6 Immune-Boosting Recipes to Help You Fight the Flu

Flu season has arrived. Flu.gov states that the virus peaks in January and February but can occur as early as October and as late as May, meaning you’re at risk several months out of the year. While you can’t control the germs emanating from your co-workers, family, and friends, there are things you can do to stay healthy. WebMD explains that one of the best ways to fight the flu is by eating nutritious foods that help strengthen your immune system. From dishes that contain disease-fighting garlic to bacteria-battling oranges, germs won’t stand a chance against these six immune-boosting recipes.

Source: iStock

Sweet Potato Fritters With Smoky Pinto Beans

Sweet potatoes are bursting with nutritional benefits that will help boost your immune system. ABC News notes that sweet potatoes contain vitamin A, which aids in skin health. It’s important to protect your skin because it’s the immune system’s first line of defense against germs and disease. Today adds that beans’ protein contains zinc, a mineral that helps increase the production of infection-fighting white blood cells.

To ward off germs and viruses, combine these two superfoods and create Eating Well’s Sweet Potato Fritters With Smoky Pinto Beans. The fritters are tender on the inside and crispy on the outside, and the beans add a little spice to the otherwise sweet dish. The recipe yields 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound)
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 large poblano peppers or small green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1¼ teaspoons smoked paprika, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
  • ¾ cup fine yellow cornmeal
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup water
  • 4 lime wedges for garnish

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Prick sweet potato in several places with a fork. Microwave on high until just cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Set aside ½ cup of the mixture. Add beans, ½ teaspoon paprika, and ¼ teaspoon salt to the pan.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Cover and set aside. Whisk cornmeal, flour, baking powder, the remaining ¾ teaspoon paprika, and ½ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Peel the sweet potato and mash in a large bowl. Stir in the reserved onion-pepper mixture, egg, and water. Add the cornmeal mixture and stir until just combined. Form the sweet potato mixture into eight 3-inch oval fritters, using a generous ¼ cup for each.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook 4 fritters until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining fritters and oil. Bake the fritters until puffed and firm to the touch, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve the fritters with the reserved bean mixture and lime wedges, if desired.

Source: iStock

Honey Garlic Chicken

The Endless Meal has created a dinner dish that is stunningly sweet and satisfyingly sticky. It’s also a great way to amp up your immune system. WebMD commends garlic for its immunity-boosting benefits, adding that one clove contains 5 milligrams of calcium, 12 milligrams of potassium, and more than 100 sulfuric compounds. This combination of nutrients is able to wipe out bacteria and infection, making garlic a germ-fighting, powerhouse food. This nutrient-rich recipe yields 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 8 pieces of chicken (thighs, wings, and drumsticks work best)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 4 garlic cloves, grated with a microplane or grated finely then chopped to a paste
  • 1 teaspoon onion, grated with a microplane or grated finely then chopped to a paste
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning chicken

Directions: Preheat oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. While the chicken is in the oven, combine all other ingredients in a medium-size bowl and mix thoroughly. After 20 minutes, remove chicken from the oven and, using tongs, place each piece in the bowl with the sauce.

Drain any fat that is on the baking sheet into the bowl with the sauce. Toss to coat thoroughly. Place sauce bowl aside. Place chicken, skin side down, on the baking sheet and return to oven. Turn oven to broil and broil for 5 minutes. Remove chicken from the oven and turn to skin side up. Using a rubber spatula, coat the chicken skin with any remaining sauce. Broil for another 5 minutes.

Source: Thinkstock

Black Sea Bass With Moroccan Vegetables and Chile Sauce

Self’s recipe calls for zesty seasonings and vibrant vegetables, ensuring you have an illness-fighting dinner dish. Epicurious explains that broccoli is particularly beneficial and contains quercetin, a flavonoid that has been shown to aid in disease prevention. You won’t find a more nutritious meal to serve your family!

Ingredients:

Sauce

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped leeks (or onions)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped fresh tomato
  • 1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • ½ cup low-sodium, fat-free vegetable stock

Fish

  • 2 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • ½ cup low-sodium, fat-free vegetable stock
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 large zucchini, cut into ¼-inch chunks
  • 4 fillets black sea bass (about 6 ounces each)
  • 1 cup couscous
  • 2 teaspoons pine nuts
  • ¼ cup fresh dill, chopped
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta

Directions: Line a 9-by-12-inch baking dish with foil. Set aside. Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook leeks, garlic, oregano, curry, allspice, and black pepper until leeks become translucent, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomato, bell pepper, celery, and soy sauce. Cook until pepper softens, 2 to 3 minutes. Add stock. Simmer, covered, 25 to 30 minutes. Place carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, and stock in prepared dish.

Bake until vegetables begin to soften, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven. Add spinach and zucchini. Place fish on top of vegetables. Drizzle with sauce. Bake until fish is cooked through and vegetables are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. While fish cooks, prepare couscous as directed on package. Top each plate with ¼ cup couscous, ¼ of vegetables, and 1 fillet. Sprinkle with pine nuts, dill, and feta. Serve immediately.

Source: iStock

Super C Immune Boosting Smoothie

Start your day by preparing The Healthy Chef’s Super C Immune Boosting Smoothie. The ginger and turmeric are natural anti-inflammatory foods, and oranges provide vitamin C, which helps maintain the body’s defense against bacterial infections. The flu won’t stand a chance against this breakfast smoothie.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole carrot, washed but not peeled
  • 1 whole orange, peeled
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 small slither ginger
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon chia seed
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric, ground or fresh
  • 1  teaspoon natural immune support (optional)

Directions: Combine all the ingredients into a good high-performance blender. Blend until combined. Serve in a large glass and enjoy.

Source: iStock

Roasted Garlic and Shiitake Mushroom Bruschetta

Garlic and mushrooms work together to create a nutritious and delicious dish that is great as a side or an appetizer. Mercola.com states that mushrooms are essential for staying healthy and help your body fight viruses and bacteria. Whole Living’s recipe yields 4 servings and only requires 10 minutes of prep time.

Ingredients:

  • 3 heads garlic
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 12 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
  • 4 thick slices rustic Italian bread

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Break off two cloves garlic, finely chop, and reserve. Trim tip off each garlic head, exposing tops of cloves. Place heads on foil, drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil, and season with ¼ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon thyme. Wrap tightly in foil. Roast until garlic is soft, about 45 minutes. Squeeze cooked garlic from cloves and discard skins. Mix chopped garlic with lemon zest, parsley, and a pinch of salt and pepper; set aside.

Place the shiitakes on a baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and remaining thyme; roast until sizzling and tender, about 12 minutes. Sprinkle with garlic, parsley, and lemon mixture. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and toast bread on both sides until golden brown. Spread roasted garlic on one side of each piece of toast and top with 3 mushroom caps. Serve warm.

Source: iStock

Roasted Red Pepper Omelet

Taste of Home’s Roasted Red Pepper Omelet creates a vibrant, veggie-packed breakfast dish. The Huffington Post states that one cup of chopped red bell pepper contains 190 milligrams of vitamin C, more than twice as much as an orange, and is loaded with vitamin A. The recipe yields 2 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup chopped roasted sweet red peppers
  • ¼ cup shredded Muenster cheese
  • 2 green onions, chopped

Directions: Coat an 8-inch nonstick skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, water, salt, and pepper. Add half of egg mixture to skillet. As eggs set, push cooked edges toward the center, letting uncooked portion flow underneath. When the eggs are set, add half of the red peppers, cheese, and onions on one side; fold other side over filling. Slide omelet onto a plate. Repeat.

More from Life Cheat Sheet: