Hot Stuff: 2 Spicy Dishes to Bolster Your Immune System

The next time you feel a cold coming on, reach for your spice cabinet and your fridge’s produce drawer to help rev up your immune system. With antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and sometimes even antibacterial properties, spices have long been prized for their medicinal qualities. From breakfast to dinner, spicy ingredients like cinnamon, allspice, cayenne, Chinese 5-spice powder, turmeric, curry powder and chile peppers step up to the plate to help keep you healthy.

Raisins ’n’ Spicy Hot Oatmeal (pictured above)

Serves 1


1/2 cup quick-cooking oats

2 tablespoons raisins

2 tablespoons sliced almonds, chopped

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 tablespoon hemp seeds

1 teaspoon oat flour

1/2 teaspoon coconut sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

1/8 teaspoon salt


In a small saucepan, bring 3/4 cup water to a boil. Meanwhile, place the oats, raisins, almonds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flour, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, cayenne and salt in a small serving bowl; mix well.

Stir in the boiling water and cover for about 3 minutes before eating.

Spicy Sichuan Beef with Mixed Vegetables

Serves 4


1 pound beef stir-fry strips

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons chili bean paste

1 tablespoon tamari

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon coconut sugar

1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder

1 carrot, thinly sliced

2 stalks celery, thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 scallion, chopped

2 red jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded if desired and thinly sliced

4 red shishito peppers



Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet. Add the beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes; drain on paper towels.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together the chili bean paste, tamari, rice vinegar, sugar and Chinese 5-spice powder.

Using the same large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over high heat. Add the carrots, celery, garlic, scallion, jalapeno and shishito peppers; cook, stirring constantly, until lightly charred, about 1 minute. Stir in the beef and the chili bean mixture; cook for 1 minute and season with salt.

Related Links:

How to Use Peppers of All Kinds

Time for Turmeric: Spice Things Up with This Antioxidant-Rich Spice

Make Overnight Oats for the Fall with Pumpkin and Apple Pie Flavors

Superfood Breakfasts to Start the Day Right

Silvana Nardone is the author of the Silvana’s Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Kitchen: Timeless Favorites Transformed.

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