Australia is battling through one of its deadliest influenza seasons on record.
But 80 per cent of your immune system lives in your gut – so what you eat has a big part to play in aiding your immunity.
While we often think of vitamin C in fruits such as oranges when we’ve been struck down with a cold, there are other alternatives.
“Kiwi fruits are a really great source of vitamin C,” said dietitian Joel Feren.
“It gives you all the vitamin C you need over the day.
“Vitamin C is important for growth and repair and a really wonderful antioxidant as well.
“It’s not a miracle worker, but there is some evidence to show that it can ease the symptoms of a cold and reduce the severity.”
Go for probiotics
Probiotics are great for supporting good gut health – but one you might not have tried is kefir.
“Kefir can be found in your supermarket and even delis,” Feren said.
“It’s a fermented yoghurt, and it’s a bit sour-tasting. It’s a really rich source of probiotics – the bugs that sit inside our guts. It really is a present for your insides.”
“Lentils are one of my favourites – they’re a rich source of protein, fibre, longstanding carbohydrates and other nutrients,” Feren said.
“They’re a really good source of prebiotics – which is the fodder for the bacteria for nourish off.
“It’s the byproduct of that metabolism that helps to support our immune system.”
Beat the cold with cashews
“Cashews are a rich source of zinc – and we know that zinc helps the activation of those killer immune cells,” Feren said.
“Add a handful of cashews to your smoothie or have them as an afternoon tea snack – it’s a present for our immune system.”
“There are a number of good vegetarian options for iron, like green leafy vegetables,” Feren said.
“Red kidney beans are a good source of iron and very versatile. You can add them to soups, stews, casseroles – they’re really delicious.
“I’m a big believer in vegetarian diets – it’s not necessarily about removing meat from your diet altogether, but maybe including some of these nutrient-rich vegetarian options.”