The winter period can be a tough old time for your immune system, so it can be helpful to know some easy foods to eat to help keep it in check in winter.

Colds seem easier to come by at this time of year so making sure your immune system is optimised is very helpful to combat that.

Absorbing less Vitamin D, for example, because of there being less sunlight due to shorter days is one thing that can impact it.

That's why it is important to eat certain foods to meet your balance of vitamins and minerals.

Midweek Herald: A balance of vitamins and nutrients is needed to keep your immune system healthyA balance of vitamins and nutrients is needed to keep your immune system healthy (Image: Canva)

James Vickers, a registered nutritionist at Vitality Health Insurance has commented on foods to keep your immunity topped up this winter.

He said: "Maintaining a robust immune system during the winter is crucial. While it's important to note that immunity cannot be 'boosted' per se, we can optimise its function through a healthy, balanced diet.

"While there’s no one food to completely help you get over a cold or cure you of a winter bug, there are vitamins and minerals, found within certain foods, that can help with optimising immunity levels and their overall function.

"Ultimately, to feel your healthiest you need to stay consistent and include a combination of foods and minerals every day."

10 foods to help boost your immune system this winter


Carrots are a great way to help your Vitamin A intake, along with items such as red peppers and leafy greens.

James adds: "Your skin is the first barrier to pathogens, and Vitamin A is incredibly effective, and essential, at preserving its health.

Midweek Herald: Carrots are a good source of Vitamin ACarrots are a good source of Vitamin A (Image: Canva)

Citrus fruits

Oranges, berries and blackcurrants can be an ideal way to boost your Vitamin C intake.

James adds: "The most well-known vitamin to offer a helping hand to your immune system is Vitamin C. It works by acting as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage and helping them to function at their most optimum levels."

Brussel sprouts

Much like the citrus fruits listed above, Brussell sprouts are also a useful source of Vitamin C, so maybe take a couple more for your plate on Christmas dinner.

Oily fish

Oily fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel are a great source of Vitamin D which is crucial for your immune system.

"This vitamin is crucial for calcium absorption, promoting bone health, while also playing a role in cell growth and immune function. The best source of Vitamin D is sunlight, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still get it in the darker winter months," James says.


Prebiotics are also something to keep in mind as James says: "Don’t forget about prebiotics either! Aim to consume plenty of dietary fibre from a range of sources as this provides the gut with the all-important prebiotics. Prebiotics feed the good bacteria, helping them to grow and function!"

Midweek Herald: Asparagus is a good example of a prebioticAsparagus is a good example of a prebiotic (Image: Canva)

Examples of these include asparagus, onions, leeks, garlic, chicory root, bananas, yams, beans, oats and wheat.

Sunflower seeds

Sunflower seeds are a useful way to get some Vitamin E in your system which can help enhance your immune cells.

James says: "Vitamin E acts as a powerful antioxidant, protecting cells from damage caused by free radicals while enhancing the activity of certain immune cells. It promotes healthy skin and strengthens the natural defence of the body, flushing out infections."

Olive Oil and Vegetable Oil

Like Sunflower seeds these two oils are a good source of Vitamin E so can be useful to cook other foods in or drizzle it over something.


Yoghurt is an example of a source of probiotics which is the 'good' bacteria in your gut.

James says: "Vitamin D also plays a big part in gut health which is almost synonymous with immunity since a huge part of your immune system is located in your gut so it’s vital to keep your gut topped up with probiotics."

Red meat

Red meat is a good way to intake some zinc which supports a number of functions in the body.

Brazil nuts

Brazil nuts are a decent food to have if you want to add some selenium to your diet, which is an example of an antioxidant.