Sunday, December 16, 2012

Pumpkin, Spinach and Astragalus Soup



To continue upon my "The Roasting of the Pumpkin" post, something had to be made immediately after roasting that big ol' pumpkin. I decided that a nice soup could be good, and after a trip to the local herb shop earlier in the day I decided to use some astragalus root to give it a nice winter immune boost. Now what, may you ask, is astragalus root?




Here's the stuff. It's really powerful. Here's what Mountain Rose Herbs has to say about it:

"Modern research shows that simple preparations of astragalus as a whole herb stimulate the immune system in several ways. It increases the number of stem cells in bone marrow, and encourages their maturity into active white blood cells. It appears to help signal the white blood cells known as neutrophils to migrate to places they are needed to fight infection. It stimulates the "germ-eating" white blood cells known as macrophages, activates T-cells and natural killer (NIK) cells, and increases the production of immune globulins. Usually taken with a variety of other herbs, astragalus as a whole herb eases chronic respiratory infections, aids in recovery from both cancer and the side effects of cancer therapy, and enhances health in HIV."

So ultimately it is really great for all around health, especially in the upcoming winter months. The best way to take it would probably be by brewing a decoction (a really strong tea sort of thing) and drinking a quart of it a day, but a more practical way would be to brew it into foods that use water to cook-- pastas, rices, and soups. This is why I decided to use my healthy, fresh pumpkin to make a healthy, immune boosting soup that'll help ward off winter illness!

Pumpkin, Spinach and Astragalus Soup
1/2- 1oz astragalus root
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped roughly
2 cups fresh pumpkin puree
2 cups fresh spinach
1/4 cup cream
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp ginger
salt
pepper

Directions:
1. Place broth and astragalus root in a pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and simmer until about 1 cup of liquid has evaporated.
2. Remove the astragalus root. Add in the onion, garlic, pumpkin puree and spinach and simmer until the onions and garlic are cooked through
3. Using either a cuisanart or immersion blender, blend the soup until it is smooth. Add the cream, garlic powder, ginger and stir until evenly incorporated.
4. Salt and pepper to taste, and enjoy!


Health Benefits!!
Pumpkin-High in beta carotene, which is beneficial for eyesight and can help reduce risk of certain cancers, high in fiber, rich in B-Complex vitamins (including folates, niacin, B-6), rich in calcium, copper, potassium and phosphorus
Onion-strong antimicrobial benefits, contains sulfides lowering blood lipids and blood cholesterol, contain flavanoids which are known to help protect against cardiovascular disease, high sulfur content for anticlotting agent.
Garlic- Contains allicin, an incredibly medicinal component, especially in raw garlic. Allicin can help prevent high blood pressure, aid in digestion, aid in inflammation reduction, help prevent and cure cold, and much much more!
Ginger- relieves nausea and indigestion, prevents motion sickness, may help morning sickness, antispasmotic  properties help relieve cramps, useful in helping arthritis, can reduce cholesterol levels in blood, and it is an aphrodisiac ;-)
Spinach- High in vitamin A (for eyesight), high in potassium, high in vitamin K (for bone health) and great source of iron

Sources:
http://www.vegetarian-nutrition.info/updates/onions.php
http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-garlic.html
http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/pumpkin.html
http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/vegetable/health-benefits-of-spinach.html

1 comment:

  1. This seems very healthy and very nutritious. Thank you so much for sharing this post. I will definitely give it a try. health store Toronto

    ReplyDelete