Coronavirus and COVID-19 are intensifying across the United States. While there’s no magical pill to keep you immune from the virus and disease, there are ways to help your immune system function to the best of its ability. These include practicing proper handwashing techniques, staying active, getting enough sleep, managing stress, and eating properly. It’s important to remember that what we eat now matters more than it has in the past. According to CNN, some critical nutrients to consume during this outbreak include vitamin D, vitamin C, beta-carotene, and zinc. So, we compiled a list of 10 immune-boosting and healthy recipes filled with these essential nutrients to keep you properly nourished to make as we continue to fight this outbreak.
The Nutritional Makeup of Tahini
According to Catherine Perez, MS, RD*, “Tahini has a number of components that help to balance energy and promote a healthy immune system. The healthy fat found in tahini when paired with other energy-containing foods can help stabilize blood sugars. This allows for more stable energy levels throughout the day. A perfect example of this is combining a little tahini (healthy fat) with some dates (great energy source) as a snack. Tahini is also a great source of iron. If iron levels are low, individuals might feel symptoms of fatigue. Including iron-rich foods like tahini into one’s diet may help improve iron levels. Everyone is very concerned about immunity at this time. Luckily, tahini is made from sesame seeds, and they include some immune-boosting lignans that can help keep your immune system functioning properly.”
In addition, tahini is loaded with other essential nutrients including zinc, copper, and selenium. According to Marisa Urda, MS, RD, These minerals also assist in keeping one’s immune system functioning optimally. Further, Jessica Bippen, MS, RD, founder of Nourished by Nutrition shares that tahini is an excellent source of lignans, sesamin and sesamol. Lignans are antioxidant polyphenols that can help support the immune system and balance hormone levels. Tahini is also high in vitamin E, which functions as an antioxidant, too.”
Now, let’s get into the good stuff.
According to Healthline.com, vitamin D has a few vital functions. Two of its most important jobs are “regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and facilitating normal immune system function.” Additionally, Vitamin D expert, Dr. Michael Holick notes this vitamin helps regulate the creation of a protein that “selectively kills infectious agents, including bacteria and viruses.” So while we may be locked up in our homes this late winter and early spring without receiving enough sunshine, it’s important to have vitamin D-rich foods. Luckily, we have a few recipes loaded with this “sunshine vitamin”!
Soy products and mushrooms are great sources of vitamin D, so of course we had to share this Tahini Miso Ramen with Crispy Tofu! It’s not your average ramen. Soom Tahini gets added into the broth, which adds a slight viscosity and wonderful depth that elevates this traditional dish. Topped with the crispiest oven-baked tofu, sautéed mushrooms, soft boiled eggs, cilantro, and chopped scallions, this tahini miso ramen will become your new go-to for better-than-takeout weeknight meals.
Fatty fish including canned fish like sardines and salmon are also great sources of vitamin D. Salmon and our date syrup pair beautifully in this Citrus Poached Salmon recipe. The addition of citrus brightens the flavor of the dish with acidic notes, making it a standout dish.
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin that the body cannot produce on its own. Thus, it’s important to consume vitamin C from food or supplemental sources. This vitamin is a powerful antioxidant and works to increase the antibodies found within blood. In particular, this helps determine the type of protection the body needs. Research has suggested that consuming at least 200 milligrams of vitamin C may assist in reducing the duration of cold-like symptoms. Brussels sprouts, broccoli, oranges, and cauliflower are wonderful sources of this vitamin. Let’s dive into some delicious vitamin C-rich bites.
A dish doesn’t get more comforting and nourishing than Dishing Out Health’s 30 Minute Broccoli Fried Rice with Turmeric Tahini Sauce! Filled with layered flavors and a broad range of nutrients, this vegan dish should be added to your biweekly rotation. It embraces frozen edamame for protein, broccoli for both prebiotics and vitamin C, and a mixture of anti-inflammatory spices (with turmeric at the forefront).
This delicious Cauliflower Tahini Miso Dip is a perfect blend of veggies, umami flavors, and fresh herbs! Similarly, this dish is loaded with nutritious qualities including vitamin C from the cauliflower; various B vitamins, folic acid, and probiotics from the miso; and a mixture of nutrients from tahini. Pair it with fresh vegetables and whole-grain crackers for a well-balanced snack or appetizer.
We’ve been loving this citrusy take on nutrient-rich brussels sprouts. The brussels are oven-roasted at a high temperature until crispy. After, they’re then drizzled with a citrusy, slightly sweet, slightly savory and tahini sauce. It’s a unique, nutritious, and delicious way to make this cruciferous veggie a little brighter! If you don’t have blood oranges on hand, whip this up with regular oranges. It’s just as delicious.
Beta Carotene & Vitamin A
Beta Carotene, which is converted into Vitamin A, is another essential vitamin impacting immune health. This particular vitamin assists antibodies’ response to toxins and foreign substances. Carrots are a high source of beta carotene. Lucky for you, we have a few incredibly delicious recipes for you where carrots are at the forefront.
A sweet, nutty, and tangy roasted carrot side dish is exactly the type of thing you never knew you needed in your life. A touch of rich sweetness from date syrup, creamy nuttiness from tahini, lots of tangy acidity from lemon juice, and the subtle heat from cayenne pepper create a compelling and divine glaze for carrots and other root vegetables. Heck, drizzle it on your favorite protein for a perfect finish! Get this @nytimes adapted recipe from @adeenasussman’s Sababa cookbook via the link in bio.
This recipe is incredibly simple, yet the flavor is super complex. If you’re not the biggest fan of soup, we think this soup will change your mind.
The spiced and roasted carrots are absolutely delicious! The sweet coating from Soom Silan, the freshness of the rosemary, and saltiness from the pistachios together create a flavor explosion in your mouth. Add goat or feta cheese for a bit of tang to complete this dish.
Like mentioned before, zinc is vital in helping keep one’s immune system functioning optimally. Although tahini is a good source of zinc, it’s helpful to pair tahini with other foods that are fortified with zinc, too.
Like tahini, yogurt is a good wonderful source of this micronutrient. Pair yogurt with tahini and silan for a nutritious and delicious breakfast, lunch, or snack for immune-boosting qualities. We also really love this yogurt parfait with a hefty drizzle of Soom Chocolate Sweet Tahini, granola, and berries.
Chickpeas are also a source of zinc, so what better way to celebrate the marriage of chickpeas and tahini than with hummus? It’s important to keep in mind that the best hummus is perfectly balanced in flavor and texture. When crafting hummus, aim for subtly garlicky, slightly acidic, and richly nutty flavors. In addition, the texture you’re looking for is lusciously creamy, light, and fluffy, with no grittiness associated. This is exactly what you’ll find with our hummus.
PS: Check out Catherine’s Instagram, @plantbasedrd, where she shares hundreds of vegan, well-balanced, nutritious recipes.
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