It has been said that prevention is better than cure and with winter settling in, now is the time to make sure that you’re consuming the right foods to help you ward off the common cold or flu.

Here are our Dietitian’s top picks to include in your diet to keep healthy this winter season.


Garlic is a part of the onion family, it is most potent when eaten fresh and raw. Garlic contains a sulphuric compound known as allicin, which has potent anti-oxidant properties as well as a host of other minerals and nutrients.

If raw garlic is too strong for you, try using it to help flavour dishes (in marinades or stir-frys).


A herb traditionally used by Native Americans, it is best used on a short term basis only.

It works much like garlic, in that it helps stimulate the immune system and also inhibits bacterial growth.

A few drops in a glass of water is often enough to help ward off colds and flus before they set in. If you don’t like the taste, try mixing it with freshly squeezed juice instead.

Citrus fruits

Think oranges, lemons, grapefruits and lime. These guys contain vitamin C, which is an essential nutrient and also works as a powerful anti-oxidant for the body.

Consuming foods high in vitamin C help boost the immune system when you start to feel a cold coming along.

Carrots, Pumpkin and Sweet Potato

Orange coloured vegetables (and fruits) are rich in beta-carotene, which is converted by the body into Vitamin A.

While beta-carotene is not an essential nutrient, Vitamin A is, and it is a powerful anti-oxidant. Vitamin A is essential for healthy skin, bones and teeth. It is also vital for healthy eyes.

Roasting carrots, pumpkin and sweet potato with extra virgin olive oil is an easy and delicious way to help incorporate them into your diet.

Oily Fish

Fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel are high in omega-3 fatty acids. These “good fats” help to lower triglycerides (blood fat levels) and blood pressure, as well as play an important role in reducing inflammation in our bodies.

Omega-3 fatty acids can help to reduce colds and fight the flu by increasing phagocyte activity (helps to protect against bacteria).

Fish derived omega-3 also contains selenium and Vitamin D, which can help protect us from viruses.


Mushrooms contain active ingredients that enhance the action of Natural Killer Cells, which help fight off infection and increase the immune responses. This will also help reduce inflammation, assist gut bacteria and resolve infection.
Mushrooms also provide a natural source of polysaccharides, beta-glucans and plant-sourced vitamin D3, all which help support the immune system.


Substituting tea (especially green tea) instead of that cup of coffee can help you boost your immune system as tea contains catechines, which are potent anti-oxidants and will help your body to produce 10 times more interferon, a protein that battles cold and flu infections..

Drinking your tea with no sugar or milk will also help you to avoid the extra calories!


Although not technically a “food”, it’s incredibly important to keep hydrated – especially if you’re working in an air-conditioned office.

Try to drink at least 2 litres of filtered water per day. Water also helps our lymphatic system to rid the body of toxins which is why it’s important to drink several glasses of water per day.

Drinking adequate amounts of water is crucial for optimal body function and remember…. just because it’s not hot, it doesn’t mean that your body can’t be dehydrated.


Please call our Dietitian at AHS on 9948 2826 or visit our clinic at 9/470 Sydney Rd in Balgowlah servicing the surrounding suburbs of Allambie, Balgowlah Heights, Seaforth, Fairlight and Manly on the Northern Beaches.