Are you winter ready?
As the weather turns colder and we head indoors we see a rise in coughs and colds. With COVID still circulating we are all familiar with the practical advice around handwashing and ventilation to reduce the spread of winter illness. But how can nutrition help to support our immune health?
It’s tempting to reach for the supplement bottle and dose up on vitamin C or zinc – but vitamins and minerals work in balance in our bodies. Sometimes more is not necessarily best….
What vitamins and minerals do you need?
Our immune system is incredibly complex and needs a wide range of vitamins and minerals to function properly. Most people are familiar with the importance of vitamin C and zinc at this time of year but there are plenty of other nutrients that we need.
Vitamin D is increasingly being recognised as important in maintaining good immune health. At this time of year we don’t get vitamin D from sunlight so this is one to consider supplementing. (Always ask for advice before taking supplements). One mineral that is often overlooked is selenium. Selenium is found in brazil nuts and in fortified flour. This mineral is depleted in UK soil so seeking out selenium rich foods is helpful.
Eat a Variety of Seasonal Foods
Choose seasonal produce and eat a rainbow of colours to get a range of vitamins and minerals. At this time of year think root vegetables, leafy greens and onions in soups, stews and curries.
Fresh Isn’t Always Best
Berries are a good addition to a winter diet. Loved by gut bacteria and packed with antioxidants. Berries are better enjoyed in season but frozen berries are a good option at this time of year.
Vitamins & Minerals are only part of the picture
Immune health starts in the gut. A healthy gut microbiome and a healthy digestive system can act as our first line of defence against infection. The above advice to eat a variety of food is not only good for immune health but will support good gut health.