As the weather gets colder in the Northern Hemisphere, you might notice that you crave high-calorie comfort foods. Believe it or not, those cravings may date back to our ancestors, who knew that survival was dependant on making it through the long, cold winter, prompting them to increase their calorie intake in the fall.
And now that we’re quickly approaching the end of the year, chances are you’ll partake of holiday get-togethers, beginning today with Halloween and continuing right through the New Year. From appetizers to desserts, there will be plenty of indulgences to go around.
With flu season in full swing, it makes sense to have an arsenal of delicious, bone-healthy party foods to share with your family and friends that also bolster the immune system.
Today, we bring you three party dips that have one immune-boosting ingredient in common: plain yogurt. Whether you prefer sweet or savory, these delicious dips will entice your taste buds while strengthening your immune system and your bones.
Yogurt And Probiotics
The word bacteria may conjure up negative connotations. However, our bodies contain trillions of microscopic “friendly” bacteria, which are incredibly beneficial for our health.
Over 500 species of bacteria live in our gut, displacing the “bad” bacteria, and continuously working to keep our body in homeostasis.1
Probiotics are “good” bacteria similar to the beneficial microorganisms in our bodies, and are found in certain foods and supplements. Essential for a healthy immune system, probiotics stimulate the secretions of proinflammatory cytokines, which are signaling molecules that initiate an inflammatory response and regulate the innate immune response.2
Probiotics are created via a process called fermentation, in which healthy bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in food to produce lactic acid, alcohol, and acetic acid. Yogurt is the most popular probiotic food source, and for a good reason. Studies have shown that daily intake of yogurt has a stimulating effect on cellular immune functions.3
Additionally, yogurt is a Foundation Food because it contains numerous bone-healthy nutrients. A recent study found that higher yogurt consumption in older adults was associated with a significant increase in bone mineral density, decreasing the risk of osteoporosis in both men and women.4 In fact, each unit increase in yogurt intake lowered the risk of osteoporosis by 39% in females and 52% in males. Further, total hip and femoral neck bone mineral densities were 3.1-2.9% higher among women with the highest yogurt intake.
Keep in mind, however, that most conventional yogurts are jam-packed with added sugars and preservatives. It’s important to choose a plain, unsweetened, and preferably organic version of yogurt, either Greek or regular, since sugar-laden yogurt actually negates the immunoprotective effects of yogurt.
3 Delicious Dip Recipes Perfect For the Fall Season
Today’s recipes for dips pair well with a variety of foods. You can serve them on a crudité platter with alkalizing vegetables such as celery, carrots, and cauliflower. They also pair well with antioxidant-rich apples and pears. Or if you are craving the crunch of a chip, you’ll love dipping these bone-healthy sweet potato and beet chips.
So here are the recipes that will make you feel good knowing that you are building both your immunity and your bones with each and every bite!
Cinnamon Pumpkin Dip
Yields 2 cups
- 1 cup plain unsweetened yogurt
- 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cloves, dried
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Stir all ingredients in a small bowl or use a blender at slow speed.
Broccoli Cauliflower Dip
Yields 2 1/2 cups
- 1 cup broccoli
- 1 cup cauliflower
- 1 cup plain unsweetened yogurt
- Sea salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- Puree all ingredients except sesame seeds in a blender or food processor.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds before serving
Butternut Squash Dip
Yields 2 1/2 cups
- 1 1/2 cups butternut squash, cooked
- 1/2 cup yogurt
- 1 sweet onion, quartered
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
- Sea salt, to taste
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until onions are soft.
- Place the squash, onions, garlic and the rest of the ingredients in a blender until everything is combined and smooth. Add sea salt to taste, and serve.
Enjoy The Cooler Weather Without Compromising Your Bone-Health And Your Immunity
The recipes presented today are a great start to the fall season. And as the holidays approach, you may want to be prepared with additional recipes that continue to support your bone-healthy lifestyle. That’s one of the reasons why we created Bone Appétit.
Eat Your Way to Stronger Bones!
Discover over 200 mouth-watering bone healthy recipes for breakfast, smoothies, appetizers, soups, salads, vegetarian dishes, fish, and plenty of main courses and even desserts!
Bone Appétit features more than 200 bone-smart recipes, including a section on appetizers, which can be served both at holiday parties or simply in the comfort of your own home. You’ll also find an array of soups, salads, stews, casseroles and desserts that contain bone-nourishing Foundation Foods.
Till next time,
1 1 Guarner F, Malagelada JR. Gut flora in health and disease. Lancet. 2003;361(9356):512–519. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12583961
2 Meyer, AL, et al. “Probiotic, as well as conventional yogurt, can enhance the stimulated production of proinflammatory cytokines.” Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics. 2007 Dec;20(6):590-8.Web: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18001380
3 Meyer AL, Micksche M, Herbacek I,Elmadfa I. Daily intake of probiotic as well as conventional yogurt has a stimulating effect on cellular immunity in young healthy women. Ann Nutr Metab. 2006;50(3):282-9. Epub 2006 Feb 23. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16508257
4 Laird E. et al. Greater yogurt consumption is associated with increased bone mineral density and physical function in older adults. Osteoporosis International. 2017 28(8) 2409-2419. DOI:10.1007/s00198-017-4049-5. Web: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28462469