Healthy Cooking: Immune System Boosters, Val Wilson

immune system boosting foods, healthy cooking, healthy recipe, U.P. holistic business, U.P. holistic wellness publication

To help boost your immune system, eat foods high in antioxidants. Your immune system depends on the intake of micro nutrients from food which can act as antioxidants. Antioxidants can destroy free radicals, protecting the structural integrity of your cells and tissues. Eating a whole-foods, organic, nutrient-rich diet is your best defense to stay healthy and boost your immune system.

The best antioxidant food you can eat is brown rice. It’s a complex carbohydrate, giving you energy, high fiber, and lots of free radical-destroying antioxidants, such as vitamin E, B vitamins, gamma-oryzanol, alpha lipic acid, glutathione oeroxidase, superoxide dismutuse, coenzyme Q10, proanthocyanidins, lecithin, and IP6 (inositol hexaphosphate). The important thing to remember is that all of them help your body create a strong immune system. Black rice is a type of brown rice that is even higher in antioxidants because of it dark color. The pigment that creates the dark color is called anthocyanin which helps protect cells against damage-reducing inflammation, and can help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease also.

Both broccoli and sweet potatoes are high in vitamin C, which also helps boost your immune system. The whole grain corn contains vitamin A, which helps regulate the immune system and protects against infections by keeping the tissues and skin healthy.

The strongest anti-inflammatory food you can consume is turmeric. It contains co X-2 inhibitors ,which are natural pain relievers and a natural remedy for arthritis. Turmeric enhances the digestive system, contains strong antioxidants, and also has antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties. In the salad recipe below, the garlic gives the dressing a wonderful pungent flavor that complements the bitter, spicy flavor of the turmeric. And garlic has been used in herbal medicine for thousands of years because of it strong antifungal and antibiotic properties.

Black Rice Turmeric Salad 

3/4 cup short grain brown rice
1/4 cup black rice
2 cups water
2 scallions (thin slices)
1 cup corn
1 cup peas
2 cups broccoli (cut up)
2 cups sweet potato (peeled and cut in cubes)

2 garlic cloves (minced)
2 T. olive oil
2 T. tamari
2 T. brown rice vinegar
2 T. brown rice syrup
1 T. fresh grated turmeric root (or 1 tsp. dried turmeric)
1/4 tsp. sea salt

Put the brown rice, black rice, and water in a pot. Bring to a boil for a couple of minutes. Reduce heat to low, and simmer with lid on for one hour, until all water has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes. Put the rice in a large mixing bowl. Add the corn and peas. The hot rice will lightly steam them. Set aside to cool. Steam the sweet potato until fork tender, approximately 10 minutes. Steam the broccoli until fork tender, approximately 7 minutes.  Put all dressing ingredients in a food processor and puree until well combined. Mix the steamed broccoli and sweet potato, scallions, and dressing all together in the mixing bowl. Serve warm, room temperature, or refrigerate and serve cold.

Chef Valerie Wilson has been teaching cooking classes since 1997. You can attend virtually including a special class through Peter White Public Library on 6/15/21. Visit for schedule, cookbook purchases, phone consultations, or radio show, and follow her on Facebook at Macro Val Food.

Excerpted from the Fall 2021 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2021, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

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