As autumn settles in and winter is at our door step, we need to make some changes to our diet to support our natural defences against cold and flu:
Check your Vitamin D levels: Although you may have stored Vitamin D from sunshine during the summer, it rapidly declines and even a well-balanced diet is unlikely to provide enough amounts. The current government guidelines for adults are to take 10mcg of Vitamin D per day during autumn and winter months. If you are unsure ask advice from your nutritionist, GP or dietician and always choose supplements tailored to your age group and condition.
Eat good quality protein with each meal to support your energy levels and mood. Protein also helps tackle hunger that may lead to sugar binge. Your protein needs may be increased by stress and infections.
Include a large variety of fresh seasonal green and orange vegetables, legumes, fruit, wholegrains, nuts, seeds, seafood, shellfish and lean meat to boost your levels of iron, zinc, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and selenium.
Choose warmer and nourishing food such as porridge, soups and slow cook stews. The gut is key to immunity, so supporting digestion is crucial.
Cut back on stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol and refined sugar as they have a weakening effect on the immune system.
6. Maintain a healthy weight because inflammation linked to adipose tissue weakens your immune system making you more prone to infections.