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5 Fresh Foods That Ward Off Seasonal Illnesses

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With the weather in flux and the pollen inches thick, a rash of colds has us running for the medicine cabinet. If you’re looking for a natural way to boost your immune system, why not try adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet?

The weather change and onset of spring means fresh produce! Farmview Market recently received the latest spring crop from our local farmers. All of these fruits and vegetables are great additions to a healthy diet. And if you would like to try an all-natural cold remedy, here are the top 5 foods that ward off seasonal illnesses. Better yet, you can find them all at Farmview Market!

Check out these five choices below and try our suggestions for adding them into your daily diet.

Red Bell Pepper: Surprise! Red bell peppers have almost three times the Vitamin C of an orange. Just half of one pepper will give you your recommended dose. Plus, bell peppers are amazing raw or cooked! Try dipping slices in this hummus recipe below for an afternoon snack.

Recipe: Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
  • 1/4 cup well-stirred tahini
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons water
  • Dash of paprika, for serving (optional)

Instructions:

  • In a medium saucepan, combine the drained chickpeas with 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Add 1 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the chickpeas are very soft and the skins are easily coming off. Skim off any foam that forms on the surface during cooking.
  • Drain the chickpeas and rinse them thoroughly under cold running water. Removing the skins is optional but can result in a smoother hummus.
  • In a food processor, combine the cooked chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, minced garlic, olive oil, ground cumin, and a pinch of salt.
  • Process the mixture until smooth. If the hummus is too thick, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water, one at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.

Blueberries:  All berries are good for you, but blueberries pack the most punch. These blue-hued beauties have the highest levels of disease-fighting antioxidants, according to research. The vitamin C in blueberries also blunts the effects of stress by reducing free radicals and bolstering your immune system, which means blueberries will also help alleviate your allergies! Bake an organic blueberry tart or just enjoy them whole.

Pumpkin Seeds:  This tasty snack has zinc, a mineral that jacks up the immune system by inhibiting viral replication. The seeds have also been shown to reduce the duration of cold symptoms. Try them on your yogurt or oatmeal for a little crunch or add them to a healthy trail mix.

Mushrooms: You already know that eating any fruit or vegetable regularly is a good thing for your health, but when it comes to germ defense, mushrooms have an edge. Research suggests that the fungus may have antiviral and antibacterial properties. Any type will do the trick, but if you're still looking to up your intake for immunity-strengthening vitamin D, button mushrooms are a potent source.

Recipe: Garlic Lemon Roasted Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound (450g) mushrooms, cleaned and halved
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Instructions:

  • Preheat your oven to 400°F.
  • Clean the mushrooms and cut them into halves or quarters, depending on their size.
  • In a bowl, combine the mushrooms with olive oil, minced garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, dried thyme, salt, and pepper. Toss everything together until the mushrooms are well coated.
  • Spread the seasoned mushrooms in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Roast in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender and golden brown, stirring once halfway through the cooking time.
  • Remove the mushrooms from the oven, sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley for a burst of flavor and color.
  • Serve the garlic lemon roasted mushrooms as a side dish, on top of whole grain rice or quinoa, or as a topping for salads.

Kale: The almighty, green superfood. Kale helps your body with everything from reducing cholesterol, anti-inflammatory responses, and even reducing risks for five types of cancers. Best of all, kale can be added to a variety of recipes. You can add kale to your breakfast smoothie, if you’re craving a sweet treat. And, kale is amazing braised. Research shows that chewing the veggie triggers the release of chemicals, possibly helping your body regulate infection-fighting white blood cells. So, run into Farmview because our organic kale is in stock for spring!

Make sure you check out these foods that ward off seasonal illnesses, and more selections to come as we work our way into late spring and summer! And visit us on April 30th for our Grand Opening Event to shop the varieties of fresh, local produce at the kickoff of our Farmers Market! We hope to see you there.