Immune boosting drinks

Picture: Linda Jacqueline Engelbrecht, Supplied

The Honest Grazer, Linda Jacqueline Engelbrecht, shares feel good and tasteful recipes that will also boost your immune system.

Linda, of The Honest Grazer, is in pursuit to find a simpler, more honest way of living. The brand has a strong focus on plant-based recipes and strives to make more sustainable and conscious life choices. Here are 3 recipes from The Honest Grazer that include much needed immune-boosting properties for us all.


Poached Pear & Rosemary Smoothie

‘I find poached pears quintessential to cool weather, but I wanted to bring it into a different context of a smoothie that is light and fresh. It’s comforting and warming in terms of flavour but still light enough to have in autumn,’ says Linda.


4 pears (3 cooked (skin removed and boiled in plant milk) and then frozen, 1 for grilling)

1/4 cup kale (one large stalk)

4 sprigs fresh rosemary 1 tbsp almond butter 

1 tsp fresh ginger (peeled and chopped)

2/3 cup any plant milk 1 tsp honey 

1 tbsp hemp seeds



Peel and core pears and chop in halves. Bring the plant milk to a boil in a saucepan and poach the pear halves for 10-15min or until cooked through but not too soft.  Remove the pears from the milk and allow to cool completely.  Chop into rough chunks and place in the freezer overnight.  Pre-heat oven to 200 C grill. Thinly slice one pear and places slices onto a roasting pan. Sprinkle over half the rosemary and walnuts and drizzle honey over.  Grill for 10min until pear slices are sticky and nuts are toasted.  Blend the frozen pears with remaining ingredients (kale, almond butter, hemp seeds, ginger and remaining rosemary) until completely smooth.  Top with roasted walnuts and pear slices before serving.


Immune Boosting Benefits 

The antioxidants present in pears prevent several infections and boost the immunity of the body. There are also phenolic phytonutrients, anti-inflammatory flavonoids and phytonutrients present in pears which also protect the cells. Kale contains high levels of vitamin C, which not only packs a powerful antioxidant punch but also helps fight off infection and regenerate other antioxidants in the body. Kale also contains folate, another immune booster.

Rosemary is a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which are thought to help boost the immune system and improve blood circulation.  Hemp seeds are a rich source of calcium and potassium, both of which strengthen the bones and heart respectively. Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory, supports digestion and is rich in antioxidants, which helps boost the immune system.


Liquid Gold: Salt & Pepper Maca Drinking Chocolate

‘Everybody knows chilli hot chocolate – I love to make this warming variation with a healthy dose of black pepper and maca. The maca gives a subtle caramel flavour and the black pepper is savoury and spicy, together they make an interesting umami which makes this chocolate drink earthy and grounding,’ Linda shares.

Picture: Salt & Pepper Maca Drinking Chocolate, Supplied


1/4 cup raw cacao

2 tbsp (rough chunks) raw cacao butter

6 fresh pitted Medjool dates 

2 cans coconut cream 

2 tsp Maca powder

1-2 tsp Maldon salt

1-2 tsp black pepper



Place all the ingredients in a saucepan on a high heat. Bring to a boil and whisk continuously until the dates are no longer chunky and the chocolate is thick and completely smooth. Pour into a mug or short tumbler. Serve with more salt and pepper sprinkled on top.

Immune Boosting Benefits 

Maca is considered an adaptogen, a name given to certain herbs, plants, and natural substances that help the body naturally adapt to stressors like a busy schedule, demanding job, or illness. Consuming maca often makes people feel more alive, energetic and leaves them with a sense of well-being, all of which are thought to be due to its ability to restore proper hormone balance and elevate feel-good endorphins. Another benefit of maca is its relatively high amount of absorbable plant-based nutrients, including protein, fibre, calcium and magnesium. Raw cacao is full of flavonoids which been shown to decrease the rate of immune-system decay. Hemp seeds are a rich source of calcium and potassium, both of which strengthen the bones and heart respectively. Cacao is also rich in magnesium and zinc which help are key elements of a healthy human immune system.

Vanilla Rose Mulled Apple Cider

‘Apple Cider Vinegar is a staple for me – it’s so all over good for you. Made into a mulled drink with the warm apple juice it’s reminiscent of gluwein, but with a sharp acidity, so it’s comforting and complex at once,” Linda adds.

Picture: Vanilla Rose Mulled Apple Cider, Supplied


1L raw unfiltered apple juice

500ml raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar

15ml rosewater

1/3 cup food-grade rose petals

1 vanilla pod



Place all the ingredients in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally for 15min, and then reduce heat to a simmer for another 15min. Serve the cider warm in a short glass or mug.


Immune Boosting Benefits 

The high concentration of vitamin C, fibre, and acids in organic, cold-pressed apple cider vinegar are believed by some to boost immunity while breaking up the congestion that comes with a cold. Probiotics have an immune-boosting effect, which might be why drinking apple cider vinegar can shorten the duration of a cold. Rosewater can also help you heal from colds, flu and sore throats. It may have a bronchodilator effect and helps with respiratory illness. Rosewater is also believed to help relieve fluid retention and inflammation.