A healthy diet has many benefits but understanding what you should and shouldn’t be eating can be confusing. A...
As we head into winter, catching coughs, colds and flu all seem inevitable. But there are some small changes we can make to our diet that can help bolster our immune systems. This may mean that we avoid catching some bugs all together, but more likely, it will mean a milder illness and a speedier recovery.
Nutrients that keep our immune system in good working order include vitamins A, B6, B12, C and D as well as copper, folate, iron, selenium and zinc. If you are eating a balanced diet with a variety of fruit and vegetables, lean protein foods, dairy, wholegrains, nuts and seeds, then you shouldn’t need to take a supplement to make sure you’re getting enough of these nutrients.
Vitamin D is needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy. We get Vitamin D from our diets but also from sunlight.
Especially in the winter months, it’s very difficult to get enough Vitamin D from diet alone so the Government recommends taking a daily supplement of 10 micrograms to ensure we keep our Vitamin D levels topped up. This is particularly important if you spend a lot of time indoors or keep covered up (not unusual if it’s cold!)
It’s important to get enough energy through the winter months. And that means calories. Starchy carbohydrates like brown rice and potatoes, protein foods like meat fish and beans, and a little bit of fat from oils and spreads will ensure you have enough energy to fight a virus.
Don’t allow yourself to get rundown because of a lack of sleep as this will compromise your immune system. During the winter holiday season, try to balance those Christmas and New Year parties with some early nights.
With tempting, warming tipples it’s easy to overdo the alcohol intake, but try to avoid going overboard with it as this can really run your immune system down. This doesn’t mean totally abstaining, but if you are drinking alcohol, maybe alternate with low-sugar soft drinks to reduce your total alcohol intake and stay hydrated. Also ensure you are drinking the recommended amount of water each day, as this will help fight any infection.
Here are some immune-system boosting winter-warmers to keep you going until spring and warmer weather….
If you would like advice on how you can improve your diet, why not book an appointment with our expert Dietitian, Rachel Vallis.
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