Under the weather? These three dishes packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals should help

Gráinne O’Keefe: The key is to buy the freshest produce available and to eat plenty of it

Many years ago, at a staff party, I and eight others got food poisoning from eating oysters at a restaurant. I don’t remember ever being as sick as I was in the following days. After the initial sickness had subsided, I still felt very ill and I found in the following months that my energy levels had decreased. I got extremely tired after eating, and would get very bad stomach pains, for no apparent reason.

Eventually, I got a referral to check for H.pylori, which is a bacterium found in the stomach that causes ulcers and other gastrointestinal issues. It is difficult to treat as it can be very resistant to antibiotics. Eventually, I had a biopsy that allowed my medical team to devise a treatment to finally get rid of it. This worked and I was incredibly thankful that it did. The entire experience, however, has altered my immune system and made me far more conscious of it and how I can support it by adding simple things to my diet and schedule.

When I have a cold, I drink chamomile tea with honey, lemon and whiskey. When I have a sore throat, I eat hot and sour soup. I have found that, over the years, what really helped me was focusing more on what I was consuming, and how it was beneficial to my body.

My recipes this week are dishes packed with natural antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. The key is to buy the freshest produce available, organic if you can, and to eat plenty of it.


Salt-baking is a particular favourite technique of mine. It works well with vegetables, but also fish, meat and rice. Steaming inside a salt crust results in deep layers of seasoning and tender vegetables. Be careful not to burn yourself when opening the salt crust, and don’t eat it, it won’t be pleasant. Discard it as it has done its job.

When buying salmon, buy organic. If you buy fresh fillets, ask your fishmonger to pin-bone and scale the salmon. If you prefer smoked, I get mine from Sally Barnes of Woodcock Smokery.

Recipe: Ginger and garlic marinated salmon with pak choi

Recipe: Quinoa and kale salad with poached mackerel, tahini dressing and a soft boiled egg

Recipe: Salt-baked turmeric-glazed vegetables