• Elizabeth | Dietitian Nutritionist

Blog & Recipe : A Punch of Vitamin C in my Chili

By : Elizabeth Ray MS RDN LD

Everyone is talking about it these days. Yep, it’s how to keep your immune system healthy. There are several ways to strengthen your immunity using food, and if you are interested in learning more about personalizing your nutrition, let’s chat at elizabeth@wholefoodbeliever.net

Now for the brevity of this article, let me equip you with a bite-sized immune boosting tip that starts and ends with the simple tomato.

Tomatoes are not in season in Kentucky, however if you’re like most locals, you canned all those vine-ripened tomatoes back in the summer and are cooking with them now. Home-canned tomatoes find their way in several family favorites, like soups, pasta, and casseroles. Most people think of oranges when it comes to vitamin C, yet tomatoes also pack of heavy punch the vitamin. Here are 3 facts about vitamin C and why it’s so important to our health.

1.Vitamin C helps to build and repair tissue.

This first fact may seem unimportant, however think back to 4th grade history. Remember that ugly thing called scurvy? Sailors could develop scurvy due to a lack of fresh food while on long trips out at sea. Scurvy is a direct effect of vitamin C deficiency. Without vitamin C, sailors would develop a variety of skin and mouth conditions. If left untreated death could result; therefore, vitamin C is necessary for tissue health.

2.Vitamin C is vital to the nutrient absorption of iron.

Almost weekly I’m hearing about someone who got labs back and iron is ‘low.’ The first question, do I need an iron supplement? Well this question is best answered by your medical provider. However, for the informational purpose of this article, I want you to understand that iron isn’t easily absorbed. Also it’s impossible to be absorbed without the help of vitamin C.

There are several delicious ways to enhance the absorption of iron, and the recipe below is a great place to start!

3.Lastly and most importantly to immune health, vitamin C is a vitamin but also acts as a antioxidant. Antioxidants help fight inflammation and illness by eliminating the cellular sludge of free radicals. Think of antioxidants as street cleaners and garbage collectors of the body. Without it, our cellular health would be a mess and couldn’t run properly. The “C” in vitamin C doesn’t stand for “clean” but with the description above, it makes you wonder!

Add diced onions, fresh cilantro, or avocado for yummy toppings!

There are a variety of ways to get more vitamin C into your diet, but there is none more delicious than a juicy tomato! Below I’m sharing a recipe that uses tomato sauce. This recipe was inspired by my personal favorite chili, Pumpkin Chili, which found on my blog. Also found on my blog, along with the recipe below, is a family/meal prep tip that will encourage kids to eat well and help you spend less time in the kitchen. These recipes and tips can be found at https://www.wholefoodbeliever.net/post/recipes-3-30-minute-skillet-meals

Cincinnati-Style Skillet Pumpkin Chili

Whole30, Paleo, Keto

Time : 30 minutes

Servings : 2-4

Kitchen Tools : 2 skillets


1 pound of ground beef

1 cup of Cucina Antica Spinach Marinara sauce

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 package of frozen zucchini noodles, or any veggie noodles

Spices :

1/2 tablespoon onion powder

1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

1/2 tablespoon cumin

1/2 tablespoon paprika

1/2 tablespoon turmeric

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Dash of cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, coriander, nutmeg, clove

Additional Toppings, Optional : cilantro, avocado, onions, jalapeños


1. Grab 2 skillets; one large non-stick skillet and one medium non-stick skillet. Use the large skillet to brown the beef on medium heat. Use the medium skillet to heat the zucchini noodles.

2. Use a spatula to break the beef into large chunks and then into smaller chunks. Add spices to the beef while it continues to brown.

3. Once the beef is cooked thoroughly, add Cucina Antica Spinach Marinara sauce and pumpkin puree. Mix ingredients well, cover with top, and turn stove to low heat.

4. Once the water is cooked off from the zucchini noodles, add to the beef mixture. Mix ingredients carefully.

5. Salt and pepper to taste. Add additional topping as desired. Serve and enjoy!

Elizabeth Ray, MS RDN LD works as a registered dietitian nutritionist helping people improve their relationship with food and with themselves. Her Instagram handle is @wholefoodbeliever, and she can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/e3trition. Elizabeth has also has a blog at https://www.wholefoodbeliever.net.

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For your information only. The statements on this website and/or in this article are opinions. Wholefoodbeliever does not provided medical or nutritional advise, treatment, or diagnosis.