Winter has finally come around and it is a time that also brings about cold and flu season. During these colder months, it can be challenging to maintain your nutrition, especially as comfort foods start to look more appealing. However there are some simple tips you can follow to help nourish your diet and boost your immune system, to keep well this winter.
1. Go for 5 serves Load up with veggies,your nutrition powerhouse
Boost your immune system by adding 2-3 serves of vegetables to your meals, as they are rich in antioxidants. One serve is ½ cup cooked vegetables or 1 cup fresh salad vegetables. You can make a warm and hearty meal such as a soup, casserole or stew by bulking up with nourishing vegetables and legumes such as beans, lentils or meat. Add a variety of vegetables that are in season such as brussel sprouts, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, leek, onion, potato, pumpkin, silverbeet, spinach and sweet potato, or alternatively frozen vegetables. Ensure you get a good combination of colourful vegetables to help maximise your intake of a range of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
2. 2 fruits a day
Top up your immune system with fresh fruits, as they also are packed with antioxidants, vitamin and minerals. Fruits make a healthy snack, or you can add them to your breakfast cereal or porridge. Fruits in season include apples, oranges, kiwifruit and mandarins.
3. Boost your intake with zinc and vitamin C
Zinc is essential in the development of white blood cells, which recognise and destroy foreign bacteria and viruses. Rich food sources of zinc are found in meat, fish, poultry, wholegrain cereals, legumes, dairy foods and nuts. Vitamin C also helps with maintaining optimal immune functioning and is found in fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, capsicum, kiwifruit, lemons, mandarins, strawberries and tomatoes.
4. Add garlic to your meals
Add flavour to your winter meals with garlic, as it contains the antioxidant allicin. Some studies have shown it helps stimulate the development of your body’s immune cells to fight against viruses.
5. Keep hydrated
It can be difficult to maintain adequate fluid intake, especially as the days get colder which can lead to dehydration, headaches and overeating, as the body often mistakes thirst for hunger. Aim for 8 glasses of water a day and keep a bottle of water close by to help remind you to top up your fluid intake throughout the day.