Up your veg intake by making a nutrient-rich chicken broth

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There may actually be some truth in the old wives tale that heralds chicken soup as one of the best recipes to help ease a cold and flu. There is some (limited) evidence that cysteine, the amino acid found in chicken may help to thin mucous which eases symptoms of cold and flu (such as a stuffy nose and cough). In addition, cysteine is needed to make N-acetyl L cysteine (NAC) which acts as a powerful antioxidant which helps to boost immune health. Making a broth by slow cooking/simmering the chicken bones on a low heat may be of even more benefit as this process helps to draw out additional immune boosting nutrients and minerals from the bones. *Making bone broth at home can be time-consuming and shop bought is also good! Throwing in lots of brightly coloured vegetables and leafy greens is a good way to create a natural home remedy that packs in lots of immune-supporting phytonutrients and antioxidants which will help your body when it is working to fight bacteria or viruses. Cauliflower may also be especially beneficial as contains sulfurous compounds which may help to boost levels of the antioxidant glutathione - important for the immune response. I also include mushrooms (shiitake are particularly good) as they are an (often underrated) food to support immunity. They contain beta-glucans (compounds which help to promote immune health) and provide a range of phytonutrients which have various anti-inflammatory effects.

What You'll Need

  • Shiitake mushrooms (about 9) stems removed and thinly sliced
  • 4 stalks of kale, cut into ribbons
  • Olive oil (about 1.5 tablespoons)
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed (or use leftover roast chicken and add in with greens at end)
  • Bone Broth (approx 5 cups)
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 sweet potato, cubed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh oregano, 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme, 1 teaspoon of fresh sage (chopped & optional)
  • Half a small cauliflower head, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

What You'll Do

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chicken, celery, carrots, sweet potato, cauliflower, onion, garlic and some salt and pepper to the pot. Top with Bone Broth and bring to a simmer (you can make your own or use pre-made shop bought broth).
  • In a separate pan, heat a drop of olive oil and cook the shiitake mushrooms for 5 minutes until they soften – then set aside
  • Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is are cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes.
  • Stir in the mushrooms, oregano, thyme, sage, spinach and kale, and cook a little further until the greens are tender, about another 3 minutes.
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