garlic, zinc, vitamin C and D

Naturopath Lisa Guy shares a seven-day meal plan to help boost your intake of immune-boosting vitamins and minerals. 

There’s never been a more important time to take extra care of our health – and specifically our immune system. Qualified naturopath Lisa Guy shares a seven day attack-plan for supercharging your immunity, with a daily focus on the key vitamins and minerals that will help protect you, and your family, from illness.

With only one thing to focus on each day, it’s an achievable way of improving your body’s natural defence mechanisms agains infection and hopefully will make you feel better too. Mentally, and physically.

Day 1: Monday

Aim: get more garlic

It has the powerful compound allicin, vitamins A, C, E and minerals selenium, sulfur and zinc (all vital to immune function). It also protects against infections, colds and flu, and has anti-bacterial, -fungal and -viral properties. Just add crushed cloves to pastas, sauces, salad dressings and dips.

Day 2: Tuesday

Aim: slip in a superfood

Seaweed is not only extremely nutritious, it boosts the immune system and reduces the risk of illness and infection. Seaweed is a good source of zinc and antioxidants that are important for immune health. Add strips of kelp, nori, or akrame to soups, salads and stir-fries.

Day 3: Wednesday

Aim: get some sun

Vitamin D protects us against illness and a range of chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Sunlight is the easiest and healthiest way to get sufficient vitamin D, so aim for 10 to 15 minutes a day (without sunscreen), on the face, arms and hands.

Day 4: Thursday

Aim: take echinacea regularly

It has phenolic compounds which increase the activity and number of immune cells such as macrophages and T-cells, making them more efficient in attacking bacteria and viruses such as colds and flu. Take echinacea in tablets, as fluid extracts or in tea (three cups a day is ideal).

Day 5: Friday

Aim: boost your vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the best immune-boosting nutrients for treating and preventing all illnesses and chronic diseases. As a powerful antioxidant, it protects cells from free-radical damage, and has antiviral, antibacterial and anti-allergenic activity. Eat more citrus, parsley, berries, red capsicum and kiwifruit.

Day 6: Saturday

Aim: eat some yoghurt

This highly nutritious fermented food has the ability to improve digestion and boost our immune health. The live bacteria (acidophilus and bifidus) promote the health and growth of friendly bowel bacteria. Look for the “live and active cultures or bacteria” seal on the yoghurt you buy.

Day 7: Sunday

Aim: think zinc

It’s needed for the production of white blood cells which protect against colds and infections. Zinc has antioxidant activity, helping to fight free- radical damage, and is found in meats, dairy and wholegrains, but it’s lost in processing. If supplementing with tablets, take about 45 milligrams a day.

Lisa Guy is a Sydney-based author and naturopath with over 16 years clinical experience. She is also the founder of Bodhi tea.