushrooms available!
Ginger – The spicy and fruity flavors of ginger make it one of my favorite ingredients. But ginger has forever been used to ease stomach pain and more and more recently as an anti-inflammatory agent. Simply put…eat some more ginger!
Garlic – Great for warding off vampires, and illnesses: Enough said!
Aduki beans – The presence of these beans goes well beyond their abundance of protein and vitamins. Fiber is a crucial piece to our diet, not because cereal companies say so, but because fiber is key to absorption. Fiber slows down our systems giving ample time for all those great vitamins and nutrients to be absorbed.
So as more and more people show up to work with the sniffles, and you start to feel some scratchiness in your throat, don’t forget to take advantage of these powerful ingredients and get to soup making!