Eat To Beat The Bugs
WOMAN'S WEEKLY|October 19, 2021
What to pile on your plate to help you fight winter infections and keep healthy
Tanya Pearey

Fibre

TRY

Fruit, veg, pulses and grains (wholemeal bread, cereals).

WHY?

‘Fibre plays such a key role in your immune system,’ says Dr Macciochi. ‘It feeds the microbes in our gut, having a really powerful effect on our immune cells, making sure they do their job properly.’ Go for diversity – the wider the range of fruit and veg, the more diverse your gut bugs will be and the better job they’re likely to do to protect you.

Vitamin C

TRY Citrus fruits (oranges and orange juice), red peppers, strawberries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, potatoes and blackcurrants.

WHY? You need large amounts of this vitamin when you’re fighting infection, says immunologist Dr Jenna Macciochi. ‘When we’re e fighting g an infection our needs increase quite dramatically because our immune cells use a lot of it.’

Should you take a supplement?

‘Aim for a food-first approach when getting all your essential vitamins and minerals,’ says Dr Macciochi. ‘Food comes conveniently packaged with fibre, whereas supplement pills don’t. They can also sometimes become an excuse for a bad diet because you think you’ve got yourself covered with your multivitamin.’ ‘The exception to that rule is in the UK in winter, when we don’t get enough vitamin D. Or if you are vegetarian or vegan – you may want to take a B12 supplement.’

Vitamin E

TRY Nuts, seeds, avocado, green leafy veg, and olive, vegetable and sunflower oils. WHY? This vitamin is essential for a strong and effective immune system function. Nuts are a great source, as this vitamin is fat soluble, which means it needs fat to be absorbed properly, and nuts are packed with healthy fats as well as vitamin E.

Selenium

TRY Brazil nuts, fish, meat and eggs.

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