Get your 2 & 5
Fruit and vegetables are packed with antioxidants for a healthy immune system. Vitamin C is one of those antioxidants, and research shows it may assist in reducing the length or severity of cold and flu symptoms. The 2014-15 National Health Survey showed that less than 50% of Australian’s were consuming the recommended 2 servings of fruit and only 7% were getting their 5 serves of vegetables, so we really need to boost our intake to improve our health this winter!
To get the most out of your 2 & 5, eat a range of types and colours and choose those in season. Some fruit and vegetables highest in vitamin C and readily available in winter include citrus fruits, kiwi fruit, mango, papaya, pineapple, berries, watermelon, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, capsicum, spinach, cabbage, potatoes and tomatoes. Enjoy them as a snack, stewed over porridge or desserts, or mixed into one delicious soup to keep you cosy and warm!
Fight the bad guys with good bacteria
Whilst many people hear the word bacteria and want to run for the hills, probiotics are good bacteria that stimulate our immune system to fight potentially harmful bacteria and help keep our gut healthy. Yoghurt is a great source of natural probiotics as well as some cheeses, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh and soy.
Don’t forget that vitamin D
Whilst vitamin D has important roles in muscle and nerve function and for bone strength, it also helps to strengthen our immune system. It is can be found in small amounts in our diet in oily fish, egg yolk, liver and fortified margarine and also through exposure to sunlight, which can become a little tricky in winter. Check out Osteoporosis Australia’s website for more information.
Think of zinc
Zinc is an essential mineral to help fight off bad bacteria and nasty viruses to ward off the common cold and other infections. It is found in a large range of foods such as lean red meat, fish and poultry, wholegrain cereals, legumes, dairy foods and nuts.
Beat the winter blues
There is lots of emerging research that shows omega-3 fats may assist with improving symptoms of low mood. To make sure you don’t let the cold weather get you down, include 2-3 fish meals per week – salmon, mackerel, tuna or sardines are best. You could also try eating a small handful of walnuts, eggs enriched with omega-3 or adding flaxseed oil to you cooking.
An Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) can help you ensure you are getting adequate nutrients for a healthy immune system this winter.
We also have a comprehensive range of supplements that may assist you to meet your nutritional requirements.
Book in with our dietitian today to learn more about these nutrients and how you can make the best diet and lifestyle choices to achieve your wellness goals.