Your 7-day dinner plan: Immune system support
Making healthy lifestyle choices—like keeping physically active, getting enough sleep and having a nutrient rich diet—are the best things you can do to strengthen your immune system.
When it comes to particular foods, there is no strong evidence that they will prevent a cold or flu. However, there are a number of foods and key nutrients that are important in supporting a healthy immune system.
Some of these include:
- Omega-3s. Omega-3s can improve immune function by reducing inflammation and promoting healthy cell membranes. Good sources include oily fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna.
- Vitamin C. Vitamin C can give your immune system a boost, though the research around taking supplements with the goal to reduce the severity of the common cold isn’t that convincing. To ward off winter bugs, your best bet is to eat more whole foods rich in vitamin C. Good sources of vitamin C includes citrus fruits and red capsicums.
- Probiotics. Probiotics are the good bacteria found in foods like yoghurt and fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchi. Research shows these probiotics can improve digestion, help protect against disease and enhance immune function.
- Zinc. Zinc is a mineral that is crucial for the normal development of cells and antibodies in our immune system. Meat, fish and poultry are the major contributors of zinc to the diet.
- Prebiotic. Eating prebiotic fibre—the type that helps to feed the healthy bacteria found in your gut—may play a role in supporting immune system functioning. Foods containing prebiotic fibre include legumes, onions, leeks, garlic and whole grains (including oats).
So what's for dinner this week that may boost your immune system? Our recipe for tuna, herb and lemon tray bake is packed with omega-3s and vitamin C. Then we have our beef and sweet potato curry containing zinc (from beef) and vitamin C (from the sweet potato and broccoli). Next up is our open Reuben burger contains a source of probiotics (from the yoghurt and sauerkraut) and zinc (from the beef patty). And thats just to mention a few!