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Fortifying Your Immunity With Food - Tabitha McIntosh

During this time of uncertainty, many of us feel comforted by getting creative in the kitchen, nourishing our bodies and minds with immune enhancing meals. Here are two favourites from Naturopath and Clinical Nutritionist Tabitha McIntosh.

Immune Fortifying Shitake Ginger Soba SoupApprox 25 minutes. Serves 2. Medicinal mushrooms such as shiitake, reishi and turkey tail have long been regarded as therapeutic, immune boosting plants, and a symbol of longevity. The active component of the mushrooms is a bioactive compound called polysaccharides or glycans which have been found to exhibit potential immunomodulating properties, increasing immune cell proliferation and activity. Combined with flavoursome, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory garlic & ginger, the possibilities of this simple broth really are endless!


  1. A dozen whole dried, washed shiitake mushrooms – available from all major supermarkets in the Asian section, organic if you can

  2. 1 large knob ginger (approximately 7 cm x 2 cm) peeled and chopped into coin-sized pieces.

  3. 4 cloves whole peeled organic garlic

  4. 3 spring onions (roots removed) chopped into 1 cm segments

  5. 3 litres chicken stock, vegetable stock or water

  6. 2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari

  7. Your choice of noodles - we like Organic 100% Buckwheat Soba noodles, but thin black bean pulse spaghetti also works well


  1. Throw all ingredients into a large, heavy based saucepan.

  2. Bring to the boil, and then drop back to a medium heat to simmer.

  3. Boil with the lid on for 3 minutes or until shiitake mushrooms are soft yet still have a slight firmness to them.

  4. Remove shiitake mushrooms, slice and then add back into the pot.

  5. This can be served as a soup on its own, or it can be frozen and will store very easily. It can also be used as a stock for poaching chicken, making risottos or stir frying meat.

  6. Cook your noodles.

  7. Drain, rinse in cool water and set aside.

  8. Lay one serve of noodles in the bottom of each bowl, ladle hot soup over the top.

  9. Garnish with thinly sliced spring onion, lemon, and herb of your choice (coriander, lemongrass, parsley all work well). For variety, add to the soup soft tofu, sliced seaweed, chilli flakes, extra grated garlic, broccolini, asparagus, bean sprouts, or bok choy. Can also be served with a sliced boiled egg, or left over meat, chicken or fish from the night before.

Chicken and Vegetable SoupApprox 20 minutes. Serves 4. Garlic, ginger, coriander, turmeric and thyme are powerful antimicrobial herbs that are beneficial to the body when it is under attack from infection. They also promote anti-inflammatory actions, support digestion, and boost the immune system. Vegetarians can use organic silken tofu in place of the chicken to boost protein.


  1. 5 cloves organic garlic, smashed (half a bulb)

  2. 1 leek, green and white parts, chopped

  3. 2 tbsp finely grated ginger

  4. 1 tbsp fresh grated turmeric

  5. 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

  6. 1 litre good quality organic vegetable or chicken stock 1 litre water 500 g free-range chicken breast, cut into chunks

  7. 1 bunch coriander + 1 bunch parsley, chopped

  8. 1 small bunch thyme

  9. 1 bunch kale, stems removed, chopped

  10. 3 tbsp tamari (gluten-free) or soy sauce

  11. Juice of 1 lemon Optional

  12. 60 ml mirin or rice wine

  13. Optional fresh chilli to taste


  1. Combine the onion, garlic, turmeric, ginger, chilli (optional), olive oil into large thick based pot, and gently cook until onion is translucent.

  2. Add the stock, water, kale, chicken and thyme. The thyme leaves will fall off the stems as the soup cooks.

  3. Simmer for 10-15 minutes over a low heat until chicken is cooked through and flavours have infused into the stock.

  4. Remove the thyme stems.

  5. Add mirin, tamari, coriander, parsley and lemon just before serving. Serve in large bowls and sip slowly. Enjoy.

Tip: Fresh turmeric is available from your local fresh produce grocer, but can be difficult to grate, and can stain everything! If you find this too tricky, you can substitute for 1/4 tsp dry turmeric powder. Find out more about Tabitha McIntosh at Awaken Your Health

About Tabitha McIntosh Founder of Awaken Your Health, Tabitha is a qualified and experienced Naturopath, Clinical Nutritionist, and educator, who has been operating a private clinical practice for over 10 years. Having completed her Medical Science degree in 2001, Tabitha went on to pursue her passion for Natural Integrative Healthcare with post-graduate studies in Naturopathy, Western Herbal Medicine, Nutritional Medicine & Environmental Medicine. She now elegantly combines these approaches to health: integrating Naturopathic healing principles with the latest scientific research, to educate and further the health & wellbeing of her clients.

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