Herbs and mushrooms and roots, yum yum! Not only are these all categories of helpful nutrients that can support your immune health through the annual cold and flu season, but they also fit snugly into the category of adaptogen.
Often thought of in terms of herbs only, adaptogens are known for their help in supporting our adrenals, glands that produce hormones to help regulate our metabolism, immune system, and blood pressure as well as our response to stress.
If the coming season has you stressed about running out of energy, adaptogens may be the ingredients you need to help rebuild and strengthen your empty tank while also cooling your jets and keeping you calm.
Some of these adaptogenic stars can be found in abundance right now. Autumn is mushroom season, and root vegetables are also in season—and plentiful. We’ve coupled the harvested beauties of roots and fungi with healthy adaptogenic herbs that are available all year round.
Incorporating these ingredients into your menu will benefit you in a myriad of delicious ways. From building energy and supporting your immune system to tantalizing your taste buds, each recipe provides a medley of irresistible flavours.
Root soups are hearty and healthy go-tos during the colder months. A couple of often overlooked roots, rutabagas and turnips are sometimes thought to be bitter. One quick way to take the bitterness out of these roots is to add a bit of sweetness. In this recipe, we’ve upped the ante with sweet potatoes and carrots to create a delicious soup with an abundance of healthy ingredients—plus plenty of flavour for everyone.
Fall is plenteous mushroom season. Mushrooms, both fresh and dried, are available all year round, but fall brings out the best of the best with a myriad of varieties. Whether you cook with fresh or dried, the healthy components of mushrooms provide a compendium of antioxidants, no matter what the season.
There’s nothing better to nosh on than a sandwich with oodles of fresh herby flavours. This herbed version of an egg salad sandwich is perfect for a midday brunch. It’s laced with a jazzed-up spicy mayo and topped with plenty of fresh herbs and zingy lemon. Choose a quality sourdough bread, such as rye or sprouted buckwheat, for a chewy and fibrous crunch when toasted.
Delicious for breakfast or even an afternoon snack, this breakfast bowl is so thick and creamy, it looks and tastes like dessert! The real kick is the essential reishi mushroom powder, which is thought to contribute immune system support. On its own, it can be a bit bitter, but locked into this chocolatey dish, it’s definitely a winner.
Healthy herbs are an all-year bonus that offer many health benefits, from lowering cholesterol to controlling blood sugar, along with potential protection against cancer. Adding a medley of herbs to your recipes not only adds amazing flavour bonuses, but is also a sure-fire recipe for good health. Here are some of our favourite healthy—and delicious!—herbs:
Mushrooms, sometimes mysterious and often misunderstood, may offer amazing health benefits to those of us who relish their flavour possibilities—the quiet flavour that makes other ingredients in a recipe pop.
From lowering blood pressure to supporting our immune system and being an incredible source of potassium, who knew such an earthy food could be the anchor for so much goodness? And the height of irony: often grown in the dark, mushrooms are actually touted to be the only “vegetable” (they’re actually their own food group—fungi/mycology) that naturally contains vitamin D.
Here, we’ve listed only a few of the most common mushrooms used in cooking. But did you realize that there are more than 50,000 varieties of mushrooms?! They’re not all edible, but that’s a lot of fungi serving important roles in the ecoculture of our planet and our diets!
When it comes to root veggies, the healthy benefits are worth rooting for! These underground beauties offer an amazing wealth of nutrients, including essential fibre and calcium. Root veggies play a huge role in nutritional sustainability. We’ve featured only a few in our recipes here, but the root vegetable category is almost as limitless as the mushroom category. The following are but a few:
A good night’s sleep can change everything. Being well rested not only gives your body and brain time to recharge, but also helps your immune system operate to its full potential and lowers the risk for several serious health problems, including heart disease. But if you’re spending more time counting sheep than actually catching zzz’s, you’re far from alone. For many of us, it can be tough to get enough sleep. And, over time, there can be troubling consequences that go far beyond feeling like you’re more worn out than your favourite jeans. For instance, people who don’t get enough sleep tend to eat more calories and accumulate visceral fat around the abdomen, potentially contributing to cardiovascular disease risk. Restorative sleep is also important for helping you recover from exercise training and reap more of the benefits from these sweat sessions. So, with all this said, you should do what you can to get the most out of each night. Poor sleep has a lot of causes, and no one antidote will allow you to bag the sleep you need. Along with proper sleep hygiene—including maintaining a regular sleep schedule, powering down electronics in the last hour or so before bed, and keeping your sleep environment dark and quiet—dietary choices may be one part of the better slumber puzzle. Science now shows that what you eat can influence how much quality sleep you get. So, with some savvy cooking, there is hope for finally getting the ever-elusive shut-eye of your dreams and feeling like a champ. These recipes feature the foods you need to help bring on sweet dreams.
This hearty version of traditional sloppy joes has a tidy helping of sleep-aiding dietary fibre, thanks to its payload of smoky lentils. Swapping out the doughy bun for sweet bell pepper ups the nutritional ante and visual appeal. It’s also superb as leftovers. Smoke and fire Chipotle peppers are ripened red jalapeno chiles that have been smoked and dried. In stores, they’re typically sold in a rich, smoky flavoured adobo sauce. They add fiery, complex flavour to sauces used for pasta dishes, tacos, and any version of sloppy joes.
If you’re hungry for a nighttime snack, then spoon up this creamy, sweet-tart yogurt bowl to help promote some sweet dreams. It’s also a great breakfast option with a little granola tossed on top. The cherry compote can be made up to 5 days in advance. Less is more Many people would be surprised by the amount of added sugar that can be found in flavoured yogurts, including vanilla. A healthier option is to select products that are labelled “plain” and then let natural sweetness come from fruit toppings.