It’s that time of year again: The leaves are falling from the trees, you’re getting out your comfy sweaters, and yes, you’re also getting sick.
“What happens is, most of us have a weakened immune system because we haven’t been treating our body the way it’s supposed to be treated. And the more we do that, the more our system breaks down,” says Nikki Ostrower, NYC nutritional expert and founder of NAO Nutrition (who’s also opening a wellness center later this fall). “We become more susceptible to the pathogens around us, and so we catch things from other people. But the good news is there are definite remedies out there that can help us build our immune system and protect ourselves.”
To help you get ready for the seasonal craziness that will soon come—after all, it is the first day of fall—Ostrower shared with Domino some of her favorite recipes to help fight colds and flu, as well as the superfood ingredients one should incorporate into one’s diet all year long.
SOUPER Immunity Soup
First up? Her immunity soup. “Bone broth—they call chicken soup Jewish penicillin for a reason—has all these minerals, amino acids, magnesium, phosphorous, and glutamine to keep the gut strong. When the body sees a foreign invader coming in, it can protect it and nip it in the bud, thanks to the strengthening effects of the broth,” says Ostrower. “And the Gynostemma tea is a traditional adaptogenic herb in Chinese medicine, which is used to reduce fatigue and increase vigour. It improves digestion and strengthens your mind, as well as has an anti-inflammatory impact on the body.”
- 6 cups water
- 1 cup already brewed Gynostemma Tea
- 2 cups mineral-rich vegetable stock or bone broth
- 1 tbsp coconut oil1 onion, diced
- 1 bulb garlic, minced (the whole bulb)
- 1 tsp ginger, grated
- 1 small bunch of kale, destemmed and sliced
- 2 cups fresh, sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 1 tsp Celtic Sea salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- Optional Miso for added probiotics
- Optional 1 soft boiled egg to add in the soup or on the side
- In a large pot, combine water, bone broth/stock, tea, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil.
- Heat the coconut oil. Sauté garlic, onions, turmeric, and ginger until soft and translucent.
- Add contents of skillet to water. Add shiitake, and simmer covered for two hours. Remove from heat, and allow to sit for two more hours.
- Add thinly sliced kale and simmer for five minutes.
- Then, turn off the heat. Pour the soup into a bowl.
- Take 1 tbsp. of miso paste and dissolve it into your soup. The trick is to run the miso across a fine mesh strainer with your spoon so that it’s not clumpy. (Make sure you don’t cook the miso in the pot because it’s a living probiotic, and you don’t want to kill off all that beneficial flora.)
Berrylicious Immune Booster Bowl
“My secret ingredients for this booster bowl are the collagen powder and elderberry syrup,” says Ostrower. “The collagen detoxifies and boost the metabolism, but it also strengthens the gut, which automatically helps your immune system. The elderberry syrup was used by Hippocrates, the father of medicine, back in BC, and has been proven to reduce symptoms of cold and flu, and even prevent the duration of the disease by four days on average.”
- 2 sliced strawberries
- 1/4 cup blueberries
- 1/2 cup dry oats
- 1 cup chicken bone broth or water
- 1 tsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp pine nuts
- 1 tbsp collagen protein powder
- 1 tsp raw honey
- 1 tsp elderberry syrup
- Bring the water or bone broth to a rolling boil.
- Add the oatmeal and collagen. Cook for around five minutes, and stir occasionally until the oats are fully cooked.
- Place in a bowl and mix in the raw honey. Top with berries, nuts, and chia seeds.
Flu Buster Shot
“I love wellness shots,” says Ostrower. “The problem with traditional medicine is it fights disease, but also breaks your body down. Food is an inside job, while antibiotics strip your gut naked and kill both the good and bad bacteria. So, it will heal you in the interim, but leave your body more weakened.”
“For this particular shot, ginger protects against various pathogens; it’s anti-influenza, anti-viral, and anti-fungal. It helps clear lungs of mucus, while the cayenne increases circulation. And the raw honey (it has to be raw because regular honey is pasteurized) helps to soothe the throat,” she continues.
- 1 Meyer Lemon
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1-inch knob ginger
- pinch of cayenne
- 1 tsp raw honey
- 1 tsp turmeric
- Juice the lemon, garlic, and ginger.
- Transfer the juice to a blender and add cayenne, honey, and turmeric. Pour into a shot glass.