Boost Your Immune System – Caris Walsh Dietitian


As the cool of winter makes itself at home in Sydney this week, it’s a timely reminder of the importance of consuming a diet that supports a strong and healthy immune system. But before you spend all of your hard-earned money on supplements, ensure your diet is rich in these immune-boosting nutrients (preferably year-round – one orange on its own isn’t going to prevent a cold!). When it comes to supplements – more isn’t necessarily better. While there is a time and a place for supplementation (such as correcting nutrient deficiencies or inadequate dietary intake) there is increasing evidence that vitamins and minerals are more effective when obtained from whole foods in naturally occurring amounts, rather than mega-doses of isolated nutrients taken as a supplement.


Vitamin C is the obvious vitamin that comes to mind when we think about the immune system – and it’s found in an abundance of plant foods. Citrus aside, other rich sources of vitamin C include leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, red capsicum, kiwi fruit, tomatoes, chilli and strawberries.


Vitamin A + E are both fat-soluble vitamins which have powerful antioxidant properties. Vitamin A is abundant in liver, milk, butter, cheese and egg yolks. Green leafy veg and brightly coloured fruits and vegetables such as carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, squash, rockmelons and apricots contain beta-carotene and other carotenoids – precursor substances that act as antioxidants and are converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin E is found in nuts, seeds, avocado, plant oils, whole grains, wheat germ and green leafy veg such as spinach and broccoli. Tip: Aim to eat at least 1 dark green leafy veg and 1 brightly coloured fruit or veg each day.


Cooler weather often translates into less time spent outdoors, heightening the risk of developing vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D plays a key role in T-cell mediated immunity, and while vitamin D can be found in some foods, most of our vitamin D production is stimulated by the exposure of bare skin to direct sunlight. Small amounts of vitamin D can be found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines (also high in omega-3 fatty acids), egg yolks, mushrooms, margarine and some fortified milks, juices and cereals. Tip: Go for a brisk walk during your lunch break each day. If you feel you’re at risk of vitamin D deficiency, have your levels tested and your GP will advise you if supplementation is required.


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Clever Spines is a passionate health care group looking at improving the function of humanity through a proactive health ethos. In a world built on stress, deconditioning of the human frame and immobility, we are looking to improve the function of the central point of the human body, the spinal column, through chiropractic, massage, pilates and a healthy outlook towards exercise and diet. Our practitioners are passionate, educated and happy to be providing Waterloo, Zetland, Redfern and Brighton Le Sands residents and surrounding suburbs with high standards of allied health care including our dietitian and nutritionist Caris Walsh.