Diet therapy

How to boost your immunity this winter

Before you load up on vitamin supplements, pills and potions this winter check out these easy tips that will help you build a healthier defense system this winter.

  • Try to find some ‘me time’ in which to reduce your level of stress. Research has found that taking time out to relax will not only reduces your stress levels but can also make you feel more in control and confident in your ability to cope. Maintaining a positive attitude is really important over winter when declining daylight hours can lead to depression and failing health.
  • Circulate the air in your home and work place as bacteria love to grow in damp atmospheres.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Research has found that when we become sleep deprived our natural immunity is suppressed.
  • Wash your hands. Particularly after using the bathroom, coughing or blowing your nose and always before preparing or eating food.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. When we work in heated homes and workplaces the thin membranes protecting the eyes, nose and mouth can dry out allowing harmful bacteria to invade the body. Plenty of warm drinks not only help combat this problem but also help to warm you up on cold winter days.
  • Eat plenty of calciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage as these contain sulphur compounds that can help boost the immune system.
  • Choose a wide variety of coloured fruits and vegetables as these contain anti-oxidants that protect the body from cellular breakdown.
  • It’s not necessary to overdose on vitamin C. Your body can only absorb 30-40mg vitamin C per day (80mg if you smoke).However one kiwifruit has 65mgs each and so if you follow the 5+Day Vegetable Federation recommendation of 3 vegetables and 2 fruits the size of your hand you will have more than enough Vitamin C.
  • Be careful drinking orange juice. Particularly if you are overweight as this is a quick recipe to take in hidden calories. Far better to eat the raw fruit or add some berries or banana to a trim milkshake each day.
  • Get regular exercise. If it is raining and you don’t have access to a gym or pool membership then go to your nearest shopping mall and walk up and down. Just be sure to wear sensible shoes so that you don’t slip over and leave your wallet at home so that you are not tempted to stop at the food halls along the way.
  • If you still feel unwell after observing these tips then do consult your local GP and contact us because even without supplementation it is possible to improve the quality of your food and nutrient intake to help build up your immunity and find more energy for life

About the author View all

Lea Stening

Lea is one of New Zealand’s leading paediatric dietitians and also specialises in Sports Nutrition. She has specialised in Paediatric Nutrition for 31 years and in 1985 was the first paediatric dietitian to enter private practice in New Zealand. Lea helps families through her private consultations, public lectures, newspaper and magazine articles as well as television and radio interviews. Read more »

View all posts by Lea Stening »


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