The temperatures have dropped, and we are well and truly experiencing the effects of Winter. It is also the time of year in which our immunity is front of mind both to help us fend off any bugs and nasties but to also make sure our body is in tip top shape to recover should we be hit with a cold or flu. While there is not a single food or supplement that will optimise immune function, ensuring that the body has the key nutrients it needs to support the immune system is an easy step we can all take. So, if you are keen to eat as well as possible this Winter, here are some easy steps to help maximise your nutrient intake and support your immunity.
- Get a daily Vitamin hit
Vitamins C, A and E have key roles in immune function, you cannot go wrong if you focus on getting multiple serves of brightly coloured fresh fruits and vegies every single day. Generally, the brighter the colour of the fruit or vegetable, the higher its vitamin content – think richly coloured beetroot, capsicum, eggplant, kale, spinach, oranges, berries, carrots and sweet potato. Simply adding a mixed vegie juice to your breakfast, including a couple of cups of vegies, salad or soup with lunch as well as bulking up your dinner with 2-3 cups of mixed vegies are easy ways to significantly increase your intake of these key vitamins.
- Bump up your protein
Not only is protein key in making and preserving muscle mass but it also plays a key role in immune function by helping in the production of immune cells. Adults should aim to consume roughly 1g of protein per kilo of body weight, or 60-80g per day. With just 6-8 large Tropic Co Australian tiger prawns offering a massive 30g of protein per serve, tiger prawns are one of the leanest yet protein rich superfoods you can include in your weekly meal roster. A great protein rich meal is a warm potato and prawn salad found here.
- Focus on zinc
There are a handful of nutrients directly involved in immune function and zinc is one of them, yet zinc is a nutrient that can be lacking in the average Aussies diet. Found primarily in seafood and shellfish, wholegrains, nuts and seeds, boosting your intake of seafood and shellfish by including foods like Tropic Co Australian tiger prawns in your salad for lunch or risotto for dinner will help to increase your weekly intake of this important nutrient.
- Nourish your gut
The more we understand gut health, the more we come to realise that the health of our gut plays a crucial role in our health and immune function overall. This means that nourishing the gut with 30g of dietary fibre each day is crucial. In addition, adding in probiotics via fermented dairy or drinks such as kombucha and then feeding these good bacteria with prebiotic rich foods such as rye and fibrous vegies including artichoke, onions and garlic, supports digestive health and ultimately immune function. A great recipe that contains fibre is this Prawn Zoodle low carbohydrate alternative to pasta found here.
- Go crazy for soup
While soup has been associated with immune function for many years, specifically it is soup made using bone broth that has been shown to have immune related benefits. Specifically, bone-based broth contains carnosine, a molecule that has been shown to help the body’s immune system to fight the early stages of flu by inhibiting the migration of infected cells around the body. Getting back to basics and making your own stock from leftover bones, and then using them to make a weekly batch of soup is one of the most nutrient rich meals to enjoy regularly throughout Winter. Why not try our Prawn Noodle Soup and you could even add a little bone broth to boost the immune benefits. The perfect Winter warmer!