10 Immunity-Boosting Foods to Ward Off the Flu This Winter
Winter is the peak time of flu season. While practicing good hygiene is essential for preventing the flu, maintaining a healthy diet can also play a significant role in supporting your immune system. See our 10 dietary tips to help reduce the risk of getting the flu this winter and keep your immune system strong.
Eat a Rainbow of Fruits and Vegetables
Include a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables in your diet. These vibrant foods are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support a robust immune system. Aim for a mix of leafy greens, citrus fruits, berries, capsicum, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. See our Baked Fried Rice (include link) recipe as a way to include a variety of colours.
Focus on Vitamin C
Vitamin C is known for its immune-boosting properties. Include foods rich in vitamin C, such as oranges, strawberries, kiwis, capsicum, and spinach. These foods can help enhance your immune response and reduce the severity of flu symptoms if you do catch the virus.
Emphasize Zinc-Rich Foods
Zinc is essential for proper immune function and can help reduce the duration and severity of the flu. Include foods like lean meats, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, which are good sources of zinc.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that support a healthy gut and immune system. Include probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi in your diet. These foods can help maintain a healthy gut environment, which plays a crucial role in immune function.
Include Healthy Fats
Omega-3 fatty acids found in foods like fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines), walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds have anti-inflammatory properties and support immune health. Including these healthy fats in your diet can help reduce inflammation and enhance your body’s defence against the flu.
Staying hydrated is important for maintaining overall health, including a strong immune system. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated and support the proper functioning of your immune system.
Minimize Ultra-Processed Foods and Added Sugars
Ultra-processed foods (e.g., chips, chocolate, lollies) and added sugars can weaken the immune system. Opt for whole, unprocessed foods instead. Minimizing your intake of sugary snacks, soft drinks, and processed foods can help reduce inflammation and support a healthier immune response. Try swapping sodas for our Fruit Infused Sparkling Water.
Cook with Immune-Boosting Herbs and Spices
Certain herbs and spices have immune-boosting properties. Incorporate ingredients like garlic, ginger, turmeric, oregano, and cinnamon into your meals. These spices not only add flavour but also provide antioxidants and compounds that support immune health.
Moderate Alcohol Intake
Drinking alcohol in excess can suppress immune function. Limit your alcohol consumption and focus on other healthier beverage choices like water, herbal teas, or fruit-infused water.
Get Plenty of Rest and Manage Stress
While not directly related to diet, getting enough restful sleep and managing stress are essential for a strong immune system. Prioritize quality sleep and engage in stress-reducing activities like exercise, meditation, or spending time with loved ones.
While a healthy diet is not a guaranteed shield against the flu, it can help support a robust immune system and reduce the risk of illness. Incorporate these dietary tips into your winter routine, along with good hygiene practices and getting vaccinated, to minimize your chances of catching the flu.