Nutrition (2)

Nutrition for Immunity: Fuel Your Defenses with Colourful Fruit & Veges

Many of us will seek ways to strengthen our immune systems during the cold and flu season. While no specific foods or supplements can guarantee cold and flu prevention, healthy lifestyle choices can significantly boost your immune system.

Colourful Fruit & Veges

Incorporate a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables into your diet to benefit from different vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support a healthy immune system. Each coloured fruit and vegetable contains unique nutrients, so aim to include three different coloured vegetables in your main meals to ensure a diverse vitamin intake.

Remember to consume two servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables daily:

  • 1 serving of fruit: 1 medium-sized fruit (e.g., apple, orange, pear) or 1 cup of chopped fruit
  • 1 serving of veggies: ½ cup of cooked vegetables or 1 cup of salad

Helpful tips:

  • Add grated vegetables to sauces, casseroles, meatballs, or bolognese sauce.
  • Keep frozen fruits and vegetables on hand for convenient meal additions.
  • Sprinkle chopped fruit onto your breakfast cereal.
  • Enjoy fruits as a nutritious morning or afternoon snack.

Adequate Intake of Zinc and Vitamin C

Zinc and vitamin C are specific nutrients that are very important for immune system function.

Zinc: Find zinc in animal products like meat, fish, and poultry, as well as in plant foods like whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Opt for obtaining zinc from food sources rather than supplements, as supplements may interfere with the absorption of other minerals.

Vitamin C: Discover ample vitamin C in various fruits and vegetables, especially strawberries, kiwi fruit, and oranges. Consuming two servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables daily ensures sufficient vitamin C intake.

Try this simple recipe to increase your fruit, nuts and seeds intake!

Prioritise Sleep

Inadequate sleep can compromise your immune function. Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. Establish healthy sleep habits by avoiding caffeine, switching off electronic devices before bed, and maintaining a dark, calm, and quiet sleep environment.

Maintain Good Hygiene

While we’ve become accustomed to the importance of handwashing and cleaning during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s essential to remain vigilant in upholding good hygiene practices.

Wash your hands regularly, especially when you arrive home, visit high-risk areas, or touch your face. Thoroughly wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds to ensure effectiveness.

Want to learn more? I am available for telehealth or in-person consults from our Boronia clinic!

Kristen Varnis
Dietitian, Sports Dietitian & Nutritionist
(B.App.Sc. (Health Sc), B.Nutr & Diet, A.P.D.


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