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Health TipsRecipe

Winter-Proofing Your Insides: How to Eat for Immunity

By 24/04/2016May 23rd, 2017No Comments

We are all familiar with the cooler months bringing about a little more than a cool chill to the air. Undoubtedly, the best defence against unwanted visitors is our immune system. Thankfully, nutrition is key when it comes to boosting the immune system and some of the most immune supportive foods are also incredibly delicious.


To help you fight back with food this winter, here are the most immune supportive nutrients to crowd out your plate:


Vitamin A

  • Vitamin A deficiency is linked to poor immune function and increased susceptibly to colds and flus.
  • Sources include sweet potato, dark leafy greens, carrots, dried apricot, fish and liver.
  • Tip: always eat alongside a source of healthy fat for increased absorption. Try swapping rice/pasta for roasted sweet potato and carrot at dinnertime.


Omega-3 fatty acids

  • Omega-3 fatty acids are believed to positively modulate the immune response.
  • Sources include fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines), flaxseeds, walnuts and chia seeds.
  • Tip: crust salmon fillet in chia seeds and bake until cooked through.


Antioxidant support

  • Antioxidants are not only beneficial for beauty but have been shown to be effective against recurrent viral infections.
  • CoQ10: beef, sardines, mackerel, spinach, broccoli and cauliflower
  • Vitamin E: sunflower seeds, avocado, spinach, olive oil, pumpkin,
  • Selenium: brazil nuts and seafood
  • Tip: make a nutrient dense take on pesto using raw broccoli, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and brazil nuts!



  • When it comes to immunity, zinc is a family favourite for good reason. Research has shown zinc deficiency increases susceptibly to infection.
  • Sources include pumpkin seeds, beef, wholegrains and seafood
  • Tip: add toasted pumpkin seeds to salads, muesli and stir-frys.


  • Protein is made up of essential and non-essential amino acids. Amino acids are necessary to fuel the cells of the immune system and some must be obtained through the diet. Specifically:
  • L-methionine: eggs, sesame seeds, brazil nuts, fish, meats
  • Glutamine: cottage cheese, cabbage, peas, beans, animal protein
  • Tip: serve up a shaved cabbage and pea salad served alongside baked chicken/beef or fish.



  • Specific probiotic strains may enhance cellular immune response and support immune function. Specifically, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis, and Lactobacillus rhamnosus.
  • Supplement with good quality probiotics or enjoy bacteria rich foods such as yoghurt, miso, tempeh, sauerkraut and kefir
  • Tip: use miso paste as a stock when making a warming soup.


Avoid excess refined sugar

  • Excess refined sugar can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill invading pathogens, exactly what we don’t want!
  • Tip: swap refined sugar with a bit of Manuka honey or fresh fruit to please your sweet tooth.


Eating Enough Overall

  • We are told to watch our plates over winter in fear of dreaded weight gain. However, without adequate nutrient intake our body does not get the energy needed to fuel immune function.
  • Tip: focus on counting nutrients not calories; eat wholefoods and a wide variety of bright coloured fruits and vegetables.



Immune Boosting Recipe: Bone broth with poached mushrooms – a rich source of amino acids and immune stimulating mushrooms!