Old School Middle Eastern Recipes with Some Modern Day Twists

Immune Boosting Green Smoothie

Immune Boosting Green Smoothie

There are only a few mornings where I am not starting off my day with this Immune Boosting Green Smoothie. I just love it. This smoothie is chock-full of vitamins, fiber, and protein. It sets such a positive tone for the day and really gives me a nourishing jump start. It’s the best!

This smoothie is creamy and protein rich, without the use of dairy or protein powders. It is simply made with just whole, easily accessible ingredients.

I have my mom to thank for getting me hooked on smoothies. As kids, whenever we were sick or as special treats on weekends, she would make smoothies for us. Now, she makes it for her grandchildren, who gobble it up, and they claim it’s their favorite breakfast food.

Some Background….

As we are at peak cold and flu season, it is so important to fill your body with vitamin rich foods to rev up your immune system. Food, truly is medicine. As a pediatrician and teacher of Culinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, this is something I emphasize to patients and students daily.  Empowering each other to cook and eat well, is one of the best interventions we can provide in healthcare, and, the best part is that it does not require a prescription. 

What does “immune boosting” foods mean?

Lets take a step back and discuss what is considered “immune boosting” foods. Immune boosting foods include whole foods that provide the essential vitamins and minerals to develop the components of your immune system – your skin/mucosal barriers, cellular immunity and antibody production. They help mediate the interactions that occur in your immune system when fighting infections.

The main vitamins and minerals that are needed for effective functioning of your immune system are: vitamins C, E, D, A, B(6), folate, B(12), selenium, zinc, copper and iron. Protein, antioxidants and water are also necessary components to building the fundamental parts of your immune system as well. The majority of these can be achieved by “eating the rainbow” as they say.

Inadequate intake of these nutrients may lead to suppressed immunity, which can predispose you to infections. That is why it is important to eat a well-balanced diet full of plenty fruits and vegetables all year round, so that your immune system is ready to fight whenever it needs to.

So what’s in the smoothie??

Lets talk about the ingredients and why they are fabulous to start your day with. Of note, below highlights the main immune boosting property of each ingredient. There are many additional vitamins and minerals in each which are not mentioned that have their own additional benefits in the body.

  1. Spinach
    • A true superfood. It has Vitamins E, B6, C and folate – all of which are essential in developing your immune system. It also contains iron which helps circulate oxygen to protective antibodies
  2. Almonds
    • Another superfood. Very good source of Vitamin E, magnesium and B vitamins, iron and protein which is necessary for normal cell growth and function. Almonds also contain antioxidants to protect cells. They are rich in copper, zinc, manganese and magnesium which are all essential minerals in the immune system.
  3. Ginger
    • Great source of vitamin B6. Also high in gingerol, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
  4. Avocado
    • Good source of so many nutrients – vitamins C, E, B vitamins, folate, magnesium and packed with antioxidants.
  5. Water
    • Helps maintain and mobilize the components of your immune system.
  6. Pear
    • Good source of vitamin C. Also contains copper, magnesium, B vitamins, and water.
  7. Pineapple
    • Excellent course of vitamin C. Also is a good source manganese, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as B vitamins and magnesium.
  8. Limes
    • High source of Vitamin C and antioxidants.

Let’s share…

During the week of March 2-6, we (at Three Teas Kitchen) are sharing recipes that resonate with our Middle Eastern background and family practices to boost our immunity during cold and flu season. Fellow bloggers are participating using the hashtag #immuneboost2020. Check it out for ideas and education on immune boosting foods, and feel free to also contribute by continuing to use #immuneboost2020.

With that, if you are looking for a nourishing way to start your day, and one that your kiddos may love, look no further than this smoothie.

Bosas (Kisses in Arabic),

Tina T, MD

Immune Boosting Green Smoothie

This smoothie is full of vitamins, fiber, and minerals to giving your body the nourishing boost it craves!
Prep Time5 mins
Servings: 1 person

Ingredients

  • cup packed spinach
  • 1 pear, sliced
  • 2 heaping tbsp avocado
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger*
  • 10 almonds
  • cup pineapple, (I usually use frozen)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3-4 ice cubes

Instructions

  • In the following order place water, ice and spinach – this will allow for smooth blending.
  • Add all the other ingredients on top – pear, avocado, ginger, almonds, pineapple and blend for about 3 minutes or until smooth.
  • Enjoy for breakfast or lunch on the go!**

Notes

Three Teas Tips:
*You can use fresh or frozen ginger, or no ginger if it’s not your thing.  One option that I have found very convenient is from Trader Joe’s. They have trays of frozen ginger cubes, with each cube being 1 tsp. Another option is ground ginger powder. If using powder, I would do just a few shakes or 1/2 tsp. 
**Sometimes I will blend this up the night before and have for breakfast or lunch the next day. 

Articles for Reference:

Contribution of selected vitamins and trace elements to immune function.

Selected vitamins and trace elements support immune function by strengthening epithelial barriers and cellular and humoral immune responses.

The immune system: a target for functional foods?

Micronutrients and innate immunity.

Interrelationship between vitamins and cytokines in immunity.

Vitamin D, innate immunity and upper respiratory tract infection.



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