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It is important to have a healthy immune system in order for your body to deal with infections caused by viruses, bacteria, fungus, and environmental toxins. As the winter months approach, it becomes even more important to support your immune system by consistently eating a balanced diet, exercising, and making healthy lifestyle choices. But the real fuel for a strong immune system is using food as medicine.
An immunity-boosting diet includes light, easily digestible meals throughout the day, especially soup. A myriad of health benefits and flavors are derived from the herbs, vegetables, and broth. Soups also can help curtail the onset or ease the symptoms of colds and flu. Look for soups that include immunity-enhancing ingredients such as ginger, onion, garlic, mushrooms, and a variety of veggies and herbs in a broth-base. As always, food made from scratch is best!
Super-Immunity Diet Guidelines
Include healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil.
When it comes to seasoning your foods, incorporate a variety of herbs and spices for flavor.
For veggies, choose steamed broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, leafy greens, and sweet potatoes.
Fermented foods such as miso and yogurt help promote healthy intestinal flora and combat harmful bacteria in the GI tract.
Limit red meat; instead, eat moderate amounts of fish and poultry.
It’s also smart to limit sugar in your diet. Studies have shown excessive sugar intake can interfere with optimal immune system function.
As far as beverages, the constituents in green tea have been shown to be both anti-inflammatory and immune enhancing.
Cheers to your good health this winter!
This immunity-boosting soup is made with a virtual garden of powerful ingredients that contain beneficial nutrients for your immune system:
Turmeric adds a subtle flavor and a beautiful yellow color. The active ingredient is curcumin, a powerful antioxidant.
Black pepper also has antioxidant properties.
Cayenne pepper can clear congestion due to the main active compound capsaicin, which has anti-inflammatory properties.
Shiitake mushrooms are rich in vitamins and minerals and contain unique phytonutrients that contribute to good health.
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
8 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
4 cups low-sodium mushroom, vegetable, or chicken broth
1 ½ cups finely sliced kale
1 cup cubed butternut squash
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
? teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
6 slices astragalus root (optional)
1 fresh lemon, Juice of
1 teaspoon miso
1. In a sauce pot over medium-high heat, add oil and cook onion and garlic, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes.
2. Stir in turmeric and mushrooms, and cook 2 minutes more.
3. Add broth, kale, squash, ginger, cayenne, and astragalus. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer 15 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and let cool slightly, add lemon juice and miso. Cover and let sit 5 minutes before serving.
Nutrition Information per Serving: 90 calories (5 from fat), 0.5g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 160mg sodium, 19g carbohydrate (6g dietary fiber, 5g sugar), 2g protein