Recipe: Immune Boosting Breakfast Porridge
This breakfast porridge is packed full of great immune-boosting ingredients that can help ward off those nasty colds that seem to be going around at this time of year. Oats contain beta-glucan, a polysaccharide that has been shown to significantly enhance the human immune response to bacterial infection. Beta-glucan increases the rate at which neutrophils, a type of immune cell, navigate to the site of an infection and this more rapid response to infection results in faster microbial clearance and healing. One serve of this breakfast porridge contains two thirds of your recommended daily intake of beta-glucan. Hooray to that!
Components of the body’s immune response have also been shown to be improved by the probiotic bacteria found yogurt. I can’t get enough of Fage’s Total, but there are others out there; just make sure you choose one that contains live cultures and is free from all the artificial nasties and excessive quantities of added sugar that are so often found in many of the ‘low fat’ options.
Vitamin C plays an important role in immune function and resistance to infection and has been shown to reduce the risk, severity, and duration of infectious diseases. During infections and stress, its concentration in the body can decline rapidly, so it needs to be replenished regularly. Raspberries are a great source of vitamin C, containing 26mg per 100g - and in doing so, make up 43% of your RDA.
Nuts and seeds are a great source of dietary fibre, protein, unsaturated fats and various vitamins and antioxidants that can promote a healthy immune system. Worthy of particular note is the brazil nut, which contains a ridiculously large quantity of selenium (100g contains 1917µg, that’s 2739% of your RDA!). Selenium is a potent nutritional antioxidant that increases immunity.
Vitamin E supplementation has been shown to have various beneficial effects on the immune system and a deficiency of vitamin E is associated with increased infectious diseases. Most nuts and seeds contain some vitamin E, but with 37.8mg per 100g (that’s 252% of your RDA) sunflower seeds are up there as one of the best. Not far behind them is the almond, which contains 26.2mg per 100g (175% of your RDA). I’ve added both to my breakfast porridge for a healthy immune boost.
45g rolled oats
100ml milk (cow, soy, almond, whatever takes your fancy)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
25g mixed seeds and nuts (I used brazil nuts, almonds, golden linseed, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed and chia seed)
50g fresh raspberries
1-2 very large dollops of Greek yoghurt (like I mentioned before, I'm a big fan of Fage's Total. It contains no added sugar, thickeners or preservatives yet it's so creamy and delicious. I don't know how they do it, and the ‘full fat’ version is only 5% fat; Other brands of Greek-style yoghurt are usually up around the 10% mark ...and taste a bit like plastic)
2 tsp honey
Put the oats into a pan with the milk, water and vanilla extract and cook gently over a low heat, stirring regularly (I've use 1 part milk to 2 parts water but you can vary the proportions depending on your preferred taste; add more milk if you like your porridge creamier or vice versa);
Meanwhile, chop the nuts and add to a non-stick pan along with the seeds. Dry fry over a medium heat, shaking the pan regularly to make sure they don't stick and burn. When they begin to turn brown and you can smell them cooking, they're ready, so remove them from the heat and put to one side;
When the porridge has reached the consistency that you like (not too runny, not too thick), pour into a bowl, dollop on the yoghurt, add the raspberries, sprinkle over the nuts and seeds and drizzle with honey. Easy.
Energy 114kcal (477kj)
of which sugars 5.5g
of which saturates 1.1g
Per serve (479g)
Energy 545kcal (2284kj)
of which sugars 26.3g
of which saturates 5.5g