A simple guide to immune boosting foods

‘Stay at home’ has recently become our new normal. Whilst some healthy habits may be struggling as we try to create new routines, now might be an opportunity to focus on our wellbeing.

Our immune system helps to protect our health! And while no food can prevent or treat an illness (including coronavirus), we can strengthen our immune system by feeding our bodies well.‘Variety is the spice of life’ and that is certainly true for immune boosting nutrients; eating a range of nutritious foods is the key.

Think green and red for fruits and veg! (Other colours are great too)
Avocado, olives, leafy green vegetables, lentils and beans, broccoli, sprouts, cabbage, tomatoes and capsicums of all colours contain vitamin C, A & E, B6, folate and prebiotics which are all protective nutrients for our bodies.

A great way to get more vegetables into your meals is bulking up the veggie content in pastas, stews, stir fries, soups and curries! You can even add spinach or frozen cauliflower into your smoothies! And veggies with dip make great snacks! Adding more veg to cooking means more money in your pocket too (veggies are cheaper per kilo than meat especially if you look for in-season produce).

TOP TIPS: We are venturing to the shops less, so enjoy salads for the first few days after a shop. Then move to roasted veg and stir-fries and try a veggie pancake and soups to use up any sad veggies. Frozen and canned veg (drain the liquid) are perfect when you run low on fresh.

Get fruity
Vitamin C and folate found in fruit will help fuel your immune system! Immune boosting fruits include berries, oranges and kiwi fruit. Fruit salad time? Fruit makes the perfect quick snack.

GIVE THIS A TRY: Enjoy some fresh or defrosted frozen fruit on your morning porridge! Or add some strawberries or mango to your green salad!

And a sprinkle of nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are tiny powerhouses of nutrients; healthy fatty acids, zinc and vitamin E! Think peanuts, walnuts, pecans, cashews and more, chia seeds,  sesame seeds, linseeds (flaxseeds), pumpkin and sesame seeds.

YUMMO: Peanut butter with banana and cinnamon on toast is one of my faves. Sprinkle some chia seeds on top of your cereal or fruit salad with yoghurt. A handful of nuts is a great afternoon snack and a sprinkle of nuts and seeds can add some flavour and crunch to your salads.

Beyond food…
Stress, alcohol, undernutrition and disease conditions can compromise our immunity. Sleep and physical exercise boost immunity. Try to include calmness, adequate sleep and body movement into your new routine.

I’m off now to enjoy a berry, spinach and peanut butter smoothie. How about you? Got a great recipe or tip to share featuring these immune boosting foods?
Please post on our Facebook page.

This article was written by Kate Wengier, family dietitian and mother of four. For more top tips and recipes visit www.foost.com.au

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