A Salford nutritionist and a health store owner have teamed up to issue advice on how to boost your immune system and stay healthy ahead of a lengthy winter.
Kelly Hammond, a nutritionist and lecturer, and Adam Furdak, owner of the Vitamin Store Salford in Lower Broughton, have stressed the importance of whole foods, supplements and hydration for keeping your body fighting fit this winter.
Kelly Hammond, who has a PhD in sports nutrition, lectures on the topic at the University of Salford and works as a nutrition consultant with several sports teams.
She said: “With Covid and immune health being massively important, it’s a really big factor to consider especially during the winter months.
“Wherever possible include high quality natural food sources in the diet and try to keep those more processed food options to a minimum.”
She added: “Eat a rainbow a day, include a variety of different fruits and vegetables.
“The reason we would advise that is because different fruits and veg have different micro-nutrients and minerals within them, so including a variety of all the different colours is really important.”
Ms Hammond believes Vitamin C and Vitamin D are essential to boost your immune health during winter, explaining: “Vitamin C has antioxidant properties that can help to support cellular function of our immune cells.”
“Foods like oranges, kiwis, peppers and tomatoes are great.”
On Vitamin D she said: “It can be tricky to get this through the winter because the main source of Vitamin D comes from sunlight so when there is reduced daylight hours we tend to see more deficiency.
“You can get some from certain foods like eggs, oily fish like salmon, mackerel and fortified cereals but 80% of our typical vitamin D comes from sunlight.
“It’s been shown to reduce the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections, so it’s another important one in terms of Covid.”
Her final piece of advice is not to forget to drink plenty of water.
She said: “One thing that can get forgotten about is hydration because we are not as thirsty in winter.”
“Saliva is actually the first line of defence against any bacteria, so maintaining a good saliva flow rate is really important for immune function, and that comes from staying hydrated.”
Mr Furdak, owner of The Vitamin Store Salford, has been advising his clients about which dietary supplements could benefit their unique situation for over eight years.
His advice is: “If your diet is not macro planned and not done by a dietician then 100 per cent you don’t have enough vitamins and minerals, even if you think you are eating healthy.”
Amid the Covid-19 anxieties this year, more people than ever are seeking out vitamin D from his shop because of the growing evidence that it could decrease the risk of respiratory infection.
Mr Furdak explains that many people taking vitamin D are unaware that vitamin A, E and K are also beneficial to for its absorption into the blood, and that they should be taking it with a meal that includes healthy fats.
He said: “Most companies don’t tell you that, they just tell you to take vitamin D3 but actually you need to take all four together to have the best absorption.”
He, like Ms Hammond, recommends taking vitamin C and a probiotic, explaining: “Our immune system is mainly made out of vitamin C, so it is very important to have it in our bodies.
“Unfortunately fruits and vegetables nowadays don’t have as much as they used to have because it’s all fast grown.
“A very important one nowadays as well is probiotics, they help you get the right bacteria into the gut and into the bowel so you can absorb more nutrition from food.”