Forget the flu shot! This year, fight back with food instead! Come back each Wednesday as we reveal five different foods that are purported to support your immune system in the fight against the cold and flu viruses that run rampant this time of year.
What’s more, each post will be opened up to all our readers, who will be linking up their favorite recipes with these key flu-fighting ingredients, so you can get lots of ideas for creative ways to serve them to your family!
When I was asked to participate in this blog series, I got so excited. What a great opportunity to learn from others, and learn more about the amazing foods God has provided for us through His creation to fight sickness and disease. Not to mention, I get to share it with you!
So without further ado, let’s get started!
Before I got married, each year the dreaded cold and flu season took me out of the ball game – every year, without fail. Even during our first year of marriage, Mark and I passed the cold back and forth all season. It was horrible.
Since then, I have learned that when we adequately boost our immune system through a nutritious diet (and supplementation where needed), we drastically decrease our chances of contracting the cold or flu virus. Mark and I have been free from the flu (loving all of this alliteration) since switching over to a more whole foods diet. Now that Samuel is eating more solid foods, I want to be sure I’m helping him load up these nutritious foods as well.
One of the easiest foods I have found, and it just so happens to be this week’s flu fighting food, is pumpkin – something we all have sitting on our front porch this time of year!
Pumpkins are a super food, full of vitamins, minerals, and other healthy nutrients. It matters not whether you eat the pulp or the seeds, pumpkins are great for your health and can offer some incredible immune boosting benefits. Not to mention, they are an easy baby food.
4 Health Benefits of Pumpkin
We have talked about fiber before. Fiber is important for good digestive health. Good digestive health is good for the overall immune system because upwards of 75% of our health lies within our gut! Without a properly functioning digestive system, our immune system doesn’t stand a chance. Pumpkin contains a healthy supply of beneficial fiber, which can help boost your immune system by promoting a healthy gut.
2. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that is necessary for growth and repair of tissues in the body. Since Vitamin C is not stored in the body, we must continually supply our bodies with this vitamin through our diets. Pumpkins are high in Vitamin C!
3. Vitamin A
Also known as carotene is a powerful antioxidant, which is found in all bright orange, yellow, red and green fruits and vegetables. The carotenes found in pumpkin are converted to vitamin A, which is essential for healthy immune system regulation. It is said that pumpkins contain the daily recommended dosage of vitamin A in one single cup!
4. B Vitamins
Deficiency in the B vitamin complex can result in the enlargement and malfunction of almost every organ and gland in the body. Some studies show that thiamin may strengthen the immune system and promote the body’s ability to tolerate stress. Pumpkin is high in B vitamins; therefore a great source for this most important nutrient.
Pumpkin has several other benefits, but you’ll have to check out some of the other posts in the series to learn more. I’ve also linked several resources below for further reading.
Would you like an easy tip for cooking pumpkin?
I have found an easy way to “roast” my pumpkins. With a little one crawling around and getting into everything – yesterday, he ate an entire tomato before I even knew he was rummaging through my produce bag – I am always looking for the easiest, no-brainer way of cooking.
Insert – Crockpot “Roasted” Pumpkin
After trying my hand at roasting my pumpkin in the oven, I opted to find a “better” way. I have tendency to forget about food if it takes longer than 20 minutes to cook.
Here’s what you do:
- Wash your pumpkin.
- Poke lots of holes in your pumpkin.
- Put the pumpkin in your crock pot.
- Put the lid on your crock pot.
- Turn on low.
- Cook until you remember it’s in there.
So easy, even I can do it! If your pumpkin is too big to place in your crock pot whole, then just slice it in two (don’t remove seeds unless you really want to) and place both halves in your crock pot.
I “roasted” this pumpkin for about 4 hours on low. When you can poke your fork through your pumpkin, it’s done.
I spooned out the seeds and stringys. Then scooped out the flesh and put it in a mason jar to store in the fridge (or freezer).
Pumpkin Makes a Great First Food for Baby
I pull out chunks of pumpkin for Samuel to eat. He absolutely loves it. He can eat a pint of pumpkin in one sitting!
With all of pumpkin’s amazing benefits, I love that I can help boost my baby’s immune system with a simple food found in God’s amazing creation.
Book Sources for this post:
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
Be sure to check out the other great pumpkin recipes and tips shared by the other amazing ladies hosting this series with me. They have some great stuff that you don’t want to miss!