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Soups to ward off the unseasonable chill

With wintry conditions going on and on and no sign of abating, health-boosting soups can ward off the unseasonable chill. It’s no wonder why our immune systems may be flagging. Easter holidays travel chaos has also meant high stress levels for people en route to holiday destinations and get togethers with friends and families. Stress is known to suppress immunity, so put the lid on circulating bugs and blitz yourself up a cocktail of immune boosting delicious soups.

Thai Green Chicken Soup: Activate your immune system and keep yourself in tip-top shape with this hearty Asian chicken soup. Thai green paste consists of a delicious combination of health boosting spices and herbs. The paste is prepared using a blend of various ingredients to include; Thai green chilies, garlic, onions, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and galangal. Galangal, a member of the ginger family has been found to stimulate digestion, reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, and protect against cancer. In fact a 2017 study that looked at various compounds from galangal reported that the Asian root suppressed the growth of new pancreatic cancer cells.

Fry 2-3 cloves of garlic in 1 tbsp of coconut butter.
Add in some shredded chicken and cook with a few splashes of water when required.
Next pour in a tin of coconut milk with 1 cup of water, along with 2 tbsp green curry paste or according to taste.
Finally add in some vegetables of your choice such as carrots, red or green peppers, broccoli & sweet corn.
Let the vegetables soften and add in some more water if required to create a soupy consistency.

Spiced Moroccan Chickpea Soup: This vegetarian protein packed delight consists of chickpeas that are not only a great source of protein, but also contains various other nutrients. Chickpeas are rich in fiber, B Vitamins (including folate), magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc. Interestingly, the mineral zinc has been shown to strengthen the immune system, and reduce the severity of the common cold, as well as shorten its duration. Combined with immune boosting onions, garlic and ginger, this combination is sure to zap those bugs away.

Heat some oil or butter in a pan and gently fry 1 chopped onion, a small chunk of ginger and 4-5 cloves of garlic.
Add in 1-2 red chillies, ½ tsp ground cumin, ½ tsp ground cinnamon, 1-2 green peppers, 2-3 tomatoes and 1 liter of chicken stock.
Next add in 800g of chickpeas with 1cup couscous or preferably quinoa for an additional boost of protein.
Bring the soup to boil, then turn down the heat and leave to simmer.
Blitz the soup in a food blender, or alternatively with a stick blender and thin the soup with some water to get the consistency as you like it.
Season according to your preference with salt and pepper.

Brazilian Prawn Soup: Tantalize your taste buds with this incredibly delicious creamy tomato soup. An antioxidant found in tomatoes known as lycopene is believed to protect cells against damage from free radicals that may compromise immunity. Interestingly, several studies report that the intake of lycopene rich foods have been associated with reduced prostate cancer risk. In addition, tomatoes are a fantastic source of other nutrients to include; Vitamins C, A, K, various B Vitamins including folate, as well as potassium and magnesium. The soup also contains garlic that has been found to possess antiviral and antibacterial properties.

Fry an onion in a drizzle of oil with 2-3 cloves of garlic and 1 red pepper.
Pour in a 400g can or carton of chopped tomatoes, a 400g can of coconut milk and the juice of 1 fresh lime or lemon.
Next, add 200g of defrosted prawns – Let them cook.
Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste, along with ½ tsp red crushed chillies.
Finally, add in a cup of cooked wild rice or quinoa to speed things up.
Decorate with parsley and enjoy.

Tuscan Bean Soup: The beans in this soup provide a great source of protein. Interestingly, we require sufficient amounts of protein for the optimum functioning of the immune system. With the addition of chicken stock or broth, the soup is even more nourishing. Chicken stock or broth has been found to be incredibly nourishing as it is rich in various nutrients and amino acids (arginine, glutamine & cysteine) that support the immune system. In addition, the soup is blended with turmeric to provide an even more powerful kick. Turmeric has made its mark as a “superfood”, it has been found to have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.

Gently Sauté 1 onion and 1 celery stick until softened in a knob of butter.
Add in 2-3 carrots, 4-5 cloves of garlic, 1 litre of chicken stock or broth, 1 tsp turmeric, ½ tsp paprika, 1 tsp oregano, along with salt and pepper to taste.
Next add in 2 cups of a variety of beans of your choice such as butter beans, black beans and kidney beans.
Blitz with a stick blender to the consistency that you prefer.
Garnish with mint leaves.

Kale & Lentil Soup: The combination of kale and lentils is a practical and appetizing way to sneak in dark green leafy vegetables into your diet. Kale is an anti-inflammatory food that is rich in iron and immune boosting vitamin C, as well as Vitamin A, fiber, calcium and sulphur which is great for detoxifying the body. Kale is a powerful immune booster, several research studies have reported that kale even has anti-cancer properties. This soup recipe also requires fresh lemon juice which is rich in immune boosting vitamin C.

Boil 6-8 cups of water with 2 cups lentils of your choice, or a combination of any lentils with 2-3 cloves of crushed garlic.
Let the lentils cook on a medium heat and season according to taste with salt, pepper and chilli flakes too if desired.
Add a couple handfuls of kale, the juice of 1 fresh lemon and add more water if required to create a soupy consistency.
Garnish with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt and freshly chopped coriander or parsley.

Salma S. Khan
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