Nourish your immune system this Winter

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No one wants to succumb to runny noses, coughing, sneezing and aching bones. Looking after our immune system by maintaining a balanced healthy diet needs to be a priority!

Our bodies are susceptible to colds and flu all year round but with the cooler months now here there are a few vitamins we should be ensuring are not neglected in our daily diet.

Many people are aware of the protective qualities that Vitamin C provides to the body, but this common anti-oxidant and cold fighting warrior is commonly associated with fruits such as oranges and strawberries. Interestingly, it can easily be consumed in a winter warming plate of veggies as well. Broccoli, capsicum, cabbage, cauliflower and snow peas are a few examples of non-citrus food sources that can provide this water-soluble vitamin to our diet.

You can still enjoy your daily fruits that contain Vitamin C but it is a great opportunity to get an extra helping in your main meals.

Vitamin A is commonly associated with eye health however it also supports a healthy immune system. Again vegetables are our go to for this vitamin, with carrots, sweet potato and kale not to be missed on the shopping list. If you are a little more adventurous, and fancy some beef liver, it toois an excellent food source of Vitamin A. Liver can be blended with other meats and made in to meals such as spaghetti bolognaise and into home made meat patties.

Another vitamin with anti-oxidant properties is the fat-soluble Vitamin E. Commonly sourced in sunflower seeds, plant oils, almonds and margarine, it’s quite often over looked when being considered on the shopping list. It is a more fragile vitamin that can easily be destroyed during food processing therefore the use of it in oils needs to come from more pure forms rather than those used in deep-frying. Peanut butter is not to be passed over as a palatable food source of Vitamin E and can be easily added to a slice of toast on a cool winter morning to start the day.

Vitamins and minerals protective and beneficial to our body’s immune system are not limited to only Vitamins A, C and E. They are varied and can be found in an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts, seeds and dairy products. It is therefore important that a balanced diet be the focus to healthy nutritious living to maximize the benefits these nourishing foods offer the body.

Dee Taylor, Nutritionist