As Hunter residents prepare for winter, they have been warned to expect a surge in colds and flus after spending last year mostly indoors.
Social distancing measures and increased hygiene practices resulted in a significant decrease in the number of influenza cases around the country and historically, record low years are followed by big flu years.
Leading dietitian Susie Burrell says one of the best ways to support the immune system is to eat a healthy and balanced diet.
“In addition to eating a balanced diet that includes whole food, adding foods that contain vitamins and minerals that are known for supporting the immune system is the first step to take,” Susie says.
“Essential foods to add to your winter diet include spinach, strawberries, peanuts or a 100% natural peanut butter, almonds, garlic, ginger, sweet potato and foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids.
“Omega-3 fatty acids assist in reducing inflammation within the body to support the immune system and are typically found in different types of fish and flaxseeds.”
She adds the Mayver’s Omega-3 Super Peanut Butter is a great option for those who don’t enjoy eating fish or swallowing tablets.
If you or your family do get sick, Susie warns against listening to age old adages like feeding a cold or starving a fever.
“Cold and flu bugs are caused by viruses, so you essentially need to wait for your immune system to fight them off which is why plenty of rest, fluids and nutritious whole foods are essential during winter,” she said.
“As a parent, your exposure to common viruses is also likely to become heightened, so eating the right foods when you or your family are sick will help provide the body with enough energy to fight off winter nasties, as quickly as possible.”