Winter is here and with it comes the dreaded cold and flu season.

While modern medicine is yet to uncover any foolproof techniques to completely fend off or quickly cure the lurgy, registered nutritionist Sarah Moore (BSc, MPH) of Sarah Moore Wellness recommends a balanced diet to increase your chance of making it through the cooler months with your sick leave in tact.

Photo: Sarah Moore Wellness

“There are many benefits to eating well and improved immunity is one of them,” she says.

“While you might not be able to supercharge your immune system and live free from all colds and flu this winter, you can get yourself in your best health to reduce the chance of getting a cold and reducing the duration if you do get one.

“The key to having a balanced diet and meeting your daily nutrient requirements is variety. Limiting the amount of processed foods you eat improves your gut health and makes room for you to enjoy a wide variety of different vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds everyday. This sounds easy enough but most of us struggle to get the minimum amount we need.”

Sarah advocates starting each day on the right foot with a nutritious breakfast packed with foods naturally high in vitamin C and zinc.

“Vitamin C can help shorten the duration of colds and flu and reduce the severity of your symptoms.

“Start your day right with some whole grains, like oats served with fruit and nuts. When your first meal is nutritious and filling, you’re more likely to continue eating well for the day. It actually doesn’t matter how you get your fruit and vegetables in, the important part is getting them in!”

Though many of us turn to oranges for a hit of vitamin C when we feel a cold or flu coming on, Sarah says there are plenty of alternatives that taste just as great and offer more nutritional benefits.

“Citrus fruits are an easy and seasonal source of vitamin C but there is actually more vitamin C in one cup of chopped red capsicum, strawberries or broccoli than there is in an orange.”

As for the chicken soup cure-all, it turns out this age-old remedy might not be as beneficial at curing colds as older generations would have us believe.

“There’s actually nothing medicinal about chicken soup’s ability to cure a cold,” Sarah revealed.

“However a hot meal is likely to help with congestion (even if it’s short-lived), plus the fluid, protein and nutrients are going to serve you well when your appetite is slow.

“The fact that it’s comforting and delicious is not to be dismissed either; the psychological effect of comfort foods on stress, mood and infectious disease like colds and flu can be powerful.”

Give your pantry a healthy overhaul in time for cold and flu season with a visit to Woolworths at Enex Perth.

For daily health and wellness tips, follow Sarah Moore Wellness on Instagram.

We have found a few fail safe recipes direct from the team at Woolworths:

  • Australian-prawn panzanella-salad
  • Baked fish provencal
  • Beef sirloin super food salad
  • Berry smoothie bowl
  • Butterflied chicken with sweet potatoes tomatoes
  • Chia seed slice
  • Chicken kebabs quinoa tabouli
  • Couscous salad
  • Creamy mango puree
  • Crunchy chopped salad