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  • Writer's pictureKathy Ozakovic

Can I boost my immune system through my diet?



Colds and the flu are caused by viruses that travel from person to person. Although we fend off infections year round, we are more vulnerable during the colder months: the ambient cold may weaken our immune system, and if it makes us spend more time inside with other people, it also gives us more opportunities to trade viruses and microbes.


Even if we follow these best practices, we can still get unlucky and catch a cold or contract the flu. This is why, once winter hits, many turn to self-prescribing supplements and increasing doses without guidance from a Health Practitioner, which can be dangerous!


Through extensive research in the field of nutritional immunology it is well established that nutritional status is closely associated with immunity and host resistance to disease.

Research has shown moderate evidence that supports the effectiveness of Vitamin C, Vitamin D and Zinc in preventing and/or shortening the duration of and/or reducing the intensity of cold/flu symptoms. There is preliminary evidence supporting: Echinacea, Elderberries and Probiotics.

The KEY is to choose efficacious supplements to COMPLIMENT your healthy habits — not to make up for a lifestyle that predisposes you to getting sick. Work on improving the below 8 key practices first, then come and have a chat with me about whether supplements would benefit you:


  1. Eat a healthy, nutrient-dense diet

  2. Drink plenty of fluids

  3. Exercise

  4. Sleep

  5. Manage Stress

  6. Minimize exposure to sick people

  7. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

  8. Wash your hands


Individual immune responses vary largely due to genetics, environment, lifestyle, nutrition and interactions between these factors. Simply put, you cannot “boost” your immune system through diet and no specific food, supplement or natural health product will prevent you from catching the flu. Proper hygiene can help reduce the risk of infection or spreading infection to others. In fact, you don't want to 'boost' your immune system! Boosting your immune system would result in an overresponse and inflammation, which we know can be damaging to the body. We want to achieve a balanced and proper immune response when fighting viruses.


Through extensive research in the field of nutritional immunology it is well established that nutritional status is closely associated with immunity and host resistance to disease. What does this mean? Good nutrition supports your immune system and key micronutrients are

involved in the normal functioning of the immune system pathways. These are

well known to be Vitamins A, D, C, E, Zinc, Selenium and Iron.


A diet high in ultra-processed foods can impair the body’s immune response as it depletes the body of these key nutrients. Therefore, emphasising the importance of good nutrition to support your immune function, help you cope with current social restrictions and recover from viruses. If you find yourself self-isolating and especially if you have flu symptoms, it is important to maintain good nutrition and hydration.

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Did you find this blog helpful and informative? Tag & Share with your friends who would love it too! Sign up for my Free NuFit Wellness Newsletter to stay in the loop. Attend my Wellness Workshops. I help clients Achieve & Maintain Wellness through Nutrition for Gut Health so that they can thrive in life. Wellness Dietitian & Holistic Nutritionist, Health Coach, Health Presenter, Gut Health Specialist - Kathy Ozakovic.

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