From vigorously washing our hands to disinfecting groceries to wearing a mask and gloves—the importance of health and wellness has taken center stage over the course of this year. Everyone has taken their own approach to stay healthy—some people are exercising more regularly while others are content bringing a bottle of hand sanitizer with them wherever they go. No matter your tactic, with the ongoing battle of COVID-19 and the impending struggle of cold and flu season near, it’s important to eat a well-balanced diet to stay healthy and keep our immunities up.
Eating plenty of fruits, veggies, proteins, and healthy fats can benefit immuity health, and the nutrients found in these food items are great at keeping your immune system healthy. Fruits and vegetables have the highest source of vitamin C, which can jumpstart the immune system and reduce the length and severity of common colds. The same goes for vitamin D, but with an added punch—helping to fight off bacteria and viruses that make their way into the body. Whole grains, beans, nuts, and meats are also high in zinc, which are vital for the cells in our body that are responsible for fighting against toxins that threaten our immune system.
There are many ways to get these kinds of vitamins and minerals in our diet, and whether you’re feeling ill or simply taking precautions, there is nothing more comforting than a warm bowl of soup. It’s been proven to ward off sickness since the days of chicken noodle from a can, and while we’ve upgraded the flavor of canned soup, it is still a great way to enhance the health benefits of these ingredients. Grab your spoon and get ready to explore these tasty soup recipes to keep up your immunity. Just be careful, it might be hot!
1. Squash and Chickpea Soup
The gold standard in immunity-boosting recipes, nothing provides warmth and coziness like a steamy bowl of soup. Along with squash, this recipe is loaded with chickpeas which are an excellent source of zinc. While squash and chickpeas are the main flavor profiles to coat your pallet, the secret for a healthy immune system is in the broth. It features a powerful fusion of vitamins and minerals and ingredients loaded with anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger, turmeric, lemon, lemongrass, garlic, and dried seaweed (yes, you read that correctly) are combined to make a smooth golden-yellow broth that is full of rich and complex flavors.
You can add to the broth flavor or swap out the squash for a different vegetable if you want to experiment with different ingredients. And a helpful pro-tip—try combining a sprinkle of black pepper when stirring in the turmeric. Black pepper enhances the absorption properties found in turmeric to better reduce inflammation and improve digestion.
2. Pumpkin Turmeric Soup
Guess what? Turmeric is back again with this hearty soup recipe full of pumpkin flavor. With fall quickly approaching and pumpkin season making a brash entrance, this soup was made to enjoy while curled up in a blanket. We know how delicious pumpkin flavor is from our coffee and pie, but pumpkin is also loaded with vitamin A. This soup is a healthy choice and a great vegan recipe with a velvety smooth texture from coconut milk.
The base of the soup consists of pumpkin, ginger, onion, turmeric, coconut milk, and an optional add of red serrano pepper for spice and cilantro for a fresh garnish. And if you like to roast the fresh pumpkin seeds, you can chop up a pile of those to sprinkle on top for an added crunch and texture.
We know about the health benefits of turmeric by now, but ginger is the other big super-food on this list—known to treat indigestion and nausea. If you’re in the spirit for fresh fall flavors, this is the perfect soup recipe to enjoy any day of the week. Step aside pumpkin spice latte, there’s a new sheriff in town.
3. Chicken and Spinach Soup with Fresh Pesto
Soup is known to be a great starter dish, but what do you do when you want a soup that eats like a meal? It’s simple—try this recipe for chicken and spinach soup with fresh pesto. It’s a very bright and fragrant dish from the aroma of the basil and it’s packed with intense Italian flavor. It’s “delizioso!” This recipe allows the cook to utilize fast-cooking ingredients such as boneless chicken breast, baby spinach, and canned cannellini beans.
Along with red bell pepper, garlic, and olive oil, this dish features a homemade pesto for a fresh and herbaceous flavor to complement the richness of the chicken broth. The basil is the star of this dish with a range of antioxidants that can reduce stress and help detox your body.
It’s not authentic Italian unless you sprinkle a handful of parmesan cheese on top. You can dunk your garlic bread right into the bowl, or you can garnish with croutons if you desire a little crunch.
4. Black Bean Soup
Time to head south of the border with this recipe for black bean soup. It’s a unique recipe with ingredients you might not see regularly in soup, but with flavor this bold, you won’t second-guess a thing. Black beans are the main ingredient for texture and consistency, but coffee adds a sweet and bitter note that balances nicely, and a ham hock is included to provide a smoky, salty flavor.
The dish also includes bell pepper, onion, celery, jalapeno, garlic, and cumin—creating the perfect marriage of flavors to encompass the smooth richness of the black beans. Cilantro and sour cream round out the garnish, and the soup can be served with a warm toasted sandwich to create a more complete meal.
Beans are full of fiber and protein, which are needed to promote a healthy gut, but they are also full of potassium, which helps regulate electrolytes and maintain blood pressure. And the combination of veggies helps you get an added dose in your diet in the form of a delicious soup.
5. Asian-Inspired Chicken Soup
We mentioned chicken noodle soup earlier, but this Asian-inspired chicken soup puts Campbell’s to shame. It’s a completely customizable chicken soup in that you can add any vegetables to your liking. Savoy cabbage, mushrooms, broccoli, onions, leeks, mustard greens, bean sprouts, bok choy, celery—anything that tickles your soup fancy. Be careful not to overcook the veggies ahead of time because they will continue to cook in the hot broth and turn into mush.
Spice it up as much as your pallet can take with Sriracha or any other Asian-style chili sauce. Ladle the soup onto a big scoop of noodles for a substantial dish that can serve as your entrée. Warm broth automatically makes you feel better, but when your bowl is full of juicy chicken and fresh veggies, you’re also getting a full dose of protein and vitamins and minerals with every spoonful.
It isn’t just about eating well—staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water is also necessary to fight off sickness. An overlooked benefit of soup is that it can also increase your fluid intake during the day to help you stay hydrated. If soup isn’t your go-to meal during the fall, there are plenty of options for a healthy and delicious