According to Fiona Kirk's Rescue Plan for the Cold & Flu Season, the immune system needs a cocktail of around 20 different micro-nutrients (vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals) daily for protection against viral threat. Whilst most of these micro-nutrients are present in a good balanced diet, there are some in particular that can seriously boost our defences during the cold harsh reality that is winter!
Peppers (red, yellow, orange, green) are super-rich in vitamin C - which is an extremely powerful antioxidant which not only protects us against heart disease, circulatory problems and some cancers but has also been shown to stimulate the production and function of white blood cells that attack viruses. Eat them raw in salads or roast them with other vegetables.
We think this soup recipe, from Fiona, is a great way to include them in your diet.
(makes 4 servings)
- 1 red onion, skin on, quartered
- 2 long sweet red peppers, de-seeded and halved lengthways
- 4 fresh plum tomatoes, halved
- 2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 500ml chicken or vegetable stock
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 400g can red kidney/cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 100g chorizo, sliced into discs
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 15g fresh basil or parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- Preheat the grill to high. Arrange the onion, peppers and tomatoes on a baking sheet, cut sides down with the garlic cloves.
- Grill the vegetables for 6-8 minutes or until the skins are beginning to blacken. Remove the skins from the onion, peppers and tomatoes and squeeze the garlic flesh from the skins.
- Chop half the vegetables into small chunks and put the remainder into a food processor or liquidiser with the garlic flesh and stock. Process until smooth, then place in a soup pot with the chopped vegetables.
- Season with salt and pepper and heat the soup through until just boiling, stirring occasionally before reducing the heat, adding the beans, chorizo and balsamic vinegar, covering and simmering gently for 5-7 minutes or until the chorizo is cooked through.
- Toss in the basil/parsley and serve.
- If you are in a rush, it also works well if you skin/peel and chop all the vegetables and sauté them in 1 tablespoon of light olive oil instead of roasting.
For more information head to nutritionist, Fiona Kirk’s website, www.fatbustforever.com