With the onset of COVID-19, the flu, and the common cold, our immune system will need all the help it can get. While healthy foods will not necessarily prevent colds and other illnesses, a proper diet is crucial to maintaining a strong immune system. Give yourself – and your taste buds – a boost with these nutritious, delicious foods:
· Button mushrooms: Enjoy them raw or cooked for immune-boosting selenium, riboflavin, and niacin.
· Yogurt: The probiotics in yogurt can help ease the severity of colds. Make sure the label says, “live and active cultures.”
· Spinach: Eat raw or lightly cooked spinach for maximum benefits including folate (folic acid) and Vitamin C.
· Sweet potatoes: These contain one of the richest natural sources of beta-carotene, which your body converts into Vitamin A to support your immune system and gut health.
· Broccoli: Phytochemicals in broccoli are great for the immune system so serve up a healthy portion anyway you like it – raw, roasted, or steamed.
· Garlic: It packs so many flavors and that is not all. Some studies have shown that eating garlic can reduce the frequency and duration of colds.
· Ginger: Add fresh ginger to stir-fries for a spicy kick, and because it is a great source of antioxidants.
· Red peppers: Citrus fruits are known for their Vitamin C, but red peppers actually contain about 3 times more Vitamin C than oranges, and Acerola cherries are extremely high in Vitamin C.
· Chicken soup: That old saying about chicken soup turns out to be true. If you do have a cold, a nice hot bowl of it can help ease your symptoms and get you on the road to recovery faster.
Quick and Easy Chili
As the temperatures start to drop, you will need warming, crowd-pleasing recipes that are fast and easy to prepare. Chili is a great option. You can season it to your liking and add or substitute ingredients to suit your tastes.
1 pound chopped beef, chicken, or turkey
1 large chopped onion
1 chopped green or red pepper (optional)
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 can red or pink beans
1 can chopped tomatoes or tomato sauce
Sauté your choice of chopped meat over medium heat until brown, seasoning it with salt, pepper, and chili powder to taste. Stir in the chopped onion and pepper, and cook until the onions turn translucent. Add the can of beans with liquid. Let simmer for 2 minutes, uncovered. Add tomato sauce or chopped tomatoes with juice. Simmer uncovered, 5-7 minutes, or until desired consistency – not too dry but with just enough liquid to be saucy, but not soupy. Add more chili powder, cumin, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve over rice, couscous, or noodles.
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