Kale Immunity Power Salad with a fresh, vibrant mix of beans, seeds, berries, onions and a homemade chia seed vinaigrette!
I’ve read many health-focused books and “Super Immunity” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman is one that truly stands out from the crowd. It’s an easy read with a wealth of incredible, vital information on boosting our immune system.
For some background, the author Dr. Joel Fuhrman is a family physician and nutrition researcher, specializing in preventing and reversing disease through natural and nutritional methods. He also created the acronym “GBOMBS” (yes!) to help us remember the immune-boosting foods he believes are the best anti-cancer and health-promoting foods on earth. GBOMBS are like a special forces unit helping protect our bodies from everything from the common cold to cancer. Through his years of research, he’s found these foods to be extremely effective at both preventing chronic disease, and also promoting health and longevity.
What are GBOMBS?
The acronym “GBOMBS” stands for:
Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries, Seeds
Let’s take a brief look at the health benefits of each one:
Green vegetables are pretty incredible. They contain anti-cancer compounds, especially in the cruciferous family (broccoli, brussels sprouts, bok choy.) Leafy greens on the other hand, such as kale, watercress, and spinach, are shown to be the most nutrient-dense of all foods.
Beans (including lentils, peas, and other legumes) have been found to decrease colon cancer risk by 50% and provides significant protection against many other cancers as well. They’re the most nutrient-dense carbohydrate source and are packed with fiber. (A quick note: fiber is only found in plant foods. No animal products contain fiber. Alternatively, cholesterol is only found in animal foods. There is no cholesterol in plant foods.)
The Allium family (which includes, onions, leeks, garlic, scallions, chives, and shallots) have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular and immune systems, and anti-cancer and anti-diabetic effects. Their potent organosulfur compounds, which can slow tumor growth and kill cancer cells, are released after cutting or chewing (pretty neat!)
Consuming mushrooms regularly is associated with decreased risk of breast, stomach, and colorectal cancers. White, cremini, portobello, shiitake, oyster, maitake, and reishi mushrooms all have anti-cancer activity. In a recent study, women who ate about one mushroom a day had a 64% decreased risk of breast cancer. Even more dramatic were premenopausal women who ate one mushroom + drank green tea daily had an 89% decreased risk in breast cancer. (And postmenopausal women who did this had an 82% decreased risk). Mushrooms & matcha for the win!
Dr. Fuhrman calls berries true super foods (especially strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries). They’re among the best foods you can eat. Their vibrant colors are not only gorgeous, but full of antioxidants. In fact, berries are some of the highest antioxidant foods on earth. They’re awesome for the brain, improving memory and cognition, preventing DNA damage, and of course boosting immunity and providing anti-cancer effects.
Countless studies have shown the cadiovascular (heart-healthy!) benefits of nuts and seeds. They’re also incredibly rich in a spectrum of micronutrients. And bonus: they’ve been shown to aid in the absorption of nutrients when eaten with vegetables, which is pretty awesome. I love the wide variety of seeds and that each one is nutritionally unique. Sunflower, chia, hemp, sesame, pumpkin, and flax are ones that I always try to have on hand and mix in when possible. (Great for tossing on salads, oatmeal, smoothies, etc.)
Needless to say, I was so inspired after reading the book, I wanted to create a recipe with a variety of these powerful plants. (It covers each one except mushroom since Dr. Fuhrman suggests we don’t eat them raw, so I guess technically it’s a “GBOBS” salad.) 😉 For the dressing, I sneak in a couple more power foods from the list – garlic and chia seeds. However, feel free to dress it however you’d like! I often just quickly drizzle a bit of balsamic or red wine vinegar on my kale salads. (I add it to the kale after massaging and let it “marinate” while I prepare the rest of the toppings.) Either way, hope you enjoy the salad as much as we do!
Super Immunity Power Salad
- 1 large bunch kale
- 15 oz. can garbanzo beans
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup hemp hearts
For the chia seed balsamic vinaigrette:
- 1/3 cup water
- 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 clove finely minced garlic (or shallot)
- 1 Tbsp. chia seeds
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- Make the dressing: in a bowl, whisk together all ingredients. The dressing will thicken a bit after sitting. (Tip: for an even smoother/thicker dressing you can pulse in a blender.)
- Tear the kale into bite-size pieces. Place in a large bowl and lightly massage. Pour desired amount of dressing over top, and lightly toss to coat. (If you have any unused dressing, store in a covered container. It stores in the fridge for about 4-5 days.)
- Rinse and drain beans. Add to kale.
- Thinly slice onion, and strawberries. Add to salad with blueberries.
- Sprinkle sunflower seeds and hemp hearts on top.
- Keeps in the fridge for about 2-3 days.