Autumn brings something special - crisp nights alongside the soulful sights of seasonal change. With the changing seasons comes an abundance of hearty food alongside the growing need to keep your immune system strong in preparation for the winter months.
We have some immune-boosting Autumn diet tips that will help you transition between seasons without the runny nose and downtime.
1. Carbohydrates are friends
The transition into the cooler months often comes with a craving for hearty warming foods. And with these foods often comes an influx of carbohydrates – which for many, sounds a little scary! But not all carbohydrates are bad, carbohydrates can be your friend, and great for your health if you choose the right ones.
But what are the right ones?
Complex carbohydrates are carbs that take your digestive system a little longer to break down. This means longer-lasting energy - energy that will keep every cell in your body functioning – including your immune system.
Complex carbs are also a valuable source of starches; these starches provide food for the good bacteria in your gut - this is the good bacteria that helps fight and prevent entry of potentially harmful viruses into your body.
So, where can you get these immune-boosting carbs?
The best sources of complex carbohydrates include those found in whole-grains including brown rice, oats and whole wheat breads and pasta. Look for sprouted breads with seeds to give you a boost of that gut-loving, immune-boosting resistant starch.
2. Autumn vegetables are full of nutrients
No Autumn would be complete without pumpkin taking centre stage. The great thing about pumpkin is its versatility. You can make a warming pumpkin soup (try our hearty pumpkin soup recipe below), a soul-filling pumpkin pie, or you could put it in a nutritious stir fry.
Not only do you get a dose of those gut-loving carbs, but you also get your immune dose of vitamins A, and vitamin C.
Squashes could not go without mention during Autumn. Squashes come in many weird and wonderful varieties and in colours that reflect the natural beauty of Autumn. They also contain some exciting nutrients that are good for your immune system.
Firstly, squashes contain a heap of water, which helps to keep you hydrated. Secondly, they are loaded with antioxidants including vitamin C, beta carotene and vitamin E. All of these antioxidants help your body eliminate substances that can cause harm to your body and weaken your immune defences.
Try adding squash to soups, stews, stir-fries, or your next roast.
3. Warm up with spices
If there was ever a time to appreciate a spice it would be throughout Autumn. Ginger is the holy grail of warming spices and is perfect for the cooler months. The active compounds in ginger include gingerol and shogaols; these compounds are potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, making them great for boosting immunity.
But ginger is not the only spice that can give you that taste of Autumn and extra warmth. Try adding some cinnamon, nutmeg or cardamom to keep boosting those antioxidants that your immune system loves.
Now the fun part – combining all these ingredients to make a delicious soup.
Hearty Autumn Pumpkin Soup
- 1 pumpkin, medium halved
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 2 shallots, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 100 ml apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper, optional
- 1250 ml vegetable stock, add extra if needed
- 200 ml coconut cream
- 2 tbs sunflower seeds
- 2 tbs pumpkin seeds
- 2 tbsp black chia seeds
- 2 tbs brown linseeds
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Scoop out the pulp and seeds from the pumpkin using a tablespoon and discard.
Cut the skin off and dice flesh with a sharp knife; make sure you have at least 600-700 g of pumpkin flesh.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and a pinch of salt, cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add the pumpkin flesh and cook until just starting to soften, frequently stirring, for about 5 minutes.
Stir in the apple cider vinegar; bring to a boil and let it bubble and reduce by three-quarters. Stir in the spices, cook for 1 minute, and then cover with the stock.
Bring to a simmer; once simmering, cook over a slightly reduced heat, occasionally stirring, until the pumpkin is soft enough to blend, 30-35 minutes.
When ready, stir in the cream; purée the soup with a blender or food processor. Return the soup to the saucepan and return to simmer—season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve into warm bowls and top with a mixture of sunflower, pumpkin, chia, and linseeds.
Let Autumn give you permission to grab yourself a blanket, snuggle up in front of the fire and enjoy our Hearty Autumn Pumpkin Soup. And if you are looking for that little extra immune support try Life Nutrition Advanced Probiotics to help ensure the good bacteria in your gut are thriving and ready to defend.