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Nutrition Tips for a Strong Immune System

Eating healthy to ensure your body gets all the vitamins and minerals it needs is especially important during winter, as this helps to keep your immune system strong.

ECH Dietitian Lauren Stribley provides some great tips below on how you can do this:

  1. Stay hydrated – As the cold weather hits, it is easy to forget to drink water. Dehydration can increase your risk of catching a cold. Warm water, tea, soups, milk and unsweetened fruit juice can all contribute to your fluid intake. However, if you have a fluid restriction prescribed by your doctor please be mindful of the amount of fluids you consume.
  2. Enjoy a variety of fruits and vegetables – Adequate vitamin C intake can reduce the onset of a cold. Red, green and orange fruits and vegetables are good sources of vitamin C – this includes kiwifruit, oranges, capsicum and spinach. Eating fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C will allow you to get sufficient nutrients from your diet rather than taking supplements.
  3. Consume a diet rich in Zinc – Studies have found that a diet rich in Zinc can help reduce the duration of a cold. Lean meat, legumes, nuts, seeds and fish are good sources of both Zinc and protein, which is great for maintaining strength and wound healing. It is recommended to get your Zinc from food sources rather than taking supplements.
  4. Look after your skin – Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that is good for keeping skin healthy. Vitamin E is also important for immunity. Good sources of vitamin E include avocado, salmon, nuts and seeds and plant-based oils e.g. sunflower oil.
  5. Fresh air and sunshine – Vitamin D deficiency is common throughout the colder months and can be linked to poor immunity. Vitamin D is made when skin is exposed to the sun, so when the weather permits, step outside and enjoy the sunshine while getting your daily dose of vitamin D. Eggs and oily fish are other good sources of vitamin D.

Maintaining a diet full of fresh fruit and vegetables, drinking plenty of water and getting outside regularly for fresh air and sunshine will all help to keep you healthy this winter.

If you have any concerns about your diet or would just like some help and advice on how to improve your nutrition, you can book an appointment with an ECH Dietitian by calling 1300 275 324.