How to boost your nutrition to ward off winter colds and flus

The cold and flu season has begun and the importance of good nutrition when it comes to your immune system can’t be underestimated.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said no one food will magically fend off the flu, but certain nutrients take the lead in helping protect your body from billions of bacteria, viruses, and other germs.

“Going for a variety of fruits and vegetables is key, as they provide us with different nutrients and antioxidants, so aim to eat many different coloured fruits and vegetables at mealtimes,” she said.


“Foods rich in vitamin C are important for immune function and some of the best sources are citrus fruits – mandarins and oranges are in-season – as well as capsicums and broccoli.

“While carrots, sweet potato and spinach, which are delicious in winter soups and casseroles, have the benefit of vitamin A, a natural antioxidant.

“Foods high in protein also contain other immune-boosting nutrients – lean cuts of beef, beans and seafood contain zinc, while nuts are a good source of magnesium.”

Ms McMillan said Queenslanders need to maintain their water intake.

“Dehydration is the most common reason bugs tend to stick around. If you are suffering from cold-like symptoms, increase your intake of water and hot tea, while avoiding sugary drinks and alcohol. A large amount of research suggests that drinking alcohol suppresses immune function.”

More information about Cancer Council Queensland and healthy living is available at