How to eat for immunity during Winter

With the cold weather starting to bite there’s more reason to give our immune systems some extra love. We asked our nutritionist, Deb Sue, to share her advice.

What vitamins & minerals do we need to help our immunity?

Unfortunately there's no one vitamin or mineral that will help boost your immunity, you should instead look at your diet as a whole. Eat a range of fruit, vegetables, and good sources of protein, and stick to mostly whole foods to get a variety of vitamins and minerals in your diet.

How does eating food in season help support our immune system and overall well being?

Eating seasonally will naturally help you mix up the variety of fruit and vegetables on your plate, which is one of the best ways to benefit from all the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients they provide. Eating fruit and vegetables that are in season also ensures they’re harvested at their best, meaning they are most nutritious, and most cost effective – plus they support local farmers. Some fruit and vegetables that are in-season during winter include apples, mandarins, pears, persimmons, Brussels sprout, leeks, broccoli , and pumpkin.

What are some ways to get more fruit & veggies into your family's diet?

Grating vegetables into meals is a good way of doing this – try grating carrot or courgette into casseroles or bolognese sauce. You could also replace half the mince with lentils. Fritters, frittatas and omelettes are great ways of using up veggies from the night before, or any bits and pieces left over in the veggie drawer. Veggies can often be used in place of, or with, pasta – for example in a lasagna you could alternate pasta sheets with vegetables such as eggplant, courgette or thin slices of pumpkin, or add cauliflower to macaroni cheese.

What’s the deal with gut health? Can you break it down for us?

Research over the years has shown that your gut health has a big role in your immunity. You have around 300 to 500 different species of bacteria in your gut; some may be harmful to our health, but many are incredibly beneficial and even necessary for a healthy body.

  You can help improve your gut health by making some simple changes to your diet:

  • Eating more whole foods and limiting highly processed foods especially those high-sugar high-fat foods
  • Eating plenty of plant-based foods and lean protein can positively impact your gut. A diet high in fibre has been shown to contribute to a healthy gut microbiome. 
  • High-fibre foods include foods such as legumes, beans, peas, oats and berries.
  • Adding a prebiotic or probiotic to your diet may be a great way to improve your gut health.
  • Fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, yoghurt, tempeh, miso, and kefir are great dietary sources of probiotics.
  • Drinking plenty of water is a simple way to help promote a healthy gut