A healthy eating guide to avoiding winter colds and flu

Because episodes of colds and flu are more likely in the chilly winter months, prevention is key to staying infection free.

Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and salads packed full of antioxidant vitamins and mineral can protect and strengthen our immune systems.

Chose foods rich in vitamins A, C (and E), including carrots, broccoli, mustard greens, red peppers, oranges and blueberries. Brighten up your cereal with berries and slip some olives into salads and sandwiches.

Eliminating toxins from our bodies that could burden our immune systems helps us stay healthy and able to fight off infections effectively. Eating fibre rich whole-grains, brown rice, beans and vegetables, and drinking plenty of water (about 6-8 glasses every day) ensures toxins are eliminated.

Aim to eat a little protein at every meal. Fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, lentils, beans and tofu are all good sources.

Cut back on sugary foods and caffeine. Fruit is a healthier alternative to cakes and biscuits. It contains sugar in a natural, balanced amount with other beneficial nutrients.

Our immune systems response to infection can become 'sluggish' and less efficient after a high fat meal. Choosing lean cuts of meat, trimming visible fats and switching to low-fat diary will help keep your fat intake in check. Also avoid exposing cooking oils and fats to high heat since this can produce immune damaging chemicals.

Catching a cold or flu this winter is not inevitable! Try the suggestions above to boost your immune system while enjoying the pleasure of whole, natural, fresh foods.

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