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Today I am S-I-C-K. UGH. I hate being sick. There is nothing worse than waking up with that pressure in your head..and a throat that is so inflammed that you can hardly swallow. Yep, that was me this morning. After the thermometer beeped with a reading of 101.4, I decided to call in for the day and stay in bed. That is probably the one thing I hate more than being sick..calling in because I’m sick! Being an intern makes it difficult to fit “sick” into my schedule. Easily put, it DOESN’T fit. But, thankfully I have an amazing director and extra days throughout the internship for this kind of thing. So, time for some nutritional rescue to help with my poor little immune system. A strong, well-functioning immune system is the cornerstone of good health, fighting off disease and infections and allowing you to recover more quickly if you do get sick. And despite the claims you see on some food and supplement labels, there is no specific food or nutrient that has been clinically proven to “boost” the immune system all on its own. Rather, you need a v a r i e t y of foods that provide a natural abundance of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients; all those nutrients work together to keep your immune functions running smoothly. And it’s not all about food, either: studies show that regular exercise, even something as simple as a daily 30-minute walk, can improve immune functioning. Maintaining good sleep habits can help too.
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Needless to say..the best nutritional strategy for keeping your immune system strong, then, is to have a well-nourished, well-rested body and move it regularly. Ok- so that was my soapbox for the day!
Now, back to me..what sounds better than warm soup on a sore throat? (Well, maybe a Chai Tea Latte.) Pumpkin and pears are the pefect mix in this inspiration for my immunity! They each contain loads of vitamins A & C as well as white blood cell-forming Zinc and not to forget, Selenium, helping me to (hopefully) feel better! OR, at least helping my scratchy throat get some soothing relief. I few days ago, when I heard it was gonna be cold this week, I made a Roasted Pear and Pumpkin Soup. Lucky for me (and my weak immunity!), I had plenty stored in the fridge, and all the helpful hubby had to do was pop it in the microwave.
Roasted Pumpkin-Pear Soup
2 ripe pears, peeled, quartered and cored
3 mini sugar pumpkins, peeled, seeded, and cut into 2-inch chunks
2 medium tomatoes, cored and quartered
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 cups vegetable broth, divided
2/3 cup any crumbled blue-veined cheese
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh chives, or scallion greens
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Combine pears, pumpkin, tomatoes, garlic, oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a large bowl; toss to coat. Spread evenly on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 40 to 55 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Place half the vegetables and 2 cups broth in a blender; puree until smooth. Transfer to a large saucepan. Puree the remaining vegetables and 2 cups broth. Add to the pan and stir in the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and nutmeg.
Cook the soup over medium-low heat, stirring, until hot, about 10 minutes. Pour into soup bowl and garnish with cheese and chives (or scallion greens).
Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month. Add more broth when reheating, if desired.
Per serving: 235 calories
11 mg cholesterol
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (350% daily value), Vitamin C (70% dv), Potassium (21% dv), Calcium (20% dv)
Here I am, with my soup and Powerade ZERO..all set and ready to feel better!!