Caring for your Immune System

There’s never been a more important time to look after your immune system to help it defend us against viruses and bacteria (and so much more). Let’s build up our defences: read on! 

The immune system depends upon certain nutrients to stay strong such as: 

  • Vitamin A helps our immune support our gut and lung health regulating inflammation and reducing infection. Found in liver, egg yolk, whole milk, butter, yellow coloured vegetables and fruit and leafy green vegetables etc. 
  • Vitamin C studies show that vitamin C is effective against some viruses; it’s also been shown to reduce incidence and severity of pneumonia. Found in oranges, lemons, limes, acerola cherries, red and green peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, Brussels etc. 
  • Vitamin D may help protect us against various infections such as the flu and upper respiratory tract infections. Found in egg yolk, liver, oily fish such as sardines, mackerel, herring and salmon but the best source is sun exposure (tricky to obtain at the moment). 
  • Elderberry – ‘blunts’ the ‘spikes’ on the outside of viruses making it harder for them to reproduce. Studies have shown it can help protect us against flu and help us recovery more rapidly. 
  • Lysine increases production of immune cells to help reduce our susceptibility to infections. Found in meat, milk, cheese, beans, eggs etc 
  • Probiotics certain strains of probiotics can help reduce risk of upper respiratory tract infections. 
  • Selenium a great antioxidant helping to support immunity and lung function potentially reducing viral mutations in the body. Found in brazil nuts, oats, barley, brown rice, liver, fish, garlic, onions, broccoli etc. 
  • Zinc enhances immune system helping to reduce viral replication and may shorten the duration of colds by 7 days. Found in oysters, red meats, liver, herring, egg yolk, poultry etc. 


Eat a varied diet with good quality protein (fish, eggs, meat, lentils, pulse etc) and plenty of vegetables ( 5 portions daily), reduce your sugar and alcohol intake and try to choose healthier alternatives, such as dark chocolate, nuts, and non-alcoholic drinks (e.g. kombucha). You could also consider adding in the following supplements for an extra boost; 

  • A good Multinutrient containing vitamin A, zinc, selenium etc. Look for at least 15mg of zinc. 
  • Support your levels of gut bacteria with a probiotic product, with at least 30 billion live bacteria. 
  • Optimise your Vitamin D level status. Adults and children can start by taking a conservative daily dose of 1000 IU and 400 IU vitamin D3 respectively. 
  • Take extra Vitamin C in a gentle buffered form, up to 2g per day 

Contact me if you need some supplement recommendations that can be posted out to you 

…………And don’t forget 

Get good sleep – helps the body to ‘rest and repair’ and is just as important as nutrition for strengthening your immune system. Aim for 8 hours of interrupted sleep per night. 

Keep safe and well. 

Cathy Foley, Nutritional Therapist, Food Sensitivity Tester