Immune Boosting Soups Week IV: Shiitake Mushroom and Vegetable Soup

In continuity to our mini series, on nutrient dense soups and stews that will help bolster our immune systems for the coming winter months, we will be taking a deep dive into an easy recipe that packs a rich nutrient punch.  Shiitake Mushroom  and Vegetable Soup is a great way to help build and support a healthy immune system.  A whole foods approach to a Asian Cooking. We’ll explore why each component is helpful to the body and how to make the recipe at home.  This week 

Shiitake Mushroom and Vegetable Soup

Garlic contains powerful essential oils that can only be removed from the body through the breath rather that the usual routes.  As we breathe out they move through the respiratory tract and can kill of viruses and bugs; such  as those that can cause the common cold and flu. It also contains a compound called ajoene, which interacts with platelet aggregation factor-a compound in the body that regulates the rate and extent to which blood clots.

Onions are very high in a compound called quercitin, which holds a mild antihistamine affect.  As a part of the Allium family they also are rich in inulin, which is a potent prebiotic.  This helps to increase the number of “good” bacteria which can help to regulate every aspect of digestive health.

Image result for ginger crushed

Ginger helps with digestion.  It also can be soothing for a sore throat due to the chemical sesquiterpenes that target rhinoviruses, a common family of cold viruses.  Sesquiterpenes additionally help to suppress coughing.  Ginger can also act as a mild pain reliever and fever reducer, as well as a mild sedative because of the calming properties within the root.  Furthermore, Ayurveda studies have found that because ginger warms the body it can help to break down toxins within the organs (particularly inside the lungs and sinuses), by opening our lymphatic channels to keep them clear.  When you think ginger as a healer for colds, think respiratory ailments.

Coconut Oil bolsters the immune system because it contains antimicrobial lipids, capric acid, lauric acid, and caprylic acid- all of which are anti-fungal, antiviral, and antibacterial.

Image result for turmeric

Turmeric is rich in antioxidants in addition to that beautiful yellow hue.  It also is highly anti-inflammatory which helps to calm our bodies and systems.  Turmeric contain immune-stimulating polysaccharides which could potentially aid in the healing process.

Black Peppercorns are high in piperine, a compound that has been known to hold anti-fever properties and pain-relieving qualities.

Bok Choy or Tuscan Kale (dark leafy greens) these powerhouse hold a multitude of vitamins and minerals that help the body to protect and fight against colds and viruses.  Their anti-inflammatory proprieties can aide the body to heal and calm our systems.  Warming and softening the leaves make the fiber easier to digest-giving our body a break from processing the raw form of these staples.  Bok Choy is particularly high in Vitamin A.

Image result for shiitake mushrooms recipes

Mushrooms are a power food filled with antioxidants, Ergothioneine specifically, that helps to eliminate free radicals in the body.  Mushrooms are also a rich source of Vitamin D a natural cold and flu fighter.

Miso is a highly protein efficient, probiotic and nutrient dense food.  Great when you are fighting a cold and in need of an extra boost.  It aids in digestion and helps the body to assimilate the nutrients you eat.  It is also a great source of B vitamins.

Tamari is a great source of Niacin, Vitamin B3, manganese, and mood enhancing trytophan.  It also contains more protein than regular soy sauce.

Ingredients: 

  • Coconut Oil for sauteeing
  • Salt, Pepper
  • Shiitake Mushrooms
  • Water to soak mushrooms to make mushroom broth
  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic diced and crushed
  • Spices: Crushed Ginger (fresh preferred, dried is fine too), Cayenne (if you’d like to add additional heat), Tumeric
  • Bok Choy or Tuscan Kale (any other dark leafy green)
  • Miso Paste
  • Tamari Sauce

Image result for miso paste

Method:

  1. In large bowl soak shiitake mushrooms for half an hour, then remove and reserve the broth.  Thinly slice mushrooms and set aside.
  2. Dice onion and add to a medium pot with a bit of coconut oil.  Add in mushrooms and sautee for a few minutes.  Cook until onions start to brown.
  3. Add spices and cook until fragrant. Wait to add fresh ginger if you have that available!
  4. (Add any denser veggies if desired at this point.)  Add in garlic and ginger (if fresh here), stir and cover for 2 minutes.  Add broth and cook until denser veggies are softened, about 20 minutes.  Add Bok Choy or other leafy green, miso paste, and tamari sauce and cook until wilted.
  5. Season to taste.
  6. Top with desired toppings, I like fresh green onions and thinly sliced jalapeno.Image result for mushroom and bok choy soup

Try some different toppings and add-ins;

  • Top with green onions, bean sprouts or sliced jalapeno
  • Finish with a soft boiled egg
  • Toss in different dark leafy greens or vegetables
  • Adding vegetables like sweet potato or chinese cabbage
  • Try different types of miso blends
  • Add in wasabi paste for a kick of heat
Enjoy-to your health!
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