Integrated Health and Dermatology – Powerhouse immune-boosting soup

Throughout the Professional Certificate in Integrated Health and Dermatology, our healthy recipes are aligned with aiding treatment of certain dermatologic disorders. Given the current COVID-19 situation and our approaching winter, the team at the Australasian Academy of Cosmetic Dermal Science thought it would be best to temporarily shift our focus to immune-boosting recipes.

The following recipe is from the amazing Natalie Bennett, who’s also our recipe developer for the Professional Certificate in Integrated Health and Dermatology. Natalie is a food educator, TV presenter and recipe developer.

Her recipe is a powerhouse immunity broth. It’s vegan, simple to digest and allows your body to keep its energy in ‘defense and repair mode’. With the colder months coming on and a big shift to veganism, Natalie Bennett will show you how to make a staple that keeps in your fridge for a week or so and is great to bolster your health and ward off illness. Easy to swallow, should you already be suffering with a sore throat, it’s quite soothing because that turmeric helps to calm your swollen throat. Hydration is also key, so make it tasty. If you do have a fever, warm fluids high in nutrition are beneficial, so if a chicken soup isn’t your thing, this broth will do the trick.

What’s in it for me?

Mushrooms – the soup is made in a mushroom broth (simmering mushrooms for an hour+). Mushrooms contain sulfur rich Ergothioneine, a powerful antioxidant that helps to eliminate free radicals. This is found in high amounts in both button and shiitake mushrooms and has been touted as ‘the new vitamin’. Shiitake is arguably the best immunity superfood because it has an array of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that are necessary to fuel our bodily functions. It is an excellent choice of mushroom to boost immune system due to its high nutrition density, particularly the vitamin D physicians have advised we need to boost in the face of the current pandemic. Also found is a plethora of B vitamins important for energy, mood regulation and immunity. Folic acid (vitamin B9) and Riboflavin (vitamin B2) fine-tune the activity of MAIT cells (immune receptors). Several minerals that may be difficult to obtain from a vegan diet such as selenium, potassium, copper, iron, and phosphorus — are available in mushrooms. Finally, all 9 essential amino acids are found in these two mushroom types, most usefully tryptophan, threonine, and valine. highest of all enzyme count in shiitake that result in better absorption of our food, as well as most bodily functions.

Coconut Oil – contains two important anti-viral compounds, lauric acid and caprylic acid. Together these helps ward off bacterial, fungal and viral infections. Also boosts a weakened immune system by improving white blood cell counts.

Garlic – eating garlic can actually boost the number of virus-fighting T-cells in your bloodstream. It also contains alliin which converts to allicin, which is believed to be the major antibacterial compound in garlic though there are more than 100 sulfuric compounds -- powerful enough to wipe out bacteria and infection (it was used to prevent gangrene in both world wars).

Turmeric – probably best known for its ability to fight inflammation, turmeric contains also has powerful agent that can modulate the activation of many facets of your immune system (T cells, B cells, macrophages).

Broccoli – is packed with vitamin C, it is a prebiotic assisting with nurturing gut flora, the link between gut health was a recent medical discovery that still is being heavily researched. The ‘immunity soldiers’ are white blood cells, (lymphocytes) lie between the cells that make up the lining of the intestines. These lymphocytes are only activated when their special receptors are turned on by sulforaphane, something all brassicas like broccoli are high in. Even though you may have never heard of sulforaphane, you should know that this invaluable compound is responsible for activating over 200 genes. These genes specialize in producing antioxidant enzymes like glutathione. This master antioxidant rids the body of free radicals and reduces inflammation mainly by recycling other antioxidants.

Kale – is packed full of iron, which is essential for your body working at its ultimate level, along with being a great source of vitamins and antioxidants. When they say “eat your kale”, EAT YOUR KALE!


  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced
  • 250g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 250g shitake mushrooms, sliced (see note)
  • 1 tbsp fresh turmeric, grated (or 1 tsp turmeric powder)
  • 1 tbsp ginger, grated
  • sea salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 3L water
  • 6 broccolini stalks, washed
  • 4 kale stalks, washed, deveined


  1. Heat up coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Throw in the onions and sauté for 5 minutes or until translucent.
  2. Add in the garlic, ginger and turmeric and cook for 1 more minute to infuse the oil with the flavours, then place the celery and mushrooms in the saucepan and sauté for about 10 minutes or until mushrooms have wilted.
  3. Season with salt, pepper, then add water and bring to a boil.
  4. Let the soup simmer, for around 1 hour to help develop the soups flavour and slightly reduce it.
  5. Add broccoli and kale in the last 6-10 minutes of cooking so you can preserve the colour and crunch.
  6. Serve warm or store for up to 1 week in the refrigerator.Notes – Use the stalks and caps of the mushrooms they both are loaded with nutrients, and brush mushrooms to clean rather than wash. Use dried shiitake mushrooms from the Asian section of your supermarket if fresh can’t be sourced from a good grocer. Fresh turmeric looks much like ginger, except bright yellow and is readily available at ‘Good Grocer’ IGA stores, Farmer Jacks and other specialty grocery stores.


To enquire about the Professional Certificate in Integrated Health and Dermatology, please click here.

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by nicheadmin