Flu season is here! While the flu shot and good hygiene are the first line of defense against the flu, tea can also boost your immune system.

Many people enjoy having a nice cup of warm tea on a cold winter’s day so why not make it count and do double duty. Green or black tea provide disease-fighting antioxidants (polyphenols and flavonoids) that protect against free radicals and help destroy them. Both are rich in L-theanine, an amino acid thought to help enhance immunity.

Similarly, spices, incorporated into teas or steeped on their own, such as ginger, hibiscus, sage, licorice root, lemongrass, peppermint and, yes, even catnip are all effective in helping to ward off colds and the flu. This delicious ginger turmeric vegetable tea soup is perfectly suited to keep those runny noses at bay. Ginger has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties ideal for soothing sore throats, killing rhinoviruses and easing an upset tummy.

BRING 4 cups of water to a boil (212 degrees F). Remove from heat and add Ginger Turmeric Herbal Tea. Steep for 7-8 minutes. Using a sieve, filter steeped tea into a large pot. Discard used herbal tea.

MEANWHILE, chop carrots, celery and green onion. Add chopped vegetables, sprouts and mushrooms to the large pot and set on medium heat.

ADD 4 cups vegetable broth, lemon juice and spices. Simmer for 30 minutes.

ADD rice noodles and increase heat. Boil for 4-5 minutes. Reduce heat and warm until ready to serve.

Yield: 4 servings

Prep time: 17 minutes

Cook time: 43 minutes

Total time: 1 hour

Jen Asbury and her mom, Cindy Wright, are co-owners of The Spice and Tea Exchange of Guilford. They are located at 80 Whitfield St. in Guilford. You can reach them at 203-453-0022 or online at c.wright@spiceandtea.com.

Connecticut Media Group