Nutritionist Larissa Beeby’s top tips for immunity this winter

The first thing people often think of when the think of winter is colds and the flu! And its hard not too, with people sneezing on you while picking up your daily coffee, getting coughed on at the supermarket checkout, your colleagues that always come into the office when they should be calling in sick and then your kids bringing home every bug ever heard of.

And when you put it like this it may seem that there is nothing you can do, but you do have the power to control your health this winter. Which means you can start dreaming about roaring fires, crisp sunny days and Karen Walker coats.

So here are my tips on how to get you (and your family) through winter:

Eat a rainbow: Vegetables and fruit contain large amounts of vitamin C but its important that we eat a range of colours each day too. Buying in season so think pumpkin, broccoli, carrots, capsicum, mushrooms, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, rhubarb, lemon, kiwifruit, oranges and apples.

Probiotics and Prebiotics: Over 70% of your immune system is housed in the gut so it is important that our good gut bacteria are not only plentiful but are also working for us to help fight off any nasty bugs. That means we need to be feeding them with nutrient dense, fibre rich foods (sorry we aren’t talking processed foods and sugars). Aim for 1-2 serve of probiotic-rich foods each day such as yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh or kombucha. While you can take these in a supplement form, remember they are just that, a supplement to your diet and should not be used to replace a balanced diet. You should aim for atleast 2-3 servings of prebiotic-rich foods each day such as leeks, onions, garlic, oats, quinoa, potatoes, apples, bananas, chia seeds.

Increase the zinc: Zinc also plays an important role in your immunity but its often forgot about. Foods high in zinc are beef, lamb, oysters and pumpkin seeds.

Make the most of the winter rays: Vitamin D plays a range of roles in promoting a healthy immune system, so aiming for 10-20 minutes a day in the sun (without sun screen) will do wonders for both your immune system and mood.

Permission to chill: Sleep deprivation activates a stress response in our body which depresses our immune function. This can be tough for families with young children but aim for 7-8 hours a night and if not make the most of any times during the day you can get some extra rest in.

And remember while its #instagram cool to drink a smoothie packed with super foods once a month, its what you are eating most of the time that will really give your immune system the boost it needs this winter.

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