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Can a healthy diet boost your immune system? Dietitian Georgia Pandelios dishes up

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By Georgia Pandelios, Accredited Practising Dietitian and Owner at Nutrition Prescription.

As times have changed since COVID-19 became a consistent part of our lives, many people are asking what they can do with their lifestyle to boost their immune systems to avoid infection. This is particularly a key concern in pregnancy, for infants and the elderly, and for immunocompromised individuals regardless of co-existing medical conditions.

The real fact of the matter is that healthy eating cannot directly ward off germs, colds and viruses. However, by prioritising good nutrition for optimal health, you are giving your body and your immune system the building blocks and resources it needs to get through a viral infection.

One of the greatest myths about diet in overcoming viruses is increasing vitamin C intake. The reality is that if you are having the recommended 2 fruits and 5 vegetables per day, you are generally getting enough vitamin C – any extra of this water soluble vitamin is ending up in the toilet because the body cannot store it like our other fat soluble vitamins.

READ MORE: Dietitian, Georgia Pandelios, shares her top eight tips for shedding those COVID curves.

It’s recommended you eat 2 fruits and 5 vegetables per day.

Another perk about having enough fruits, vegetables and grains, means you are helping to keep your gut bacteria in a healthy balance. Over the recent years, more and more attention has been turned to gut health research with promising results showing a positive influence on our immune systems.

I consider vitamin D to be the underdog in our nutrition toolbox. Observational studies have suggested that supplementing with vitamin D may reduce the likelihood of developing respiratory infections but unfortunately, more data is needed before this becomes a recommendation. Considering that ‘pre-COVID-working from home’ statistics showed that 1 in 4 adults are deficient in vitamin D and likely that this figure has increased, it would be worth checking you are sufficient, especially if you are spending a lot more time indoors.

READ MORE: Dietitian, Georgia Pandelios, shares her top tips on meal planning like a pro.

Georgia says vitamin D is “the underdog in our nutrition toolbox.”

One thing that can affect the ability for your immune system to fight off infection is not eating enough calories, protein and iron. These are key building blocks to maintaining healthy bodily functions. By making sure you are getting enough, you are equipping your body with the necessary resources it needs to withstand illness and recover.

The takeaway message here is to eat enough fruits, vegetables, protein foods and energy, and speak to your GP about a vitamin D check.

If you need help with your diet and lifestyle, contact Nutrition Prescription for a nutrition assessment with tailored nutrition recommendations. You can book through www.nutritionprescription.com.au or email info@nutritionprescription.com.au.

Nutrition Prescription, founded by leading maternal and foetal health fertility dietitian and nutritionist, Georgia Pandelios, aims to offer nutrition consultations specially designed for the whole family – from infants to adults and elderly, through to highly specialised fertility-pregnancy, paediatric and food reaction services. They can assist with all your nutrition needs, including complex and chronic conditions – in English, Greek or Portuguese.

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Disclaimer: The information in this article is generalised and is not intended to replace medical or dietetic advice, nor directly manage any medical conditions. For personalised advice, please speak with your doctor or contact us via info@nutritionprescription.com.au to make an appointment with one of our Dietitians.

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