“You actually don’t want your immune system to be stronger, you want it to be balanced.”

As we consider how to stay healthy during the approaching winter months of the year that is 2020, one of the things that we’re thinking about at David Lloyd Clubs is how to eat well.

Living a healthy lifestyle can help your immune system* and food, along with exercise and wellbeing, is an important part of that. But which foods are the right ones?

The following list is a great place to start. You can get these at any supermarket. And we include a lot of them in dishes on our own menu:

Sweet potato – Like carrots, sweet potatoes have beta-carotene. In your body that turns into vitamin A, which mops up damaging free radicals. This helps bolster the immune system and may even improve the ageing process.

Spinach – it’s rich in vitamin C — it’s also packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which may both increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems.

Broccoli – Broccoli is supercharged with vitamins and minerals. Packed with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as fibre and many other antioxidants, broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can put on your plate.

Ginger – good source of antioxidants. Skip the supplements, though. Add ginger to stir fries or steep it in hot water to make tea. Antioxidants work best in your body when you get them straight from fruits and veggies.

Greek yoghurt – Yoghurt can also be a great source of vitamin D, so try to select brands fortified with this vitamin. Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system and is thought to boost our body’s natural defenses against diseases.

Green tea – Both green and black teas are packed with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant. Where green tea really excels is in its levels of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), another powerful antioxidant. In studies, EGCG has been shown to enhance immune function.

Of course, diversity is the key to proper nutrition. Eating just one of these foods won’t be enough to help fight off the flu or other infections, even if you eat it constantly. Pay attention to serving sizes and recommended daily intake so that you don’t get too much of a single vitamin and too little of others. You can also read our blog post Eating Seasonally This Autumn for more ideas and variety.

*With the 2019 coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, it’s especially important to understand that no supplement, diet, or other lifestyle modification other than physical distancing, also known as social distancing, and proper hygiene practices can protect you from COVID-19.

Currently, no research supports the use of any supplement to protect against COVID-19 specifically. Please make sure you follow the latest Government guidelines.