Your immune system keeps you healthy by preventing viruses, bacteria, and disease from invading your body, and there are various ways to help it do its job well. Apart from getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, minimising stress, and washing your hands frequently with soap and water to ward off infections, you can also keep your immune system strong by eating right. These recipes are kid-friendly, and easy to re-create at home. No excuses when it comes to your family’s health!


Vegan & Gluten-free Pizza Base

Pizza images: Candice Chew

We featured Candice Chew (read her story here) in October last year when the mother of two took part in Deliveroo’s inaugural Foodiepreneur competition. The 37-year-old changed her diet when she discovered that she had stage four Hodgkin’s lymphoma, cutting out gluten, refined sugars, processed foods and animal products. She turned to probiotics, natural whole foods, and a plant-based diet to aid her body’s healing. Candice now runs her own food business, My Life Giving Food. This is her vegan, gluten-free pizza base recipe that can give you two nine-inch pizza bases in 20 minutes. Add the kids’ favourite toppings or eat it on its own as a flatbread. It’s also perfect for dipping into soups.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ⅓ cup tapioca flour
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • A pinch of salt to taste

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  • Mix almond flour, tapioca flour, baking powder, and salt together.
  • Add water and stir all the ingredients together to make a batter.
  • Line baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Spoon out half the batter onto lined baking tray and shape it.
  • Put into a hot oven, and bake for 15 to 20 mins.
  • Add pizza toppings that you and the kids like at the 12 minute mark. Continue baking until toppings are cooked.

Why it works: Because the pizza base is gluten-free, it does not trigger our body’s inflammatory response. It also reduces the risk of irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, and eczema. Almond flour is used as almonds are full of healthy fats, fibre, protein, magnesium and vitamin E, an antioxidant which helps build up in cell membranes in the body, protecting cells from oxidative damage, and guarding your body against viruses.

Immune Booster Smoothie

Image: Elodie Bellegarde

Elodie Bellegarde is a French food stylist, photographer, and author of cookbook Kitchen Stories (2015), which explores the relationship between moods and food. A food enthusiast since young, Elodie baked her first cake at age five, and went on to do a Master in Culinary Arts. The mother of two has lived in Singapore for seven years, and organises workshops on food styling and food photography. Check out her Instagram account (@elodbelle) and be inspired!

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium banana
  • 50g raspberries or red dragonfruit
  • 75g keffir or plain yogurt 
  • 15g baby oats (a good handful)
  • 25g oat milk
  • 1 tbsp raw honey from The Rare Honey Company

Method:

Put all the ingredients in a blender and whizz until smooth. If you find the consistency a little too thick, add more oat milk or water. Serve with ice and a dash of oat milk to create layers of different colours.

Why it works: Yoghurt and honey are excellent probiotics, helping to keep your gut healthy. In addition, as it as a lower GI, honey is a good alternative to sugar. Finally, I like using active raw honey like those from The Rare Honey Company as they contain antioxidants and naturally occurring antibacterial properties. All honey from The Rare Honey Company is also independently certified for its purity and total activity (TA).

Chilled Spinach Salad

Image: Elemen

Healthy, meatless, awesomely delicious dishes that are a notch above traditional vegetarian restaurant food is what you get at Elemen. The restaurant, whose motto is to “Love Self, Love Earth”, boasts modern interpretations of vegetarian and vegan cuisine — even lasagne, pizza, and sushi — that everyone in the family can enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 70g China Spinach
  • 8g Lily Bulbs
  • 10g Dried Red Wolfberry
  • 10ml Teriyaki Sauce
  • 50ml Kewpie Dressing — Roasted Sesame

Method:

  • In a pot, pour in water and bring to a boil.
  • Add spinach and cook for 2 minutes till it softens. Remove the cooked spinach aside. Let it cool down, and put it in the fridge for 10 minutes.
  • Soak the dried red wolfberries in hot water till it is soft.
  • Wash the lily bulbs and soak them with cold water.
  • On a plate, place the cold spinach, then drizzle the teriyaki sauce and roasted sesame dressing. Add the red wolfberries and lily bulbs.

Why it works: Spinach is rich in vitamin C, and packed with numerous beta-carotene and antioxidants. These help increase the fighting ability of the immune system. Spinach is healthiest when cooked as little as possible, hence this recipe only requires you to cook it for two minutes. Cooked spinach (versus raw) also offers higher levels of minerals such as calcium.

Immunity Boosting Tea

Image: Eu Yan Sang

This recipe is recommended by Eu Yan Sang TCM Clinic physician Ng Qing Xiang. She told us that from the TCM perspective, our immune systems are related to the “Zheng Qi” (protective qi), which helps our bodies prevent external pathogens (which cause illness) from invading them. The herbs in this brew replenish “Zheng Qi”, thus boosting the immune system.

If you do not have the time to brew this, you can buy the powder version, which is available at all Eu Yan Sang TCM Clinics, as well as online. Children aged three to 12 years should only consume half the adult dosage. Do note that it is not suitable for pregnant women, and anyone with chronic medical, and allergic conditions.

Ingredients:

  • 10g Siler root 防风
  • 15g White Atractylodes 白术
  • 10g Astragalus root 黄芪

Method:

Boil the ingredients with 800ml of water, and simmer for 45mins.
 
Why this works: Astragalus root helps replenish the protective qi in the body, which is vital for defending external pathogens. Siler root dispels external wind pathogens which cause acute respiratory illness such as flu, cough, and fever. White atractylodes strengthen the spleen, which is responsible for the formation of qi and blood in the body. When the spleen is strengthened, qi is replenished, and your immune system is strengthened.

Header image: simon peel on Unsplash

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