We’ve always been about encouraging people to cook their way to a healthier, happier life, with a top team of nutrition experts ensuring that a balanced diet is at the heart of everything we do.
Right now a lot of information is flying around about the connection between nutrition and our immune system, so we’re here to offer some clarity, with advice from our Head of Nutrition, Jenny Rosborough.
Immune system and diet
Vitamins and minerals do play an important role in helping to maintain a healthy immune system, but actually eating a varied and balanced diet will give most people all the nutrients they need to stay healthy. It is not a case of the-more-the-better and you cannot ‘boost’ your immune system by seeking out isolated nutrients. There’s no need to cut foods from your diet either. The government’s Eatwell Guide recommends that over a third of your diet consists of fruit and veg, a third is starchy carbohydrates (wholegrain varieties where possible), and the remainder is split between protein, dairy (or dairy alternatives) and a small amount of healthy fats. You can read more about this here.
Taking supplements is only recommended if you’ve been found to be deficient in certain nutrients, you’re pregnant or part of a specific population group, or if you follow a special diet. There are no ‘immune-boosting’ magic supplements. The exception to this is vitamin D, which you’re recommended to take during winter months (between October and March in the UK), and all year round for some groups. While you can get vitamin D from some foods, most of our vitamin D is created by our body after exposure to sunlight. If you spend a lot of time indoors at any point of the year, consider taking a vitamin D supplement on a daily basis. Find out more about supplements here.
If you haven’t got access to fresh food, tinned and frozen alternatives – such as fruit and vegetables – can be just as nutritious as fresh (look for no-added sugar and salt products) and are an important part of a healthy diet. Check out some of our favourite recipes using store-cupboard staples here.
Above all, don’t forget food is there to be enjoyed. Mealtimes are a great way to introduce much-needed structure to your day and get everyone together around the table – whether with those in your household or virtually – especially when you’re going through tough times. With a bit of planning and prepping and a bit of initiative, food can be the best way to share the love.
Read our 10 top tips for staying healthy here.