By: Justin Check, NSCA Certified Personal Trainer and NESTA Fitness Nutrition Coach
With COVID-19 being our new reality, conscience efforts to improve our health through exercise and proper nutrition are at the forefront of many of our minds. Making sure we eat right, work out enough, and sleep an appropriate amount are daily tasks we can actually control. Beyond just consuming foods we know to be good for us, we can intentionally choose whole foods that help improve the body’s immune system. I’ve compiled a list of foods known to help with boosting the immune system. It would be great to add some of these ingredients to your main meals and snacks throughout the day. I’ve also enlisted the help of my wife (former chef and our family’s culinary queen) to create a SUPER Immune Boosting Recipe for Tropical Curry Chicken Salad that has ALL of these ingredients packed into one delicious meal! It tastes great and you’ll feel good eating it. Why not make it tonight?
- Citrus – oranges, lemons, and limes are packed full of Vitamin C.
- Spinach – to ensure the highest absorption of its nutrients, eat raw (uncooked) spinach which has beta carotene, antioxidants, and Vitamin C.
- Garlic – not just for keeping vampires away, it also helps your body fight infection.
- Turmeric – will help lower your exercise-induced muscle damage as well as boost your immune system.
- Kiwi, Papaya, & Red Bell Peppers – delicious whole foods with exciting flavors that also contain a ton of nutrients beneficial to the body’s immune system.
- Yogurt – with Live Cultures and Vitamin D (such as plain Greek Yogurt) provide a variety of benefits to the body including digestive health and immune system support.
- Almonds – an excellent source of Vitamin E which is not as well-known as Vitamin C but is just as vital in the body’s immune system health and function (almond oil is also a great source of Vitamin E)
- Poultry – Chicken and turkey are not only comfort foods we grew up on but also have Vitamin B-6, a vital element for the creation of new and healthy red blood cells.
- Or Shellfish – lobster, crab, and mussels contain higher levels of zinc that promote immune cells to function as intended.
Tropical Curry Chicken Salad
*If you are a pescatarian or just prefer the taste, you can use lobster or crab in this recipe instead of chicken*
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Yield: 4 portions
1.5 lbs boneless/skinless chicken breasts
2/3 c. plain non-fat Greek yogurt (with Live & Active Cultures)
1/3 c. roughly chopped or slivered almonds
1/3 c. dried cranberries (golden raisins or dried cherries would also work)
2-3 small oranges
1 TBSP sugar (or sugar substitute)
1 TBSP curry powder (contains turmeric)
1 clove of fresh garlic finely chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 bag of baby spinach
1 red bell pepper
1 sweet or red onion sliced thinly (optional)
2 TBSP olive (or almond) oil
To start, prepare your chicken breast by trimming any excess fat or skin. Bring a large stock pot to boil and add your chicken breasts. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook uncovered for approximately 15 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked through. Remove from the heat and let chicken cool on your cutting board.
In the meantime, prepare your other ingredients. Place 2 cups of spinach on each plate. On top of the spinach add sliced kiwi, papaya and red bell peppers (if you do not like one of these just leave it out). A little sliced sweet or red onion is also really nice to add to your bed of spinach. Sprinkle each bed of greens lightly with salt and pepper. Then squeeze the juice of half an orange and drizzle ½ TBSP of olive oil on each plate. Set aside your plates of spinach salad.
Once chicken breasts have cooled, chop them into bite size pieces. In a large mixing bowl, add Greek Yogurt, curry powder, garlic, the juice of 1 small orange (or 2 TBSP orange juice), sugar, and a few turns of the sea salt shaker and a sprinkle of pepper. Whisk vigorously until a smooth yogurt mixture exists. Fold in the cooled/chopped chicken breasts, almonds, and dried cranberries. Add approximately 3/4 cup of COVID Tropical Curry Chicken Salad to each prepared plate of spinach salad.
Eat, enjoy, be healthy, repeat! From our kitchen to yours, best wishes for a boosted immune system!
|Amount Per Serving|
|% Daily Value *|
|Total Fat 17 g||26 %|
|Saturated Fat 3 g||13 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 5 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g|
|Trans Fat 0 g|
|Cholesterol 113 mg||38 %|
|Sodium 213 mg||9%|
|Potassium 683 mg||20 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 25 g||8 %|
|Dietary Fiber 6 g||22 %|
|Sugars 13 g|
|Protein 45 g||89 %|
|Vitamin A||165 %|
|Vitamin C||140 %|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
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