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Immune Boosting Winter Foods

Something about the cold weather can make us reach for our favorite rich, dense, warm foods. We find we feel heavier — both physically and emotionally if we overindulge. Within Traditional Chinese Medicine, digestion is at the center of health. A healthy diet is paramount and when your digestion is working at its optimum you get the nutrition you need. Earth based medical systems like Chinese Medicine recognize high quality whole foods can be used as medicine to heal the body and mind. Root vegetables such as beets, carrots, and turnips are Winter favorites in the absence of the abundant greens available in the Spring. Try butternut squash, roasting carrots for beta-carotene, or boil turnips to get your vitamins C and A. Soup is a cold-weather favorite — just be sure to skip the cream and salt. Instead, seek out recipes that call for a vegetable broth or water base, and plenty of vegetables. Vitamin C is associated with enhanced immune function — and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower are packed with this health-boosting powerhouse. Did you know that frozen versions of broccoli and cauliflower are just as nutritious if you can’t locate fresh options in the Winter. In addition to fresh air, exercise and good sleep when you are on the go these cruciferous vegetables can serve as a top defense against cold-weather illness. At Bradbury Clinic we provide chiropractic care and acupuncture, as well as herbal medicines used in Chinese Medicine to build digestive strength when there is weakness, stress, or fatigue.

Enjoy one of our favorite immune-boosting Winter squash soup recipes: Coconut Butternut Squash Soup (from kitchen recipes)

ingredients • 2 tablespoons Organic Virgin Coconut Oil • 1 large onion, diced • 3 garlic cloves, minced • 2 teaspoons minced ginger • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes • 3 cups vegetable broth • 1 teaspoon maple syrup • ½ teaspoon salt • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne (more to taste) • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg • ½ cup coconut milk

Instructions Melt the coconut oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add in the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add in the garlic and ginger and sauté for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add in the squash, broth, maple syrup, salt, cayenne, and nutmeg. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes until the squash is fork tender. Transfer the soup to a heat-safe blender and blend until smooth, in batches if needed. Return the soup to the pot, stir in the coconut milk, and cook over medium heat to warm through. Ladle into soup bowls and top with a drizzle of coconut milk, pumpkin seeds, and cayenne, if desired. We like to add color with cilantro and pomegranate seeds, too!

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