Friday, February 27, 2015

Antioxidants & Superfoods To Boost Your Immune System With An “Eggplant Parmesan” Recipe

So, here we are into the last days of February! Didn’t this month go by really fast? Most of the country is in an arctic freeze this past week again. Snow, wind, and temps in the teens with below zero in many places. Whether you are searching for ways to boost your immune system, or recovering from a cold or flu, doctors often recommend healthy lifestyle changes. Prevention and management of symptoms can be helped through the foods that we eat. Experts say a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, can help you ward off infections and help your body heal faster. They call these foods “Super Foods” due to the fact that they contain immune-boosting antioxidants. 

Antioxidants are vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that protect, and repair cells from damage. Fighting off damage with antioxidants helps keep your immune system strong, making you better able to ward off colds, flu, and other infections. Where do you find these antioxidants? Well, some foods are higher in antioxidants than others. The three major antioxidant vitamins are beta-carotene, vitamin-C, and vitamin-E. You will find them in colorful fruits and vegetables-especially those with purple, blue, red, orange, and yellow hues. To get the best benefits of these foods eat them raw or lightly steamed, don’t overcook or boil them.

Beta-carotene include: apricots, asparagus, beets, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, corn, green peppers, kale, mangoes, turnips, collard greens, nectarines, peaches, pink grapefruit, pumpkin, squash, spinach, sweet potato, tangerines, tomatoes, and watermelon.

Vitamin-C include: berries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, cauliflower, grapefruit, honeydew, kale, kiwi, mangoes, nectarines, orange, papaya, red, green or yellow peppers, snow peas, sweet potato, strawberries, and tomatoes.

Vitamin-E include: broccoli, carrots, chard, mustard and turnip greens, mangoes, nuts, papaya, pumpkin, red peppers, spinach, and sunflower seeds. 

Other foods that are called “Super Foods” and are rich in antioxidants include: prunes, apples, raisins, all berries, plums, red grapes, alfalfa sprouts, onions, eggplant, and beans.

Vitamins are not the only antioxidants in food. Other antioxidants that may help boost your immunity include: Zinc: found in oysters, red meat, poultry, nuts, seafood, whole grains, fortified cereals, and dairy products. Also there is Selenium: which is found in Brazil nuts, tuna, beef, poultry, breads, and other grain products.

If you can’t get enough antioxidants in your diet by eating fresh produce, some experts recommend taking a multivitamin that contains minerals, too. But be cautious about taking individual immune supplements to boost immunity. With antioxidants as with most anything, moderation is the key. Getting too much of Vitamins A and E for example are stored in the body and eliminate slowly. Getting too much can be toxic. Remember, if you don’t have good nutrition, get plenty of rest and exercise you are missing a key weapons against colds and flu. Hands washed? Yes, Flu shot? Yes, eating an immunity-boosting diet? Yes!!!!!

*******Remember; always check with your doctor before taking any supplements or vitamins, just to make sure that the doctor approves of what you are taking.

My recipe this week is “Eggplant Parmesan” This recipe is one of my mom’s recipes and it is a total immune-boosting meal. Remember, eggplants are one of the “Super Foods” that have antioxidants included in it. Besides, it is delicious and very tasty. Made with the freshest ingredients and of course “Love.” As you take a bite of this wonderful dish, the cheese oozes and the eggplant with tomatoes are an awesome combination! Extremely flavorful and very satisfying. You would never know that you are eating something that was good for you. Enjoy, Mangia!

Eggplant Parmesan

1 eggplant, cut into 3/4 inch slices
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup of canola, vegetable, or peanut oil
1 lb of shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano grated cheese
2 eggs, beaten
3 cups of plain bread crumbs with about 2 tablespoons of flour added
4 cups or more of your favorite Marinara sauce (click on this and it will bring you to my mom’s sauce recipe)

Sprinkle both sides of the eggplant slices with salt. Place slices in a colander and place a dish underneath the colander to capture liquid that will sweat out of the eggplant. Allow to sit for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F. Rinse the eggplant in cold water until all salt is removed. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Now dredge eggplant slices in egg and then in breadcrumb/flour mixture. After egg and breading them place one layer of eggplant in the oil and brown each side. When browned place on paper towel to drain. Repeat with the remaining eggplant slices, using additional oil if necessary. In a 9x13 inch baking dish, evenly spread Marinara sauce on bottom of dish, and then arrange a single layer of eggplant slices on top of sauce. Top the eggplant with some of the mozzarella cheese and grated cheese. Repeat process until all the eggplant and cheese is layered. Pour remaining sauce on top of layers and sprinkle with remaining Pecorino Romano grated cheese or more mozzarella. Bake 30 to 45 minutes in your preheated oven, until sauce is bubbling and cheese is melted.

Till Next Time…………………….

Copyright  © 2015 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved


  1. My mouth is watering! I love parmigiana although I don't make it very often for some reasons. Whenever I make it everyone in my family likes it.
    I don't take supplements usually although from time to time I find good quality probiotics (not the ones from supermarkets) helpful especially if you have a funny tummy. I buy organic food so I am hoping to get all the nutrients there.
    Here is really sunny today and it feels nice. I will be taking my children to the park after school today. Ciao!

    1. Hi Alida,
      Thank you for your comment...I know I love anything made as a parmigiana, but I would have to say eggplant is my favorite! It is a little bit of work and time, but as you know that is what makes it sooo goood! Most of the time you don't need supplements as long as you eat the right foods and in moderation. My mom takes probiotics and it helps her as she has IBS. Glad that you enjoyed this post and recipe. After this coming weekend, the temps are going to be in the 40's...YEAH! I think we as you, are finally out of the deep freeze.Going to the park with the children will be wonderful. Hope that you have a great day and a wonderful weekend...
      Dottie :)

  2. Good morning, Dottie:)
    We were lucky last night. There was snow in the forecast but thank goodness it missed us. Whew!

    We've been pretty lucky not getting to many colds this Winter. I've been boosting Marion's immune system with all the goodness I can:) Great reminders you have here!

    You know I absolutely adore Eggplant Parmesan. Yours (your Mom's) looks delicious! I can't wait until we get some decent looking eggplant at the grocery stores. This meal is perfect for Lent too!

    Thanks for sharing, Dottie...

    1. Good afternoon Louise,
      Yes, we were very lucky about that snow...keep it away..Heard that next week it will be in the 40's thank goodness. We really need a break. I know, not many cold this year. My dad always comes down with one, he did in November, but because the temps are so cold, colds and the flu are not as many. Thanks for your comment, and glad that you liked this post and recipe. I think if we eat the right foods then we hopefully will not get sick. Yes, a great meal for lent or anytime. I know what you mean about getting good ones at the store. They don't seem to be as plump as the eggplants used to. Thank you for stopping over and now going to read your post....Have a blessed and fun weekend...
      Dottie :)

    2. Hi Dottie,
      I saw your comment on my blog about Pinterest. Did you mean you are on Pinterest or just thinking about it?

    3. Hi Louise,

      I do have an account and a password, from when we spoke about this over a year ago...I see my info but still have no idea how to do this...I still have to learn, more! I am so busy now and have been under the weather the past few when I get a chance I will go into it again and my friend said she will help me. So I am on Pinterst and still thinking about it! Hope that helps you....

      I tried to get on to Instagram, but I can't have an account due to the fact that I do not have a cell phone with the apps. My cell is just a Trac phone. It is just in case of emergencies. I am home most of the time so I have my house phone. So at this point Instragram is out...I am just trying to keep up with the "Jones" as they say...

      Have a great night and a good week...Oh BTW just wanted to say that I love the calendar especially that you have put on our Birthdays. How nice...I saw Marion's Birthday...Tell her I said Hi...

      Hugs, Dottie :)

  3. Good evening Dottie ,
    Your post has a lot of useful information , I think that people lose a lot of nutrients from these foods by overcooking them as you said .
    It is important for kids to know what a good diet is and the importance of sticking to one as much as possible , teach a child while they are young and it will last them a life time .
    Love Eggplant Parmesan , I will be glad when the spring get here , the Farmer's Markets open and real nice eggplants .

    I keep all the healing herbs and spices in the kitchen and I also grow some year round , I bring small plants into the house when the weather gets cool . I love putting rosemary on roasted chicken or pork , HMmmmm good . Thanks for sharing :) Glad your weather is warming up a tad . Have a safe and blessed weekend . Nee : )

    1. Good evening Nee,
      Thanks for stopping by and your comment...I agree with you, if you overcook these foods you have lost all of the good nutrients. I like what you said if you teach the children from when they are young, it will last a lifetime. I also love eggplant parm. Yes, that will be nice, when the weather finally breaks, I can't wait for the farmers market as well. Good idea about keeping the healing herbs inside and in your kitchen. You use them more if you see them. Yes, Rosemary is one of my very favorites. So happy that you enjoyed this post and the recipe. Have a blessed and fun weekend.
      Dottie :)

  4. Dear Dottie, This is one of my favorite dishes!! I always loved eggplant parm.; top of the list!!
    This is very good info on prevention. Eating right and the big plus is the washing of hands.
    Keep warm Dottie and cozy. More snow on the way again this week!! Well, I suppose when the heat of the summer comes we will remember this cold weather and wish for a little of it. lol
    Blessings dear, xoxo Catherine

    1. Dear Catherine,
      I agree with you, who doesn't like Eggplant Parm, right? Yes, especially have to wash your hands with all that is going on in the world, no one can afford to get ill. So if we keep warm, eat right and in moderation, plus hand washing we can all lead a wonderful life. Thanks for visiting and your comment. Glad that you enjoyed this post. Have a beautiful and blessed week...Had about another 6 inches of snow last night...Keep safe and warm..
      Dottie :)

  5. I love eggplant about any way, and yours sounds delicious, Dottie! All of that great cheese and rich sauce! Just wish my hubby liked it. :-) Thanks for all the valuable information. More snow on the way here.

    1. Hi Pam,
      Thanks for your comment and your stopping over...I agree, Eggplant Parm is one of the best dishes. Plus the eggplant is a superfood and what can be better than that! You husband doesn't like eggplant, my dad is not that fond of it either. You can add chicken or beef to it and maybe he may eat it then. Good luck..You still can make a small dish for yourself. Glad that you enjoyed this post. We had another 6 inches last night and you are correct more snow on the way! Stay safe and warm, have a good week!
      Dottie :)