The past few days here on the mountain have been crisp and cool. We’re wearing sweaters and thick socks, there’s a fire in the wood stove, the essential oil diffuser is pumping out Spiced Cider (from Plant Therapy’s Winter Synergy Blend set), and we’re eating lots of soup.
Speaking of soup — I have a recipe to share with you today for one of our favorite cold-weather soups — Turmeric-Ginger Chicken Noodle Soup. This soup will not only warm you up on chilly days, but it will support your immune system at the same time.
My whole family enjoys this soup, and there are quite a few ways to adjust it to make it work for you. I’ll share more about recipe adjustments below. But first, we must talk about how good it is for your immune system!
Immune System Support Through Food
I’m a big believer in the principle that health begins with what we eat. I’m not saying my family and I eat ultra healthy all the time. I certainly enjoy sweets and junk just like other people, but I do try to keep those things limited to a very small portion of my diet.
When it comes to cold and flu season, instead of relying on herbal supplements alone, I try to incorporate nourishing, immune-supportive foods as well. And if I can combine both food and herbs, I’m all for it. This turmeric-ginger chicken noodle soup has the immune-supportive benefits of nourishing bone broth, turmeric and black pepper, ginger, garlic, and astragalus.
Astragalus is a great herb for immune support. It’s believed to strengthen the immune system and stimulate white blood cell production, antibodies, and interferon (Foster & Johnson, 2006). Garlic is believed to have 18 known antiviral and antibacterial substances (Gladstar, 1993) and is also used to stimulate the immune system during cold and flu season. Ginger has antimicrobial properties, is warming and stimulating to the cardiovascluar system, and its volatile oils are believed to stimulate the immune system to fight bacterial and viral infections (McIntyre, 1996).
Turmeric and black pepper, while not specifically immuno-supportive herbs, are a great combination to include as they are warming and stimulating to the body. Not only that, but turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, is a digestive stimulant (which will help your body better break down and absorb nutrients from your food), and is hepatoprotective (supports liver health).
Immune-Supportive Turmeric-Ginger Chicken Noodle Soup
- 3 pounds chicken breast
- 2 medium onions, quartered
- 2 heads of garlic, peeled and thickly sliced
- 3-inch piece of ginger, unpeeled, thinly sliced
- 3 dried bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
- 1 tablespoon dried astragalus root
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 4 medium carrots, peeled, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
- Chicken broth
- 8 ounces spaghetti noodles
- Tie astragalus root up in a square piece of cheesecloth and tie with baker’s twine or place in an unbleached cotton muslin bag, tied tightly.
- Place all ingredients, except noodles, in an Instant Pot (although a Crockpot will work as well) and add enough chicken broth (homemade version here) to cover the ingredients by 1-inch. In an Instant Pot, select the soup setting, and if needed, adjust to 30 minutes of high pressure. In a Crockpot, cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.
- Cook noodles in a separate pot. Drain and rinse when ready.
- When the soup is finished, remove and compost astragalus root, shred chicken, and add noodles to soup.
(Get a printable version of this recipe at the bottom of the post!)
- If your family isn’t a fan of spicy things, you have a few options. First, you can leave the ginger root out completely. You can also decrease the amount of fresh ginger used, or you can remove the ginger slices after it has cooked. This last option is the one I choose for my kids who aren’t a fan of spicy foods. I haven’t found that the garlic causes the soup to be overly spicy. Like onions, garlic tends to lose its heat once cooked.
- If you want to keep the astragalus in your soup, use powdered astragalus instead of dried root.
- If you want to boost the protein content of your soup, add in your favorite brand of whey protein, collagen, or gelatin. I talk about my favorite brand of collagen and gelatine in this post.
- Feel free to swap the noodles out for your favorite variety. Udon and konjac noodles are both delicious in this recipe!
Whether you eat this soup to warm your body on a cold day, for general wellness-support, or to stimulate your immune system when you feel under the weather, you’re sure to benefit from this delicious Turmeric-Ginger Chicken Noodle Soup in some way. Enjoy![yumprint-recipe id=’54’]REFERENCES:
- Foster, S., & Johnson, R. (2006). Desk reference to nature’s medicine. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society.
- Gladstar, R. (1993). Herbal healing for women. Simon & Schuster; New York, NY
- McIntyre, A. (1996). Flower power. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company, Inc.