I have always been a big proponent of boosting the immune system at all times, but especially during this time of year and given the current circumstances. In fact, one of my original blogposts waaaaaay back in the day was about how to strengthen immunity. It is nearly impossible to avoid germs, just the way it is impossible to avoid obstacles and challenges in life. The best line of defense is to build the strongest immune system we can (or a tough constitution and attitude, as the case may be). (Yes there are some metaphors for life woven in there.) One of my strategies is to prepare as much of my family’s food as possible, and in today’s post, I am excited to share a delicious breakfast naturally sweetened with Florida Orange Juice.
If you’ve been hanging around me for a while, you know that I try to incorporate as many foods with benefits in my diet and minimize or avoid foods that create inflammation or suppress the immune system. One of the first foods that comes to mind that negatively affects our natural processes, including our immune function, is sugar in all forms. Natural sugars may have similar effects but more often come with key nutrients to help support immunity. One of the sweeteners that I have used for decades in my recipes both in classes and in my cookbooks in place of processed sweeteners is 100% orange juice.
Florida Orange Juice is a delicious sweetener that comes naturally with key nutrients such as vitamin C, folate, potassium, thiamin and vitamin D (in fortified juices) that can help support the immune system all year long and during cold and flu season. The immune system is complex and needs a constant supply of essential nutrients to support its function.
Always remember that nutrients that come from nature are better than synthetic vitamins and ones that have been isolated. Nature provides us with unique packages of nutrients in our plant foods that work together synergistically. Besides being an excellent source of vitamin C, which we know protects the cells and promotes the production and function of immune cells, 100% orange juice contains a unique polyphenol called hesperidin which may have a number of benefits to the immune system including helping to fight inflammation.
In addition to incorporating key nutrients in our diet, we also need to make sure we stay well hydrated. Florida Orange Juice contains mostly water, in addition to natural electrolytes. I decided to change up my basic overnight oats and make them more flavorful and with added nutrients but without the addition of processed sweeteners, and instead swap in 100% orange juice for a delicious citrus flavor and natural sweetness. And to give these oats added oomph, I have also added vanilla, cinnamon and crunchy cacao nibs. I love all these flavors together. The sweet and tangy OJ is balanced really well from the bitter cacao and the warm cinnamon. Plus, they’re called overnight oats for a reason! Make them the night before for an easy grab-and-go breakfast and have fun playing around with other add-ins like chopped nuts, shredded coconut, or dried fruit.
If you make this recipe, please tag me so I can see your creation and I may even repost it! @pamelasalzman #pamelasalzman Stay healthy!
- 1 cup 100% orange juice
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup almond milk, unsweetened or sweetened (or milk of choice) or half yogurt, half almond milk for a thicker porridge
- 2 Tablespoons chia seeds
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Scoop of collagen powder, if desired
- 2 Tablespoons raw cacao nibs
- Pinch of sea salt
- Place all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir to combine so that all the ingredients are covered with liquid.
- Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours.
- Remove from the refrigerator and stir once to blend the chia seeds throughout. Eat as is or with desired toppings.
Use fortified orange juice to get even more immune-supporting nutrients