Tweaks that can make recipes healthier
When cooking this winter, use these recipe tweaks to make everything healthier. These ideas are designed to improve immune function. Don’t be afraid to experiment in the kitchen with different healing herbs and spices.
Slivers of Swiss chard
Dark leafy greens are dense in nutrients. Add one large green leaf of Swiss chard to a big salad — just make sure to cut it into thin pieces or slivers, so that it combines well into the other lettuce.
This superfood offers important antioxidant compounds to your salad, which help boost immunity and improve DNA methylation — a complex biological process that controls gene expression and suppression.
One half teaspoon of (dried) turmeric in a casserole will go virtually unnoticed, even by kids! You can also grate and add about a teaspoon of fresh turmeric. Either way, it adds strong anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Enhance the water
If you’re boiling pasta, vegetables or potatoes, add immune-boosting herbs to the pot of simmering water. Enhance the water of any soup with a bay leaf or two-inch piece of astragalus root, or both. Remember to pull them out before serving.
Using these mushrooms instead of plain ones adds biologically active compounds that fight cancer and inflammation. A 2015 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that shiitakes reduce c-reactive protein, which your liver sends into your bloodstream in response to inflammation.
Most people know about mashing cauliflower as a substitute for high-carb regular mashed potatoes. But what about “Cauliflower Mac and Cheese?” I have this recipe posted on my website.
Fresh sage, rosemary or thyme
Everyone is used to using dried spices from a jar, but if you ever try the fresh sprigs, you’ll never go back! If you are cooking gravy, scissor in some fresh rosemary, and put some thyme in, too.
Pumpkin seed oil
Add 2 teaspoons to your pumpkin pie filling before cooking it for a profoundly richer flavor and powerful medicinal benefits. Or try it in a stir-fry. It’s rich in vitamin E, zinc, omega fatty acids, and is well known to support prostate and breast health.
Anywhere you can add garlic, do so! You can even roast a whole head of garlic if you wrap it in foil and cook it inside the oven. Then spread it onto crackers or add a dollop to mashed potatoes. Garlic contains allicin, a very strong anti-viral and antibacterial compound.
Dried tart cherries
Instead of cranberries, add dried tart cherries into your stuffing or salad. These contain natural melatonin, which is deeply relaxing; plus, there’s research to show cherries support gout.
Tart cherries reduce muscle breakdown and speed up recovery, too. They have virtually no fat or sodium and taste delicious, not too sweet. [See also “Tart cherry juice may improve your sleep,” in the December Beacon.]
Substitutes for wine
If you don’t want to drink red wine (or alcohol), make a 50/50 mix of tonic water with pomegranate juice.
Or try kombucha, a fermented tea that comes in all kinds of flavors. Or you can sip warm apple cider.
If you’re interested in more recipe tweaks, I have a longer version of this article posted at my website.
This information is opinion only. It is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose your condition. Consult with your doctor before using any new drug or supplement.
Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist and author of The 24-Hour Pharmacist and Real Solutions from Head to Toe. To contact her, visit SuzyCohen.com.