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The Nutrition Centre

Get the Edge for Winter - with Fruit & Veg

The winter chill is here and so too are the dreaded winter colds and ‘flu. So how can you protect yourself against these uninvited bugs ?

What you eat and your lifestyle can either put you more at risk or help prevent infection. Aloysa Hourigan, senior nutritionist from Nutrition Australia, gives these top tips for arming your body’s natural defence systems to help ward off the unwanted colds and ‘flu:

“Extra vegetables and fruit will give your body more Vitamin C and other protective nutrients. They help your absorption of iron and zinc – essential for fighting infection. Some vegetables, such as garlic and some fresh herbs, contain naturally-occurring antibiotic substances that can give a further boost to your immune system. Try:

  • Adding an extra serve of high vitamin C fruit each day. Good choices include citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes, mandarins, tangellos and grapefruit); kiwi fruit; strawberries; pineapple; and rockmelon.

  • Including at least one or two vegetables with a good content of Vitamin C e.g. the brassica family ( cabbage, Chinese cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli), tomatoes, capsicum, potatoes (unpeeled).

  • Including the age-old remedies and protectors against colds and ‘flu – onions and garlic, in your cooking, as well as lots of fresh leafy green herbs, such as, parsley, well-recognized for its excellent vitamin C content.

  • Letting your body stock up on its supply of iron and zinc – both essential in your body’s fight against those winter ‘flu. Best sources include red meat for iron and shellfish (especially oysters) for zinc.

  • Including Vitamin C-rich foods at meals can help to increase your body’s absorption of iron from food

It is also important to take note of other aspects of your lifestyle and make sure you are:

  • Getting a good night’s sleep (6-8 hours is about right for most adults)

  • Being active – try for some regular walking, cycling or swimming or any other exercise you enjoy at least 3 times a week.

  • Making sure you leave some ‘total relax’ time so you can help your health with the good mood hormones (the endorphins).”

So if you are aiming to escape the ‘flu this winter check out the Nutrition Australia website (www.nutritionaustralia.org ) for information, food ideas, and publications (see website / “On the Bookshelf” and “Nutrition Week Kit”) .






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