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Hands up, how many of you have taken way too many vitamins, chicken soup and honey lemon drinks to strengthen your immune system during this period that you’re so tired of them?! We are definitely guilty! But guess what, you don’t need to stick to these well-known boring formulas; did you know that eating Thai food can boost your immunity against viruses too?

Most of the herbs and ingredients used in Thai cuisine are actually rich in vitamins and antioxidants that are important for your immune system, so yes, you can treat yourself to your favourite Tom Yum Goong and be assured that it’s doing good to your body at the same time!

Like me, I’m sure many of you love Thai cuisine, so I’m happy to share with you some of these popular Thai food recipes that make use of these good ingredients!

Read more:

17 Thai breakfasts to eat at this hidden street food market near Pratunam that Bangkok locals love

12 places to drink Thai bubble tea in Siam Square Bangkok that locals are raving about

Shopping Guide to Siam Square in Bangkok, including places to shop and dine at!

Immunity-boosting herbs & ingredients

Let’s first start by introducing to you guys some of these immunity-boosting herbs and ingredients that are commonly used in Thai cuisine. Most of these are rich in vitamins and antioxidants, which are important elements that will strengthen your body to fight viruses!

For more info, tap to expand!

1. Mushrooms
Guess what, your favourite fungi actually enhances your immune system as it’s loaded with vitamins, including B vitamins (which are important in cultivating a healthy digestive system) and vitamin D (improves the absorption level in your intestines). Mushrooms also help your body heal injuries and fight against viruses and bacteria.

2. Shallots
One of the basic ingredients in Thai cooking that most dishes use, shallots are rich in various minerals and vitamins. This includes selenium (helps your body produce antibodies and protects against viruses and other harmful microbes) and vitamin B6 (allows your nervous and immune systems to function properly).

3. Lime
Remember that sour, zesty taste in most Thai dishes? That’s from lime, and as you might have guessed, they’re rich in vitamin C (which helps your body produce the antibodies needed to kill viruses). They also have antioxidants that can improve your immune system and (ladies, you’ll be happy to know this) give your skin a youthful glow!

4. Basil
I realise that most of us either love or hate the taste of this leaf. But if you can get past its unique taste and scent, basil has tons of antioxidants that can help you build your immunity and protect your body from free radicals (harmful molecules that can cause cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc).

5. Garlic
Yes, this is another herb you always see in almost every dish – garlic. If you love garlic, that’s awesome, but if you don’t, it’s not too late to develop a taste for it because your immune system will definitely thank you.

Garlic has antibacterial and antiviral properties, which makes your white blood cells more “active” against viruses so even if you’re infected with for example, regular flu viruses, you might only become mildly sick. Not to mention it is rich in antioxidants too. Isn’t that awesome?!

6. Turmeric
Turmeric doesn’t only add colour to your food, but it’s also an antioxidant that protects you against free radicals and enhances your body’s natural antioxidant capacity.

7. Chilli
Chilli doesn’t only give your food a fiery kick – which adds flavour to your food – but also protects you from infections as it’s rich in vitamins A and C.

8. Lemongrass
Have you ever wondered what exactly the benefits of lemongrass are besides giving your food (or drinks) a pleasant aromatic scent? It’s actually loaded with vitamin C, has antibacterial and antifungal properties and can reduce inflammation in your body too.

9. Tamarind
If like me you don’t really like tamarind, it’s time to focus on its benefits that might perhaps change your mind! You’ll be getting a whole load of vitamin C and antioxidants that will improve your immune system. It also has antiseptic properties, which helps your body recover from infections. So don’t skip or skimp on it next time!

10. Tomato
Most tomatoes taste a little sour, don’t they? Which means… There’s tons of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in them! They also help boost your immunity against diseases and have anticancer effects, and some studies have even shown that eating them can decrease your skin’s sensitivity to UV radiation and protect you against sunburn!

11. Papaya
Both orange and green papayas (they’re actually the same fruit; the former is ripe while the latter is unripe) are super useful against infections due to their high vitamin C content. In fact, eating one whole papaya means you’re actually consuming two to three times more than what you need a day!

12. Mackerel
What? Fish boosts our immune system?! Yes, but not just any fish, but fatty fish like mackerel. These types of fish can help your body’s immune cells function better (due to the omega-3 fatty acids). So if you want something meaty, you know what to opt for next time!

Check out more immunity-boosting foods!

Thai food recipes

Are you excited? Here’s the recipes for 10 popular Thai dishes that are not just delicious but can help boost your immune system too!

1. Thailand’s national dish is an immune booster?! – Hot and Sour Soup with Shrimp (ต้มยำกุ้ง / Tom Yum Goong)

I mean… Who doesn’t know and love Tom Yum Goong? But did you know that the lime juice and crunchy mushrooms in this soup actually enhance your immunity? And let’s not forget the lemongrass and chilli too – immunity benefits as mentioned above!

Photo Via Housebook60, Duangrithi

A Thai dish that’s good for your body AND delicious?! What a steal!

P.S. There are two versions of Tom Yum Goong (creamy and clear), but I’ll be sharing the recipe of the creamy version (my favourite!).

Watch the cooking video here.
Written recipe here.

2. Our favourite shrimp noodles – Baked Shrimp Glass Noodles (กุ้งอบวุ้นเส้น / Goong Ob Woon Sen)

I’ll bet if this menu was available everywhere, it would take Thailand by storm. I’m not joking. It’s that good. The glass noodles are so well-seasoned and well-baked that they are not just soft and springy, but every bite is a burst of umami in your mouth. It’s also a nice meal if you’re looking for something filling but not too heavy.

Photo Via Insta.noodls, Lynkaa

Although it doesn’t use as many immunity-boosting herbs (there’s only garlic), it’s so delicious and simple to make that I highly recommend it for home-cooked meals!

Watch the cooking video here.
Written recipe here.

3. Spicy fish-based fritter (+ crunchy long beans) – Thai Fish Cake (ทอดมันปลา / Tod Man Pla)

Remember that spicy orange fried fish cake sold along the streets of Thailand, which you probably bought while shopping in Pratunam? They’re called Tod Man Pla, and they’re quite simple to make.

Besides fish meat, this spicy fritter also consists of kaffir lime leaves and long beans for its aromatic and crunchy texture, as well as basil, garlic and chilli for the spice and antioxidants needed to ward off viruses and bacteria. It’s usually eaten with pickled cucumber for a fresh taste, but who’s to say you can’t eat it with rice too? 😉

Photo Via Kruakhunaticha

Watch the cooking video here.
Written recipe here.

4. It’s spicy, sour AND healthy! – Steamed Fish With Lime and Garlic (ปลากะพงนึ่งมะนาว / Pla Kapong Neung Manao)

You know the feeling when you’re exhausted at the end of the day but you can’t rest just yet? Eating this will energize you almost immediately.

The citrusy scent of the lemongrass, sourness of lime juice, heat from the chilli, and the mellow and nutty taste of garlic hits you in the right spots, so much so that you’ll feel you’re bombarded with a symphony of flavours.

They’re also full of vitamin C. Combine this with fish and you’ll wonder why fish was never served this way before (it’s soooo delicious!!!).

Photo Via Satitchen, Piggymcpigface, Duen_sutthinimit

Watch the cooking video here.
Written recipe here.

5. Don’t know what to eat? Go for… – Chicken Stir-Fry with Holy Basil (ผัดกระเพราไก่ / Pad Kra Pow Gai)

You may think that Tom Yum Goong and Pad Thai are the two national dishes of Thailand, but in reality, no other dishes are eaten more often than Pad Kra Pow Gai (Chicken Stir-Fry with Holy Basil). In fact, this is what locals like to eat for lunch, dinner and whenever they don’t know what to order – for a good reason that is.

The dish is simple, savoury yet quite meaty, perfect if you need a quick, fulfilling meal during the day. Basil, chilli and garlic are immunity-boosting herbs too. And trust me, with this dish, they definitely don’t skimp on these 3 ingredients.

Photo Via Yummymam11, Matterferdy

Watch the cooking video here.
Written recipe here.

6. Sweet and nutty flat noodles – Pad Thai (ผัดไทย)

Want to eat immunity-boosting meals but tired of rice or soup dishes? Opt for these sweet, salty and nutty noodles instead!

There’s tofu, eggs, fresh and dried shrimp, which are cooked together with fresh bean sprouts and green onions, giving a nice crunch to the noodles. Most importantly, they also use tamarind paste, garlic, shallots and lime to not only create a more flavourful taste but also to strengthen your health (due to vitamin C).

Photo Via Bambouparis, Dewzter, Deets.on_

TripCanvas’ Tip: Mix some chilli powder (if you like spicy food) and ground peanuts in your noodles for that extra oomph!

Watch the cooking video here.
Written recipe here.

7. Everyone’s favourite papaya salad – Green Papaya Salad (ส้มตำ / Som Tam)

If we’re talking about salads, you just know that it’ll be healthy. But did you know that you can strengthen your immune system with this Southern Thai papaya salad?

A local fan favourite, it consists of chilli, garlic, lime juice, tamarind juice, tomatoes and papaya – ingredients that are immunity boosters – to make this salad taste refreshingly sour, sweet and spicy. Peanuts, dried shrimps and long beans are also used for extra freshness and crunch. You can also add in other ingredients like crab, salted egg or even maeng da (water bugs).

Photo Via Jamesilesgo, Foodscape25, Bangkokkitchen, Ms

Note: If you can’t take spicy food, you can tell the chef to not add chilli or reduce the amount used.

Watch the cooking video here.
Written recipe here.

8. Sweeten your meal with sweet prawns – Fried Prawn with Tamarind Sauce (กุ้งทอดซอสมะขาม / Goong Tod Sod Makham)

Believe it or not, Thai food isn’t all spicy and sour. Some are also sweet! Fried Prawn with Tamarind Sauce combines palm sugar, fish sauce, and tamarind to create its delicious brown sweet sauce coating the fried prawns!

Photo Via _rada.dakota

The most immunity-beneficial ingredients? Shallots, garlic, chilli and tamarind juice, which contain different kinds of vitamins and minerals important for your body!

Watch the cooking video here.
Written recipe here.

9. Love red curry? Eat it with fish too! – Mackerel in Thai Red Curry (ฉู่ฉี่ปลาทู / Chu Chi Pla Tu)

Most of you have probably eaten or (at least) know about Thailand’s famous red curry. But rather than using the usual pork or chicken, Chu Chi Pla Tu gives a twist to the classic dish by using mackerel, which is full of omega-3 fatty acids that’s beneficial for your health.

Photo Via Achiraya15

The best part? It’s so simple to make, especially if you cook it using a pre-made red curry paste. A perfect easy seafood dish that’s creamy and slightly spicy!

Watch the cooking video here.
Written recipe here.

10. Don’t judge this curry by its colour! – Thai Dry Meat Curry (คั่วกลิ้ง / Khua Kling)

Don’t let the yellow shade of this dry curry deceive you. It might not look spicy, but the chilli and white peppercorn make this dish fiery! Kaffir lime leaves add to the fragrance of the Khua Kling, so just the aroma is enough to tempt you to gobble up your curry!

Photo Via Thaistreetsaigon, Marions kitchen

Best of all, it’s full of antioxidants, vitamins and other beneficial minerals from turmeric, garlic, shallots, lemongrass, lime and chilli.

Watch the cooking video here.
Written recipe here.

Have we inspired you to try out these Thai recipes? Not only are these dishes super yummy, they are also full of vitamins and antioxidants that are beneficial to your immune system too! Who says healthy food isn’t delicious? 😉

Remember to snap photos of your culinary creations and share them with us at #TripCanvas or in the comments below! Happy cooking!

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PLEASE NOTE: All the above information is correct at the date of publication. If you come across any changes or updates, please let us know and we will update the information accordingly. Thank you!
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