IMMUNE BOOSTERS: Turn your body into a flu-fighting machine

Incorporating the 'immune-boosting trifecta' to your diet can help ward off colds and viruses.

As cold and flu season rolls into Canada, everyone wants to keep up their best defence. Many nutritionists will tell you, it starts with your diet.

Zinc, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D all aid in a stronger immune system, which can help ward off colds and viruses. And as we all battle the COVID19 pandemic, keeping illness away is top priority.

Supplements are recommended, especially for vitamin D, however you can naturally get a ton of vitamin C and zinc in your food.

“Vitamins and minerals have a synergistic effect in the body,” explains nutritionist Diane Murphy. “One needs another to help it work at peak capacity. So when you buy a supplement you are sort of isolating nutrients. But when you are eating food you are getting the whole spectrum of everything that you need.”

So what foods should I be eating?

Murphy has prepared a simple grocery list in order to ensure you are eating the trifecta of immune boosting foods.

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Zinc: mushrooms, green peas, spinach, lima beans, broccoli, nuts, crab, oysters, poultry

Vitamin C: red peppers, orange, pineapple, kiwi, strawberries, tomatoes, snow peas, potato with skin

Vitamin D: egg yolk, mackerel, salmon, fortified vitamin d cereals and milks

She’s also provided some simple recipe ideas that incorporate these healthy foods into your fall cooking:

Pizza Omelet Muffins

Pizza muffins. Courtesy: Diane Murphy

Courtesy: Diane Murphy

Makes 8


  • 4 Organic Eggs

  • ¼ cup Pasta Sauce

  • ¼ cup Red Pepper (diced)

  • ¼ cup Red Onion (diced)

  • 10 black Kalamata olives chopped (optional but really nice)

  • ½ cup Spinach (chopped)

  • 1/8 tsp Sea Salt

  • 1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper

  • 2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast

  • ½ tsp each Oregano and Basil (or 1 tsp dried Italian herbs)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

  2. 6-8 cup silicone muffin tray or line regular cupcake tray with paper liners.

  3. Beat eggs together in a large bowl.

  4. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

  5. Distribute evenly into each muffin cup.

  6. Bake until muffins are set in the middle, approx. 18-20 minutes, but may need a bit longer depending on your oven.

Recipe from Eat Your Way to Feeling Fabulous, by Diane Murphy & Frances Lea

Fish and Kale Chowder

An amazing chowder without using milk or heavy creams.

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  • 4 Tbsp organic butter

  • 1 ½ cups (350ml) onion, chopped

  • 2 large red bell peppers, thinly sliced

  • 4 cups (1L) of kale, chopped

  • 6 cups of chicken or veggie stock

  • 1-2 Yukon Gold potatoes, skin on, cut into 1-inch chunks (optional)

  • 1 sweet potato, chopped in cubes

  • 2 parsnips, sliced

  • 2 Tbsp organic, non-GMO cornstarch (optional for thickness)

  • 2 Tbsp water

  • 18 oz (500g) whitefish (Sole, Cod, Snapper or Haddock) cut into bite sized pieces

  • ¼ cup parsley

  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large pot on the stove on medium heat, melt butter and add onions until soft (about 5 mins). Add peppers and kale.

  2. Cook and stir for 5 minutes then add broth and potatoes and bring to a boil.

  3. Reduce heat and let simmer for 8 minutes.

  4. Add parsley and blend the soup with an immersion (hand) blender until kale is broken up and for a thicker soup.*

  5. Add fish.

  6. Simmer over low heat, until fish is cooked- about 3-5 minutes. Taste and add sea salt as needed, starting with 1 tsp or add to each bowl separately.

To give this more of a ‘chowder’ feel, I hand blend the soup for about 10 seconds or so, to break up the potatoes, but you can skip this. Or if you don’t have a hand blender, you could put a few cups of soup into the blender to make it a bit creamier.

Mushroom Soup

Mushrooms are so rich in flavour that you don’t need to add milk or heavy cream that can alter it. If you want to go completely dairy free, you can sauté the mushrooms in soup stock instead.


  • 3 TBSP organic butter (or ½ cup soup stock)

  • 1 onion, diced

  • Sprinkle of sea salt and ground pepper

  • 3-4 cups (approx. 20oz) of mushrooms (Portobello, cremini and/or button) roughly chopped

  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme

  • 3 cups of any soup stock you have on hand

  • 1 tsp Braggs or Tamari (optional)

  • Additional sea salt to taste


  1. Melt butter/soup stock on low-med heat and add onions until translucent.

  2. Add salt and pepper, mix, then add mushrooms. Coat with butter and let heat until mushrooms are soft.

  3. Add fresh thyme and mix together.

  4. Add bone broth/veggie stock and Braggs and bring to boil then simmer for 10-15 minutes.

  5. Remove from heat and puree to desired consistency with hand blender (or you can use a regular blender once it’s cooled down if you prefer).

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Thumbnail courtesy: Magda Ehlers/PEXELS