10 Immune Boosting Foods for Winter Wellness

10 Immune Boosting Foods for Winter Wellness

Food truly is medicine; Gina Urlich, Clinical Nutritionist & Founder of NORISH shares her top 10 supporting foods for strong immune health and overall wellness. 

Your immune system's ability to protect you (especially into winter) depends on your nutritional health. 

1. Warming herbs & spices (turmeric and ginger)

Turmeric and ginger are two potent spices that have been used for centuries in traditional medicine due to their numerous health benefits. When it comes to supporting immune function, both turmeric and ginger play a significant role. 

Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. These properties contribute to its ability to support immune function. Chronic inflammation can impair immune function. Curcumin found in turmeric helps to reduce inflammation in the body allowing the immune system to function optimally. To incorporate turmeric into your diet, you can use it as a spice in various dishes, add it to smoothies or teas, or consider taking turmeric supplements that contain standardized curcumin extracts. Turmeric is best absorbed when combined with a source of fat (eg: coconut oil, coconut cream or olive oil).

Ginger is another powerful spice with immune-supportive properties. It contains gingerol, a bioactive compound with antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects. Chronic inflammation can weaken the immune system. Ginger's anti-inflammatory properties help reduce inflammation, allowing the immune system to function properly and respond effectively to pathogens. To incorporate ginger into your routine, you can add it to teas, smoothies, stir-fries, or use it as a spice in cooking.

2. Garlic

Did you know that garlic has much more potent healing effects when it is crushed and left for a little while. The active ingredient allicin is only created after the garlic is crushed. Once garlic is crushed and allowed to rest, the enzymes in it create the wonderful compound allicin which is a potent immune modulating,  antimicrobial, antioxidant and circulatory tonic. 

Pop a few crush garlic cloves into your evening meals or onto some sourdough with butter for a delicious garlic bread. Yum!


3. Seafood - Wild salmon & sardines – boasting omega-3s, along with lots of high quality animal protein & large amounts of magnesium, calcium, selenium, and B vitamins.

Oysters are the most nutrient dense source of zinc, fundamental to immune response.

4. Brazil Nuts

These powerhouse nuts are energy dense, highly nutritious and one of the most concentrated dietary sources of the mineral selenium. Selenium is an important antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage. Immune support studies have demonstrated increased blood levels of selenium are associated with an enhanced immune response. New Zealand & Australian soils are low in selenium; subsequently foods grown here are also low in it. If it's not in the soil it's not in our food.

We have included a small amount of brazil nuts in the Norish Smoothie Booster to deliver this important mineral. 

Add 2 teaspoons of our Smoothie Booster to your favourite smoothie recipe or mix into yoghurt for a powerhouse of nutrients!

5. Fermented foods

Gut flora is essential for a healthy immune function. With 70-90% of the immune system found in the gut, focusing on building and diversifying the microbiome is imperative for immune support. When we consume naturally fermented foods we help increase the beneficial bacteria in the gut that helps train the local immune system to attack pathogens. A microbiome out of balance, (i.e. does not contain high levels of beneficial bacteria), is less likely to help you resist infection, including colds and flu. While additional probiotic supplementation may be beneficial for some, naturally fermented foods contain a wider variety of bacterial strains than probiotics. Include a serving of fermented foods with your meals to support gut health and bolster your immune system.

Great sources of fermented foods:

  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha
  • Kefir
  • Plain Yoghurt
  • Tempeh


6. Eat the rainbow

Colourful fruits and vegetables can paint a beautiful picture of health because they contain phytonutrients, compounds that give plants their rich colour as well as their distinctive tastes and aromas. Each colour represents a different phytochemical and set of nutrients that may benefit your health. We recommend eating at least 6 different colours a day. Try for 2 different coloured fruits & vegetables with each meal.

7. Eggs

Nature's multivitamin One whole egg contains an amazing range of nutrients. Eggs contain a perfect profile of amino acids making them a complete protein. The yolk is a concentrated source of B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin K, & choline. 

Choline is particularly important for supporting early brain development. The latest research suggests that over 70% of children and over 50% of adults are currently not meeting the recommended intake for choline.

There are so many ways to incorporate eggs into your diet - scrambled, poached, fried, pancakes, french toast … and our delicious egg custard recipe below.

8. Bone Broth

Bone broth is an excellent source of gelatin which contains collagen. The specific amino acids present in collagen perform a wide variety of functions and not only support gut health, reduce inflammation, but also support immunity. 

Enjoy a warm cup of the Norish Beef Bone Broth as a nourishing and comforting beverage during winter or simply add to your family meals such as pasta sauce, bolognese, soups, stews or healthy noodles. 

9. Liver

Liver is one of nature's most nutrient-dense foods and one of the best superfoods available (in my opinion). Liver is a source of choline, iron, zinc, folate, vitamins A, B12 and K2 and aids in supporting immune health. Glutamine (which liver (as a food source) is high in) serves as a critical fuel source for immune cells, including white blood cells and certain intestinal cells. Freeze-dried beef liver is found in our Norish product range and provides easy additions to meals whether for yourself or your little ones.

In short, when it comes to strengthening your immune system, a diet rich in whole (real) foods can provide a powerful defense against colds and flu. Simply incorporating the above can supply your body with essential nutrients, boost gut health, and enhance your overall well-being. And whilst food sources of nutrients are recommended (and much more bioavailable), supplementation may be required if not adequately meeting these nutrient needs through diet alone. 

10. Kelp shines in with its high content of iodine, a mineral your body uses to make thyroid hormones. It is also essential to children’s brain & cognitive development.

There are so many more superfoods like; camu camu, berries, figs, avocado, garlic, cacao, spirulina, olive oil, brassica veg…I could go on but the moral of the story is a variety of wholefoods. Mother Nature really gets it right & naturally combines nutrients to support absorption. 

Find some of these amazing Super Foods in the NORISH range in Huckleberry stores now.


Article is contributed by NORISH.

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